Natural Resources Technology: Forest Resources - Degree

Limited Entry Associate of Applied Science Degree Programmhcc.edu/NRT

Faculty Advisers

Jason Pinkerton: 503-491-6941 | Room AC2593 | Jason.Pinkerton@mhcc.edu
Pualani Derman: 503-491-7322 | Room AC2591 | Pualani.Derman@mhcc.edu

The Natural Resources Technology program, Forest Resources option, prepares students for positions of technical responsibility in natural resources management and research. Forest technicians serve in a wide variety of capacities and may work in such diverse areas as reforestation, mapping, vegetation inventory, outdoor recreation, timber appraisal, land surveying, harvesting, stream surveys, wildlife habitat enhancement and wildfire suppression. The Forest Resources option is accredited by the Society of American Foresters.

Outdoor labs are an integral part of the coursework. Students learn practical field techniques necessary for employment in local forests, parks and natural areas. The courses incorporate technologically advanced equipment and software into the field data collection and analysis. In addition, each student completes a cooperative work internship, which gives college credit for on-the-job work experience.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of this program, students should be able to:

  • Perform relevant field tasks required of natural resource technicians
  • Use a broad range of technological tools to research, document, map, measure, record and analyze data relevant to natural resources
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of Pacific Northwest forest ecosystems
  • Demonstrate knowledge of social influences on ecosystem management
  • Demonstrate professional skills needed for successful job performance

Selected courses may be transferred to several four-year institutions in appropriate bachelor’s degree programs. Check with the program adviser for current information. Note: Students who placed into MTH060 Beginning Algebra I (Course offered online) must complete it during their first term in the program.

For the most part, courses that fulfill general education requirements can be taken in any term. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Quarter
FallCredits
F111 Introduction to Natural Resources 3
F141 Tree and Shrub Identification 3
NR160 Wildland Fire 3
NR180 Career Development in Natural Resources 1
Select one of the following: 3
Wilderness Survival (recommended)  
Health and Fitness for Life (Course offered online)  
other Health / Physical Education course
 
 Credits13
Second Quarter
Winter
FT122 Forest Measurements I 5
FW251 Principles of Wildlife Conservation 3
MTH065 Beginning Algebra II (Course offered online) (or higher, excluding MTH098) 2 4
WR121 English Composition (Course offered online) 4
BT210ZEAExcel - Level I (if needed) 0-1
 Credits16-17
Third Quarter
Spring
FT221 Aerial Photo Interpretation and GPS 4
MTH084 Applied Trigonometry with Modeling 2 1
NR140 Introduction to Forest Soils 3
NR144 Forest Insects and Diseases 3
NR230 Forest Botany 3
 Credits14
Fourth Quarter
Summer
WE280NR_Cooperative Education Internship 2
 Credits2
Fifth Quarter
Fall
F200 Introduction to Forest Surveying 4
F240 Natural Resources Ecology 4
FT222 Forest Measurements II 4
WR227 Technical Report Writing (Course offered online) 4
 Credits16
Sixth Quarter
Winter
FT228 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 3
NR212 Current Issues/Forest Resources 1
NR242 Watershed Processes 3
NR244 Applied Silviculture I: Reforestation 3
Human Relations requirement 3 3-4
 Credits13-14
Seventh Quarter
Spring
FT235 Outdoor Recreation 3
NR238 Timber Harvesting and Products 5
NR246 Applied Silviculture II: Forest Stand Dynamics 3
Related Elective 6-8
 Credits17-19
 Total Credits91-95

Related Electives to reach 90 credits, if needed:

NR260Field Projects3
MTH095Intermediate Algebra with Right Triangle Trigonometry (Course offered online) (or higher)5
Modern Languages
Any courses with the following prefixes: ANTH, BA, BI, BT, CH, CIS, COMM, EHS, ET, FW, G, GEOG, NR or SHS.

Transfer Schools

Admission Information

Natural Resources Technology is a limited entry program that begins in the fall term only. Interested students can can reserve a spot in the Natural Resources Technology program by completing a simple 3-step process at mhcc.edu/NRTAdmissions

The program accepts 40 new students each year. Prospective students are admitted on a space available basis after reading, writing, and math requirements have been met. Registration for Fall term begins in May. Once spots are filled, students will be placed on an alternate list.

F111 Introduction to Natural Resources

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

Students are introduced to natural resources definitions, management and regulations, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems. Topics include an elementary approach to ecosystems structure, composition and function; fundamentals of forest, range, watershed, wetlands, recreation and wildlife management; and an overview of pertinent history and laws influencing natural resource policy and management.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate contextual use of natural resource terminology
  2. Describe how watersheds, forests, wildlife and other natural resources provide ecosystem services
  3. Discuss the influence of historical conservation or preservation movements on current management policies and practices
  4. Identify career opportunities within the field of natural resources
  5. Research, discuss and critically evaluate specific natural resources agencies and case study issues

F141 Tree and Shrub Identification

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

This course is devoted to the classification and field identification of important western trees and shrubs. Appropriate ranges, habitats and consumer use of these species are presented as well as a survey of other major forest types of North America. Outdoor field trips are an integral part of the course.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate ability to utilize the taxonomic vocabulary used in describing and keying out these species
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the commercial uses, ecological value, habitat and ranges of these species
  3. ldentify and correctly write the scientific and common names of twenty seven species of conifers and fìfty species or genera of broadleaf plants as listed in the syllabus
  4. Properly use a dichotomous key to identify selected plants

F200 Introduction to Forest Surveying

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W, each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels; and MTH084; or instructor consent.

This course covers the fundamental concepts of plane surveying and resource surveys within the natural resources field. The use of mathematics in applying the correction to errors, calculation of angles and bearings and the adjustment of traverses is emphasized, along with field survey practice. Federal and State survey protocols may be covered.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate effective written communication regarding forest surveying activities
  2. Demonstrate required forest surveying equipment and protocol techniques
  3. Use industry-standard surveying and related software to analyze and solve technical field problems
  4. Utilize modern surveying measurement technologies to acquire field data

F240 Natural Resources Ecology

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: F111 or FW251; or instructor consent.

Natural Resources Ecology is an introductory course in ecology, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems. Students examine the relationships between biological and physical components of ecosystems and dynamic processes such as nutrient cycling, disturbance and succession. Students are expected to take an active role in class activities, including class discussions and group work. Indoor and outdoor laboratories focus on field techniques used to measure and characterize ecosystem components. This course is recommended for all natural resources technology majors and all students interested in ecology and natural resource conservation.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

This course fulfills: Lab Science

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define, differentiate and use correctly the vocabulary from lecture, readings, and other course materials in the discipline of ecology
  2. Demonstrate an appreciation of the complexities of ecological processes and discuss how ecological systems change on both spatial and temporal scales
  3. Demonstrate and apply techniques used by ecologists and natural resource scientists to study populations, communities and ecosystems, including the ability to collect field and laboratory data
  4. Demonstrate the ability to organize and present qualitative information and quantitative data (including graphically) and to discuss this data in a manner understandable to both scientists and the public
  5. Discuss long term and recent changes in climate and identify modern causes of climate change. Describe the foundational causes of global warming and discuss implication of increases in temperature on natural resources and human society.
  6. Explain that energy is the driving force of ecosystems, and that energy flows through ecosystems. Discuss the underlying inefficiency of energy transfer and describe the implication of it for ecosystems. Discuss the process of nutrient cycling in ecosystems.
  7. Identify different levels of ecological investigation and describe major ecological processes at the ecosystem, community and population levels
  8. Identify sources of disturbance to ecosystems and describe the process and outcomes of ecological recovery. Distinguish between landscape scale of disturbance and localized disturbances
  9. Use evidence to develop informed opinions on ecological issues while considering cultural and ethical implications

FT122 Forest Measurements I

Credits 5Winter

Registration Requirement: F111 and MTH060; or instructor consent.

This course introduces the student to field measurement of forest resources. Topics include fundamentals of field sampling, use of topographic maps, estimation of land area and measurement of physical tree characteristics. Electronic data collection and analysis are integral.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Analyze spreadsheet data
  2. Demonstrate proper technique with standard tools to determine common tree attributes such as dbh, height, live crown ratio and age
  3. Design a layout for field sample plots for a given site and purpose
  4. Fill out field data sheets correctly and completely
  5. Use compasses to determine map direction and to navigate in the field
  6. Use electronic data collectors to record and download data to a PC
  7. Use elementary statistics to describe sample field data
  8. Utilize maps of different scales and composition to identify map features
  9. describe site topography
  10. determine location coordinates
  11. and determine elevation, slope, distance and area

FT221 Aerial Photo Interpretation and GPS

Credits 4Spring

Registration Requirement: FT122 and MTH065; or instructor consent.

This course teaches the fundamentals of aerial photograph, the global positioning systems (GPS) and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS, drones) needed for navigation, interpretation and data gathering in natural resources. Students learn to relate photo features to map and landscape features, and to find distance, direction and land area on photos. Photos are used with GPS for various field data applications. Additional GPS topics include satellite signals and paths, factors influencing position accuracy and computer post-processing. Students use GPS to construct computer-generated maps. sUAS Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 licensing requirements are covered extensively.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Create and edit GPS data
  2. Demonstrate fundamental map reading skills
  3. Describe components of the GPS system
  4. Interpret aerial photographs
  5. Present GPS information
  6. Demonstrate an understandin of the federal regulations, operations requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones (sUAS)

FT222 Forest Measurements II

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: FT122 and MTH084 or higher; or instructor consent.

This course provides instruction and training in estimating volume and quality of standing timber. Sampling methods and their associated field techniques are covered, with an emphasis on producing reliable and accurate data. Data computation, statistical evaluation and the preparation of comprehensive timber cruise reports are required. Labs focus on field timber cruising using Atterbury's Super A.C.E. program.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Analyze and evaluate cruise data for professional reports
  2. Apply log scaling methods
  3. Measure and accurately record plot (tree) information in a forested setting

FT228 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: FT221 or ET142; or instructor consent.

This course covers the fundamentals of how to manage, manipulate and display spatially-referenced data for land-use planning and decision making. Students work with GIS software applications.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Analyze GIS feature relationships
  2. Construct GIS maps and data
  3. Create and edit GIS data
  4. Define GIS terminology
  5. Gather information about GIS features
  6. Present GIS data

FT235 Outdoor Recreation

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores the use and management of forested recreational settings. Topics include the influence of social and economic values on recreational use and planning, techniques for environmental interpretation and facilities and site maintenance.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate methods of conflict resolution for various recreational scenarios
  2. Discuss social and economic factors affecting recreation
  3. Develop an environmental interpretation sample
  4. Discuss types of environmental interpretation and their use as a management tool
  5. Evaluate trails and perform maintenance

NR140 Introduction to Forest Soils

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

This course introduces students to the physical and chemical properties of forest soils in the context of forest management. Topics include soil composition, texture, structure, water holding capacity and nutrient cycling. The roles of mycorrhizal fungi and soil organisms in organic matter decomposition and nutrient availability are examined. Key concepts are used to evaluate the effects of forest management activities on soil productivity.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and identify soil texture, soil structure
  2. Define soil
  3. list its components
  4. Describe how mycorrhizal fungi and other soil microbes affect plant nutrient availability
  5. Describe the effects of heavy machinery, burning and other activity associated with forest management, on soilproperties under various soil conditions
  6. Explain how soil conditions affect plant uptake of nutrients
  7. Explain the relationships between soil texture and pore space, susceptibility to compaction, root growth and wateravailability
  8. Identify sources of plant nutrients in a forest
  9. Identify the horizons apparent in soil profiles
  10. List factors that determine soil formation

NR144 Forest Insects and Diseases

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

In this course, the major insects and diseases of Pacific Northwest forest trees are studied as they relate to forest health. Identification, biology, damage to trees and the role of insects and diseases in forest ecosystems are emphasized. Preventative and control measures are studied in the context of landowners' management objectives. A discussion of abiotic damage agents, including atmospheric pollutants, is also included.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Briefly describe their life cycles
  2. Describe forest conditions that typically lead to attack by these insects
  3. Describe forest conditions that typically lead to attack by these pathogens
  4. Describe their roles in forested ecosystems
  5. Distinguish between biotic and abiotic causes of tree or needle disease
  6. Distinguish between endemic and epidemic population levels. Describe factors affecting population trends
  7. Identify common or significant PNW insects in their prominent life cycle stages by physical specimen or slide. Slides of tree symptoms will also be used
  8. Identify common or significant PNW pathogens by physical specimen or slide. These will include conks, rot or affected wood samples, leaves or crown symptoms
  9. List common sources of abiotic diseases and describe their symptoms (frost, herbicide, smog or ozone, acid deposition, wind, heat, etc.)
  10. List their host species
  11. Prescribe control measures to reduce losses in forest or urban settings from these insects
  12. Prescribe control measures to reduce losses in forest or urban settings from these pathogens
  13. Prescribe preventative silvicultural measures to reduce losses in forest or urban settings from these insects
  14. Prescribe preventative silvicultural measures to reduce losses in forest or urban settings from these pathogens

NR160 Wildland Fire

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Natural Resources Technology program.

This course introduces the student to the role of fire in forested ecosystems. Areas addressed include wildland fire prevention, suppression and behavior; fuels management strategies and activities; basic fire ecology; and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool. Topics covered include the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) S-190, Introduction to Wildlind Fire Behavior and S-130, Firefighter Training.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and measure elements of fire weather
  2. Identify and demonstrate initial attack strategies and tactics within the incident command system (ICS)
  3. Identify topographic features and fuels within the wildland fire environment
  4. Plan a prescribed fire for appropriate forest management objectives
  5. Read and interpret topographic maps, coordinates and legal land descriptions
  6. Relate fire weather, topography and fuels to wildland fire behavior
  7. Relate fuels assessment to fire management

NR180 Career Development in Natural Resources

Credit 1Fall/Winter

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Natural Resources Technology or Fisheries Technology program.

In this course, students investigate career options, job search strategies and application processes specific to the natural resources field, including discussion of private organizations and public agencies managing natural resources in the Pacific Northwest. Topics will include interviewing, resume development, job search strategies and methods and specific application processes for state and federal positions.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Complete appropriate application forms for a specific natural resources position
  2. Develop job specific materials (i.e. cover letter(s), resume(s), etc.) required for employment
  3. Discuss the knowledge and behaviors necessary for successful employment interviewing and professional activities/behaviors once employed
  4. Investigate cooperative work experience and post-graduate employment opportunities available from a variety of natural resources agencies and organizations

NR212 Current Issues/Forest Resources

Credit 1Winter

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

This course investigates biological, social and political issues influencing forestry and natural resources management. Organizations and organizational structure are examined as they relate to land management philosophies and objectives.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Develop and make an oral presentation on a contemporary forest resource topic
  2. Discuss current contemporary and potentially controversial forest resources issues
  3. Facilitate a discussion on a contemporary forest resource topic
  4. Research a contemporary forest resource topic

NR230 Forest Botany

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F141 recommended.

This course introduces students to the identification and classification of forest plants. Topics include plant taxonomy, anatomy and physiological responses to environmental factors. Labs focus on field identification of plant families and indicator species.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe how climate and tree morphology can influence transpiration
  2. Explain how environmental factors influence germination, growth and reproduction of forest plants
  3. Explain the movement of water in plants
  4. Identify and describe plant communities in the field
  5. Identify family and indicator species by sight as indicated by course syllabus
  6. Identify plant cell organelles and tissues and describe their functions
  7. Identify structural parts of plant organs and explain their functions
  8. Place plants in correct taxonomic groups
  9. Use dichotomous (floral) key to identify plants in lab and field

NR238 Timber Harvesting and Products

Credits 5Spring

Registration Requirement: FT228 and NR244 or instructor consent.

This course investigates the various techniques used to remove woody material from forest stands and to manufacture wood products. Instruction focuses on selecting proper harvesting methods and equipment to meet forest management objectives, and the relationship between the raw wood material and finished wood product. Topics include the operations of ground-based, cable and aerial logging methods; environmental assessment of resource impacts; timber sale and road layout; timber appraisal, wood properties and treatment; and methods of product manufacturing. Field trips to logging sites and mills are integral to the course.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate effective written communication regarding forest planning activities.
  2. Interpret and apply forest protection rules.
  3. Describe components of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) forest products industry
  4. Prepare a logging plan for a given site and silvicultural objective.

NR242 Watershed Processes

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: FT122 and NR140.

This course examines the basic hydrological processes occurring in forested watersheds. Natural factors influencing water quality and yield, fish and wildlife habitat and soil and slope stability are covered. The effects of forest management activities on these processes are examined, with an emphasis on riparian areas.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Communicate knowledge, observations, and data to instructor or potential client
  2. Conduct various field surveys relevant to understanding watershed processes using appropriate tools and methods
  3. Identify, describe, discuss and explain the dynamic interrelationships between land and water in a forested watershed including (continued): d. Fundamentals of surface, subsurface, and groundwater flowse. Relationship of forest and soil management activities to timing and magnitude of runoff events, sediment production, and resulting water quality for domestic and fish use
  4. Identify, describe, discuss and explain the dynamic interrelationships between land and water in a forested watershed including: a. Land and soil fundamentalsb. Stream and riparian area fundamentalsc. Landscape processes including elements of the hydrologic cycle and influences of floods, forest management activities and other disturbances on a study site

NR244 Applied Silviculture I: Reforestation

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: NR140 and F240; or instructor consent.

In NR244 and NR246, students are instructed in the practices of forest ecosystem management. This course focuses on the principles and applications of reforestation and restoration of native plants. Topics include silvical characteristics of forest tree species, site preparation, seedling selection and planting, brush and animal damage control, natural regeneration and reforestation evaluation.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. "Assess potential reforestation problems before harvest
  2. Conduct, analyze and evaluate stocking survey of established plantation
  3. Demonstrate proper planting techniques and use of tools for both bareroot and containerized seedlings
  4. ""Describe qualities desired for selection of """"plus"""" trees or breeding families""
  5. Describe techniques for aiding seedling survival and growth
  6. Describe the three key elements essential for successful natural regeneration
  7. Discuss merits, applicability and cost s of various seedling stocktypes
  8. Distinguish among types of damage to seedlings (animal, machinery, frost etc.)
  9. Explain avenues through which plants regenerate
  10. Explain key elements of seed collection - timing, seed zones, techniques, etc
  11. Explain procedures for proper use of herbicides
  12. Explain proper seedling handling, storage and transportation
  13. For each site prep type, describe merits and implementation
  14. List advantages and disadvantages of relying on natural regeneration
  15. List factors affecting choice of herbicide for site prep or release
  16. List types of site preparation - burning, mechanical, chemical, and combination
  17. Present and defend original work
  18. Relate forest tree silvical characteristics to forest site, structure and composition
  19. Research, organize work, make decisions, etc. in a group effort
  20. "

NR246 Applied Silviculture II: Forest Stand Dynamics

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: NR244 or instructor consent.

This course is a continuation of Silviculture I. In this course students study the growth and development of stands and methods of prescribing stand management techniques, particularly thinning, for a given forest type and landowner objective. It also includes evaluating the applicability of the major silvicultural systems of clearcutting, shelterwood and selection cutting for a given site and landscape.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Conduct a stand exam and analyze the data to determine stocking level
  2. Describe and evaluate different methods of thinning: low, high, mechanical, selection
  3. Describe how economics influences forest management
  4. Discuss advantages and disadvantages of various reproduction cutting methods (clearcut, shelter, selection) in a given forest setting
  5. Measure and apply stand stocking components (trees per acre, basal area per acre, and SDI).
  6. Prescribe strategies which optimize management objectives a given site from stand exam data (i.e. thinning, pruning and/or fertilization).
  7. Relate crown closure, mortality and stand structure to growing space concepts

NR260 Field Projects

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: NR244 and FT228, or instructor consent.

This course provides the student an opportunity to synthesize the principles and field skills gained from previous coursework by planning, developing and carrying out a team capstone project of their own. Data are recorded in field journals and results are communicated both orally and in technically written reports.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Based on the project proposal provided by the instructor, complete all preliminary surveys necessary to establish a plan of action
  2. Complete a schedule of steps necessary to complete your action plan
  3. Complete all necessary field work and prepare an analysis report for the project
  4. Locate a study area using maps, photos and/or GPS
  5. Working cooperatively with members of the team, determine the appropriate plan of action