ENGS 41 – Spring 2012

Sustainability and Natural Resource Management




Benoit Cushman-Roisin

134 Cummings

Tel: 1-603-646-3248




Alicea Bursey

119 Cummings

Tel: 1-603-646-2352


Teaching Assistants

Alyssa Boehm

Emil Cashin

Jung Do (Luke) Lee


Course Description


Natural resources sustain human productivity.  Principles of scientific resource management are developed, and prospects for sustainability are explored. Three generic categories of resource are analyzed: exhaustible, living, and renewable.  In the first category we emphasize the life-cycle of exploitation including exhaustion, exploration and substitution.  In the living category we explore population dynamics under natural and harvested regimes, for fisheries and forests.  Finally, the renewable case of water is treated in terms of quantity and quality.  Throughout, the intersection of natural, economic, and political behavior is explored in theory and via computer simulations.  Case studies illustrate contemporary management problems and practices.


Prerequisite: Math 13; Distributive classification TAS


Required Text


Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Scientists and Engineers

by Daniel R. Lynch

Cambridge University Press, 2009


There will be some required use of common computer packages (Excel and/or Matlab).


Honor Code


There is nothing special here.  Ordinary discussion of problems and the like is healthy and encouraged.  Work that you submit for grading must have your name on it, implying that it is your own, that it reflects your own understanding, and that you could defend it if asked.  If you rely on others or on other sources, that must be acknowledged; not doing so is dishonest.  Exams will require solo work.  If there is a group exercise, all group members must sign, and there is a single grade for the group.  If in doubt about any honor code matter, consult the instructor.


Class Meetings


Room 202 Cummings (Thayer School)

MWF 11:15 - 12:20

X Hour: Tues 12:00 - 12:50




There will be a total of 7 weekly homeworks.  Each problem set will be assigned on a Friday and due at the start of class on the following Friday.  If group work is required, the groups will be assigned.


Individual Meetings


Each student will meet with Prof. Cushman-Roisin every three weeks, to present aspects of that week’s homework solutions.  These meetings will occur in 15-minute slots on Tuesday afternoons.


Late Policy


Deadlines for homework and individual meetings are firm.  Departures need to be approved a week in advance.  Everyone is entitled to two of these weekly postponements, provided they are declared one week in advance.


Policy on personal electronic devices


Laptop computers, tablets, cell phones, iPods and other personal electronics are not allowed in class, unless specifically authorized for a documented reason.




There will be two exams, a mid-term and a final.  Both exams will be in class with textbook, and only textbook, available.




25% Homeworks

25% Mid-term exam

40% Final exam

10% Individual (oral) presentations




Students requiring disability-related accommodations must register with the Student Accessibility

Service (SAS) office.  Once SAS has authorized accommodations, students must show the originally signed SAS Accommodations/Consent Form and/or a letter on SAS letterhead to the instructor.


As a first step, if students have questions about whether they qualify for special accommodations, they should contact the SAS office.  All inquiries and discussions about accommodations will remain confidential.


Should a new situation arise, such as a new physical handicap following a recent injury, the instructor should be notified as soon as it occurs.