Life on Land

Sustainable Development Goal 15 is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. 

The courses listed below contain content relative to the pursuit of this goal.  Click through to read more about each course, and to be linked to the course page in the UTSC Calendar.

For more information on the Goal itself, visit


Political Ecology


Throughout the semester, we explore how peoples from different parts of the globe situate themselves within culturally constructed landscapes.

Primate Conservation


Relying on theory from Conservation Biology, this course will consider the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that lead to some primate species being threatened, while others are able to deal with anthropogenic influences.

Environmental Microbiology


During this course, students will study the basic principles of environmental microbiology through lectures and laboratory experiments including soil sampling and nutrient cycling. 



The course covers community and population ecology, and provides an emphasis on how ecology relates to other areas of biology, and to contemporary human and environmental issues.

Plants: Life on the Edge


This course covers the great diversity of plant structures and function in relation to ecology, focusing mainly on the anatomy of flowering plants.

Biodiversity and Conservation


A seminar exploration of current topics in biodiversity and conservation, including genetic, organismal, and community levels. 

Introduction to Green Chemistry


The 'twelve principles' of green chemistry will be discussed in the context of developing new processes and reactions (or modifying old ones) to benefit society while minimizing their environmental impact.

Environmental Pollution


This course illustrates the environmental effects of urban expansion, changing methods of agriculture, industrialization, recreation, resource extraction, energy needs and the devastation of war. 

Principles of Soil Science


A study of the processes of pedogenesis and the development of diverse soil profiles, their field relationships and their response to changing environmental conditions.

Feeding Humans - The Cost to the Planet


This course examines the origins and systems of production of the major plants and animals on which we depend for food with interactions between those species and systems and the local ecology will be examined, looking at issues of over harvesting, genetic erosion, soil erosion, pesticide use, and impacts of genetically modified strains.


Natural Hazards


This course is an investigation of the geological background and possible solutions to major hazards in the environment.

Biodiversity and Biogeography


Emphasis will be on the highly diverse invertebrate animals. Topics include biomes, dispersal, adaptation, speciation, extinction and the influence of climate history and humans.



Terrestrial and aquatic geochemical processes such as: mineral formation and dissolution, redox, aqueous-solid phase interactions, stable isotopes, and organic geochemistry in the environment will be covered.

Environmental Microbiology


During this course, students will study the basic principles of environmental microbiology through lectures and laboratory experiments including soil sampling and nutrient cycling. 

Glacial Geology


The course will review the geologic and geomorphologic record of past glacial and interglacial climates, the formation and flow of ice sheets , and modern day cold-climate processes in Canada's north.  

Environmental Science Field Course


Aquatic environmental issues require careful field work to collect related hydrological, meteorological, biological and other environmental data. 

Fundamentals of Site Remediation


This course consists of a study of the ways in which hazardous organic and inorganic materials can be removed or attenuated in natural systems.

Introduction to Environmental Studies


This course introduces the Environmental Studies major and the interdisciplinary study of the environment through a team-teaching format.



Three modules take students from relatively simple determinations of risk (e.g., infrastructure flooding) towards more complex, real-world, inclusive considerations (e.g., ecosystem impacts of climate change).

Land Reform and Development


This course embraces issues concerning how land is transferred (through forceful dispossession, law, or markets), and how it is currently held.

Research Seminar in Environmental Geography


Designed for final-year Human Geography Majors, this seminar is devoted to analysis and discussion of advanced theoretical and methodological issues in Environmental Geography. 

Development and Environment


The influences of development on the global environment; species extinction, loss of productive land, reduced access to resources, declining water quality and quantity, and climate change.

Environmental Internship


This course offers students the opportunity to gain practical research experience as an intern with an environmental organization.

Environment and Society


The course will include empirical research, and theoretical issues, in the relationship of various social systems to their natural environments.