Zhu Ning, Southern University, zhu_ning@subr.edu (Presenter)
Kamran Abdollahi, Southern University, kamrana664@cs.com


To increase the number of students prepared for employment and/or graduate school in technical fields relevant to forestry and global climate change, the Urban Forestry Program at Southern University has implemented a project to enhance the urban forestry curricular through the integration of climate change in urban ecosystem education. The project is being accomplished through an innovative ecosystem approach focusing on how global climate change affects the urban ecosystems and their major components such as forests, wetlands, and water, and how to mitigate the effects thereof. We have utilized many NASA and USDA Forest Service materials in the classroom and in student research training, such as, I-tree Models; the Educational Global Climate Model; MODIS MOD12Q1 Land Cover Product; the NASA-modified North American Land Data Assimilation System 1/8th degree precipitation; and NASA product assisted Hydrological Simulation Program - FORTRAN model. We have developing a new course focusing on sustainable urban forests in a changing climate. We have implemented an annual climate change and urban ecosystem symposium to enhance scientific exchange. To foster student critical thinking, we have established a student forum. We hope that the project will enable students gain knowledge about urban forestry in a changing climate and learn strategies to address the complexities of the urban ecosystems, which will translate into being better able to apply learned knowledge to related fields for increasing their competitiveness.