About Us


Our mission is to understand ecosystem function and change across space and through time and to approach this understanding by examining interactions within and between natural and human systems. Through discovery and education, we contribute to understanding and sustaining ecosystems and their services. We examine these in the context of current stresses such as changing climate, species introductions, land-use change and intensification. Our department uses state-of-the-art technologies and approaches to provide a quality education to future scientists, educators and decision makers, conducts cutting edge interdisciplinary research, and delivers culturally relevant outreach programs that empower our students and the general public locally, nationally, and internationally.

Rich Conant

Dr. Rich Conant serves as the Department Head.

Department Overview

Our department is the fifth and newest department of the Warner College of Natural Resources. The CSU Board of Governors approved the formation on February 17, 2011. It is the only program in Colorado that focuses exclusively on scholarship and discovery in the area of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Sustainability is a critically important concept to the future quality of American society, and training in ways to think about sustainability is beginning to be conducted at only four other universities in the United States.

This department is joined with the world premier Watershed Science program, which was originally part of the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. Watershed Science is the study of the natural processes and human activities that affect fresh water resources. Water is a critical component of Earth’s ecosystems and is used for human consumption, agriculture, energy production, transportation, and recreation. Management of fresh water resources is an increasingly important and complex challenge in Colorado and worldwide.

Our faculty members are fully dedicated to students, working side-by-side with them in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field. This faculty brings together over forty years of leading research at CSU’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.