As we move into a more environmentally conscious paradigm, the study of how our behavior can affect the life cycle of other living organisms is becoming ever-more important. Ecology is the study of living organisms’ relations to one another and their natural environment, seeking to understand the relationships and morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations between plants, animals, humans and the environment, and how non-living factors such as geology, fire, weather, and physics can affect the evolution of not only single species, but whole communities, niches and biomes.  Ecology is the core component of permaculture, providing information about the benefits of ecosystems and how to use our natural resources in ways that benefit future generations.

Ecology contains five levels of study, progressing from small to large, directly or overlapping: organism, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere.  Populations are made up of individuals/organisms; communities are made up of populations; ecosystems are made up of a community plus its environment; and the biosphere is the sum of the ecosystems.  The levels of ecological study offer different insights into how organisms interact with each other and the environment.

The biodiversity of Harmonia makes it an excellent starting point for ecological education. Our Ecology courses will focus primarily on tropical habitats, from essential theory to advanced field work, including classes in Ecophysiology (how organisms respond to their environment), Eco-System Dynamics and Conservation, Biological Diversity, Restoration Ecology, World Plants, Riperian Ecosystems, Ecology of Wildfire (including the creation of fire breaks), Social Ethology, Population and Resource Issues, Wildlife Habitat Analysis, Observing Primate behavior, and Tropical Ecosystems, with excursions beyond Harmonia to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

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