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Natural Resources and Environmental Management

Sherman Lab 101
1910 East West Road
Honolulu HI 96822

Tel: (808) 956-7530
Fax: (808) 956-6539
E-mail: nrem@ctahr.hawaii.edu
Web: www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ctahr2001/CTAHRCatalog/nrem.html


*Graduate Faculty

*S. A. El-Swaify, PhD (Chair)—natural resource degradation, erosion, conservation, water quality
*R. L. Bowen, PhD—natural resource policy, economics, sustainable agriculture
*C. Chan-Halbrendt, PhD—community and resource economics
*C. Ching, PhD—policy and production economics
*L. J. Cox, PhD—community economic development
*C. I. Evensen, PhD—natural resource management, environmental quality
*A. Fares, PhD—tropical soil/watershed hydrology
*C. A. Ferguson, PhD—natural resource and environmental policy
J. B. Friday, PhD—tropical forestry/agroforestry extension
*P. V. Garrod, PhD—marketing and production economics
*C. Gopalakrishnan, PhD—natural resource and environmental economics and policy
*T. W. Idol, PhD—tropical forestry/agroforestry
*T. Miura, PhD—geospatial analysis, remote sensing
P. S. Motooka, PhD—weed science, forest/pasture weed control
S. Y. Nagano, MS—4-H youth program, county extension
D. Ward, MS—4-H development program
*J. F. Yanagida, PhD—production economics, price analysis, international trade

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

*J. DeFrank, PhD (TPSS)—herbicide mangement
*M. Habte, PhD (TPSS)—soil ecology, microbiology
*T. Giambelluca, PhD—climatology, hydrology
*N. V. Hue, PhD (TPSS)—organic cycling
*H. Keyster, PhD (CTAHR, Maui)—biological nitrogen fixation, legume management
*P. S. Leung, PhD (MBBE)—production, fisheries, aquaculture
*Q. Li, PhD (MBBE)—environmental chemistry
*C. Ray, PhD (CEE)—ground water hydrology and chemistry
*G. Uehara, PhD (TPSS)—systems simulation in agriculture
*H. Valenzuela, PhD (TPSS)—vegetation physiology and management

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

D. Drigot, PhD (US Army Corp of Engineers)—natural resource management
J. Ewel, PhD (US Forest Service)—forest ecology
K. Ewel, PhD (US Forest Service)—forest/wetland ecology
J. Fox, PhD (East-West Center)—social forestry
S. Pooley, PhD (NMFS)— marine resource economics
M. Robotham, PhD (USDA)—conservation technology
C. Smith, PhD (USDA)—soil genesis, survey and classification

Degrees and Certificates Offered: BS, MS, and PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and Graduate Resource Management Certificate (See the “Interdisciplinary Programs” section within the Catalog)

The Academic Program

The Natural Resources and Environmental Management program emphasizes the science and management of natural, including renewable, resources and their interlinks to environmental quality. It provides students with scientific knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, economic, social, and policy elements of natural resources management and so allows them to understand the principles that underpin productive, sustainable land use, and enhanced environmental quality. Graduating students will be able to solve contemporary resource use problems and assist in sound decision making for optimizing land use; and managing agricultural and forestry systems, watersheds, and landscapes in an ecologically sound manner. Graduates will also be skilled in addressing resource policy issues and the needs of diverse clientele and communities including policy makers and planners. Scientific objectivity will be emphasized as an important element of environmental planning. Thus, students will be trained in the use of quantitative models and such tools as decision aids for optimizing natural resource management and ecosystem stewardship.

Undergraduate Study

BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Management

The Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Management (NREM) is a science-based interdisciplinary degree emphasizing the management of natural and environmental resources, that is, decision-making and actions to modify the resource base in order to achieve specified goals. The focus is on tropical island ecology and terrestrial resource systems, with special consideration given to Hawai‘i’s unique physical and social environment. The program gives students the ability to conceptualize and critically analyze environmental problems, identify management options, implement suitable interventions and evaluate their effectiveness. Students receive comprehensive training in basic and applied natural and social sciences, management skills and techniques, real-life problem-solving including community experiences. There are also options for students to develop an individual specialization in their upper division study. Graduates may have challenging and rewarding career opportunities with governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and private businesses in resource-based industries and environmental protection. The BS degree also provides solid academic preparation for post-baccalaureate professional training and graduate study in natural and environmental resources and related fields.


Undergraduate majors are required to report for advising prior to registration each semester. An entering student must meet with a member of the Advising Committee to determine the student’s interest and preparation for the NREM major. The student is then assigned to an adviser, with whom (s)he meets every semester to plan courses and chart progress toward graduation. After a student decides on a track specialization, a mentor may be provided to assist in arranging an internship (NREM 492), selection of elective courses, career advising and his/her professional development.

Entrance Requirements

Freshmen may be admitted directly into the program when they apply to UH Manoa. Students transferring from another program in the UH system or other universities must have a minimum 2.5 GPA for transferable credits.

Degree Requirements

The BS degree requires a total of 128 credit hours, with at least 60 credits in upper division and non-introductory (i.e. with college-level prerequisite) courses. Regardless of selected specialization, all students must complete a set of basic core courses. Many of these courses also satisfy General Education Core requirements. Required basic courses include:

  • GEOG 101/101L
  • CHEM 161/161L or 171/171L
  • BIOL 171/171L and BIOL 172/172L
  • One course from MATH 203, 215, 241, or NREM 203
  • GEOG 370

All students must also complete an applied science program core, which requires the following courses:

  • NREM 210 and ECON 130 or NREM 220
  • NREM 301/301L, 302, and 310
  • NREM 458 and 492

Specializations and their Requirements

Students have a choice between two tracks within which to develop an upper-division specialization. Both tracks require a set of specific courses and selected electives totaling 30 credits. Some electives, however, may require additional prerequisite courses and credits.

Specialization in Resource Management and Conservation:

This track focuses on the biological/physical and natural science aspects of resource management. Course requirements include:

  • CHEM 162/162L and PHYS 151/151L
  • TPSS/NREM 304
  • NREM 477
  • 15 upper division credits in natural resource specialization area, with at least one course that emphasizes analytical or field research methods (course selection requires adviser approval).

Specialization in Resource Development and Policy:

This track emphasizes the social sciences and business/public management skills. Course requirements include:

  • NREM 351 and FAMR 352
  • One course from GEOG 412, 445, 455 or NREM 477
  • 12 upper division credits from social science disciplines (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, sociology) with at least 9 credits in a single discipline and no more than one course from a closely related multidisciplinary social science program (course selection requires adviser approval)
  • 3 upper division credits in social science analytical/field research methods or in advanced communication (COM, JOUR, SP) methods
  • 6 upper division credits in specific natural resource area(s) or field study methods

Options for Meeting UH Manoa Hawaiian/ Second Language Requirement

As part of the graduation requirements for all undergraduate students at UH Manoa, NREM majors will select one of the following three options for Hawaiian/Second Language study, in consultation with the faculty adviser:

Option 1. Show proficiency in Hawaiian/Second Language at a 202 course level. Native and bilingual speakers of a second language may be granted a waiver for the foreign language requirement by the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature.

Option 2: Show proficiency in Hawaiian/Second Language at a 102 course level and take one additional course each in the Social Sciences (3 credits) and in the Natural Sciences (3-4 credits).

Option 3: Take two additional courses each in the Social Sciences (total 6 credits) and in the natural sciences, including at least one course with a laboratory (total 7-8 credits). The additional Social and Natural Science courses can be chosen from any 100-200 level UH Manoa courses in the respective area.

Graduate Study

The NREM graduate program brings together natural and social scientists to offer an integrative and multi-disciplinary program that uses a systems approach to understand and manage tropical terrestrial ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on tropical island settings and their relevance to managing landscapes in general. It will incorporate the various components and scales (spatial and temporal) that determine ecosystem function and that bear upon the social and economic welfare of residents in different communities and environmental settings. Curricula and courses will emphasize the application of physical, biological, and social sciences to the sustainable management and conservation of natural, environmental, and economic resources. The program will also provide a science-based understanding of the processes that control the performance and function of terrestrial ecosystems, and the human behaviors and policies that impact, and are impacted by those processes.

Students will be expected to acquire quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and other advanced skills that enable them to solve contemporary resource use problems and to assist in sound decision-making and policy formation. Graduates will be skilled in addressing policy issues and the competing needs of diverse clientele and communities. Students will be trained in the application of quantitative models to optimize the use and management of natural resources.

Natural resource management issues are attracting considerable national and global attention, as well as growing donor interest, especially in the Asia/Pacific and tropical and subtropical regions. Graduate training, therefore, will feature collaboration with national and international institutions to foster programs that provide students with opportunities to learn about the ways that people from other countries and cultures manage their natural, including renewable, resources and interact with their environments.

Graduating students are expected to serve as professionals in resource and environmental management and policy, academic teaching and research, or applied research and outreach in educational and resource institutions, federal and state technical assistance and policy agencies, agricultural and forestry industries, consulting firms, and private nonprofit organizations.

To underscore its integrative nature, the NREM Graduate Program features strong collaboration with other academic departments within and outside CTAHR, as well as selected collaborating institutions in and out of Hawai‘i . Cooperating and affiliate-graduate faculty with appropriate expertise will complement NREM’s faculty expertise for the benefit of graduate students.

NREM is also an active partner in offering the multidisciplinary campus-wide Graduate Resource Management Certificate.

Specialization Areas and Their Requirements

NREM is a multidisciplinary department that is uniquely positioned to offer the integrative graduate curricula that are necessary for informed decision-making and action-oriented natural resource and environmental management. As a foundation in graduate training, all NREM students are expected to acquire a common base of knowledge embodied in a core set of courses. Beyond that, students are expected to develop knowledge and skills within a chosen area of specialization. This will insure students have the real-world skills needed to perform specific tasks, analyze resource management and policy issues, and carry out original and meaningful research.

Examples of specialization areas include but are not limited to: land resource inventory and interpretation; tropical forestry and agro-forestry; land, soil and water conservation; ecological and environmental economics; community economic development; and land and water use policy. The student’s adviser and thesis/dissertation committee will assist in choosing appropriate coursework and research or other activities to develop a specialization area.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for graduate standing are expected to come from a diversity of academic and professional areas. However, minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with the qualifications necessary to gain admission to the UH Manoa Graduate Division. Those cleared through the Graduate Division will be evaluated by the department based on previous academic record and specific criteria that include the graduation requirements for the B.S. degree in NREM, general GRE scores, chosen area of specialization (if known), recommendation letters, TOEFL score (if international applicant), and prior research and/or professional experience. The minimum TOEFL score required of international students is 600 and 250 for Type P or Type C examination, respectively. Applicants should show undergraduate credits of prior preparation in the natural, social, and quantitative sciences relevant to their chosen degree program (M.S. or Ph.D.). Students will be required to make up any recognized deficiencies through appropriate coursework.


Admitted students will be advised on an interim basis by the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will include the NREM Graduate Chair and 2 faculty members appointed by the Graduate Chair. This interim committee will verify entrance and background deficiencies, prescribe remedial courses, devise an initial course plan for the student, and recommend an interim faculty adviser.

Within two semesters of starting the NREM graduate program, the student should have a permanent adviser. During the second year, MS degree students should form their thesis committee. PhD degree students should form their dissertation committee by their third year.

The thesis or dissertation committee will guide the student’s program and assist with the development of a thesis/dissertation research topic that is appropriate for the chosen area of specialization, administer the required Comprehensive and Defense examinations, and oversee the completion of degree requirement.

Degree Requirements

MS Degree Program

It is expected that the course preparation for admitted students with a BS degree will be the same, be equivalent to, or exceed those core areas required for the BS degree in NREM. Plans A, B, and C will be offered. Plan A is the thesis option while Plans B and C are non-thesis options. Plan A is research driven in terms of taking the usual number of 700 thesis credits specified by the Graduate Division. Plan B is primarily course driven and Plan C is available to selected students based on their prior academic records and experiences. For Plan C, either the Graduate Committee or the student’s thesis committee can recommend students to pursue this option.

Each student will select a specialization area with the approval of either the student’s permanent adviser or the student’s thesis committee as early as possible following enrollment in the graduate program. To meet the integrative, inter-disciplinary intent of this program, a set of graduate level courses, a Primary MS Core, will be required of every student, regardless of his/her selected specialization area. In addition, a set of electives will also be required. These electives provide background in research methods and provide depth in the student’s specialization area. The remaining credit requirements will be met by thesis credits (NREM 700).

Primary M.S. Core (9 Cr)

  • NREM 600 Evaluation of Natural Resources Management (3)
  • NREM 601 Economic Analysis of Natural Resource Management (3)
  • NREM 605 Research Skills (2)
  • NREM 701 Research Seminar in NREM (1)

Electives (15 Cr)

  • Course in graduate research methods (3)
  • NREM graduate courses (6)
  • Other graduate courses for specialization (6)

Thesis Option (6 Cr.)

  • NREM 700 Thesis (6)

PhD Degree Program

The PhD degree in NREM will be awarded only to students with outstanding scholarly achievement. Applicants for the PhD program are expected to have an MS degree. However, PhD standing may be provisionally granted to applicants with a BS degree if they have a strong academic background and a high GRE scores. These applicants may still be required to obtain an MS degree in NREM before formal admission to PhD candidacy. Those with academic records that do not match the NREM core requirements will be expected to incorporate these into their PhD program. In addition, to meet the integrative, multi-disciplinary intent of this program, a set of graduate level courses, a Primary PhD Core will be required of every student, regardless of his/her selected specialization area. In addition, a set of electives will also be required. These electives provide background in research methods and provide depth in the student’s specialization area. The remaining degree requirements will be met by dissertation credits (NREM 800). All PhD students must pass a written and oral Comprehensive Examination (described below) before being advanced to candidacy. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for designing and administering the Comprehensive Examination.

Primary Ph.D. Core (7 Cr)

  • NREM 610 Predicting and Controlling Degradation in Human-Dominated Terrestrial Ecosystems (3)
  • NREM 611 Resource and Environmental Policy (3)
  • NREM 701 Research Seminar in NREM (1)

Electives (24 Cr)

  • Graduate research methods (6)
  • NREM graduate courses (9)
  • Other graduate courses for specialization (9)

Dissertation (1 Cr)

NREM 800 Dissertation (1)

Comprehensive Examination

PhD candidates must pass a two-part (written and oral) Comprehensive Examination upon completion of the required core course and electives and before being advanced to candidacy. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for designing and carrying out the Comprehensive Examination, which follows the preparation of the dissertation proposal. The examination is to cover all the subjects deemed essential to the selected specialization area, and to verify the student’s preparedness for carrying out the proposed dissertation research. Each member of the dissertation committee will submit a set of questions for the written portion of the examination. Therefore, the number of specific fields represented in these questions is up to the members of the dissertation committee. The oral portion will follow as soon as possible after the written portion of the Comprehensive Examination.

Course Pool for Suggested Electives

The following is a tentative course pool to guide student advising. Student course choices will be guided by the Student’s Program Committee.

  • NREM 432 Natural Resource Economics (3)
  • NREM 458 Project Evaluation and Resource Management (3)
  • NREM 461 Soil Erosion and Conservation (3)
  • NREM 480 Tropical Forestry/Agroforestry (3)
  • NREM 491 Topics in NREM (V)
  • NREM 500 Master’s Plan B/C Studies (V)
  • NREM 626 Quantitative Methods I (3)
  • NREM 671 International Agricultural Systems (2)
  • NREM 699 Directed Research (V)
  • NREM 701 Seminar in Advanced NREM (1)
  • AREC 610 Biosystems Modeling (3)
  • AREC 624 Research Methodology (3)
  • AREC 629 Adv Production Economics (3)
  • AREC 631 International Trade in Agricultural Products (3)
  • AREC 636 Advanced Agricultural Policy Analysis (3)
  • ANTH 415 Ecological Anthropology (3)
  • ANTH 435 Human Adaptation to Forests (3)
  • ANTH 620H Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Ecology (3)
  • BE 413 Transport Phenomena (3)
  • BE 431 Biological Pollution Control (3)
  • BE 440 Bioremediation Principles and Practices (3)
  • BOT 453 Plant Ecology and Env Measurement (3)
  • BOT 454 Vegetation Ecology (3)
  • BOT 651 Invasion Biology (3)
  • BOT 676 Environmental Physiology Seminar (2)
  • CEE 424 Applied Hydrology (3)
  • CEE 431 Water and Wastewater Engineering (3)
  • CEE 624 Flow Through Porous Media (3)
  • CEE 631 Water Quality Management (3)
  • CEE 635 Water Quality Chemistry (3)
  • CEE 636 Water Quality Biology
  • CEE 642 Solid Wastes Management and Control (3)
  • ECON 638 Env Economics (3)
  • GEOG 402 Agric Climatology (3)
  • GEOG 410 Human Role in Env Change (3)
  • GEOG 426 Energy Resources (3)
  • GEOG 612 Ecological Concepts and Planning (3)
  • GEOG 693 Technology and Natural Risks (3)
  • GG 455 Hydrogeology (3)
  • GG 654 Groundwater Contamination (3)
  • LAW 582 Env Law (3)
  • LAW 588 Legal Aspects of Water Resources Control (3)
  • PH 689 Water Quality Chem (3)
  • PH 690 Water Quality, Biology (3)
  • PH 773 Measurement of Env Factors (3)
  • PH 774 Water Quality management (3)
  • PLAN 620 Env Planning (3)
  • PLAN 625 Env Policies and programs (3)
  • PEPS 451 Env Law (3)
  • PEPS 470 Forensic Entomology (3)
  • PEPS 671 Insect Ecology (2)
  • PEPS 675 Biological Control (2)
  • POLS 670 Introduction to Public Policy (3)
  • SCI 490 Endangered Species (3)
  • TPSS 435 Soil Chemistry (3)
  • TPSS 450 Soil Fertility (3)
  • TPSS 650 Advanced Soil Fertility (4)
  • TPSS 604 Advanced Soil Microbiology (4)
  • ZOO 439 Animal Ecology (3)

NREM Courses