“Introduction to Management of Invasive Alien Species” was offered as a class at “Hokkaido Summer Institute 2017.” It lasted for 5 days, from August 21th to August 25th.
This class took Invasive Alien Species (IAS), one of the topics most in need of attention at a world level, as its theme. Dr. Phil Cowan, a researcher from New Zealand, one of the most advanced countries on the topic of alien species, was invited to teach students the basic knowledge and techniques for invasive alien species management, thus allowing students to gain a basic understanding of the problem of alien species.
Landcare Research which houses Dr. Cowan is a top level research facility started by the New Zealand government to investigate soil and biological diversity. Dr. Cowan has spent many years working at this facility researching how to manage and prevent the arrival of alien species in New Zealand. In this class, Dr. Cowan first taught students about a particular theme using both slides he prepared as well as his own experiences and new information coming out of New Zealand. Professor Tohru Ikeda from the faculty of letters would then lecture on how that theme is related to the situation in Japan. By learning about how the topic of invasive alien species becomes more complicated when considering different regions and countries, students were able to understand the lecture content on a deeper and more concrete level.
Before the class began, Dr. Cowan gave a public lecture with the teacher of HSI’s “Principles of Invasive Ecology” course, Dr. Al Glen. The title was “Forefront of Countermeasure Against Invasive Alien Species: Experiences in New Zealand, the Leading Country in Invasive Alien Species Management”. Their lectures gave not only students, but also laypersons an opportunity to think about the problem of invasive alien species.
According to student surveys, many felt that being able to take this class after the previous week’s “invasive ecology” class allowed them to learn many interesting things. However, with that said, the content of the class was slightly difficult to follow for undergraduate students. Although most were largely satisfied with their experience, this class will be opened next year for graduate students, once again allowing for Dr. Cowan to lecture for students.