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Life on Land

About the Goal

Life on Land

The United Nations aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss by 2030.

Northwestern is engaged in a broad range of research projects and other initiatives aimed at realizing these goals, including work examining environmental justice and conservation efforts, the impacts of climate change and land loss on forest-dependent indigenous communities, the conservation and healthy reproduction of native plants and more. Northwestern researchers are also developing new technologies to help farmers adapt to climate change and combat land degradation as well as new models for understanding land management and land use change.

Northwestern Experts and Initiatives

Nyree Zerega

Nyree Zerega is the Director of Program in Plant Biology and Conservation, a collaboration between Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Zerega’s lab explores the evolution, genetic diversity, origins and pollination biology of plants. her research uses phylogenomic, collections-based, and experimental field approaches to explore the evolution and genetic diversity of underutilized crops and their wild relatives, pollination, biogeography, and taxonomic revisionary work. Zerega is also interested in applying findings to conservation of plant genomic resources and more sustainable agriculture.

Nyree Zerega
Chicago Botanic Garden

Plant Biology and Conservation Program

The Program in Plant Biology and Conservation is a partnership between Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. The program was developed to train students to address the rapid changes the biological world is experiencing due to global climate change, increases in invasive species and diseases, and habitat fragmentation that will all have significant impacts on the health, survival, diversity, and distribution of the biota as we know it. The program offers students a strong theoretical and methodological foundation within the fields of ecology, conservation, and evolutionary biology, together with the in-depth knowledge required to be able to identify and articulate the frontiers of scholarship and applied science within their area of specialization.

Featured Course

Biological and Ecological Principles (202-0-1)

An applications-centered track to discuss biology and ecology as they relate to engineering in general, and environmental engineering specifically, while also discussing the ramifications for society at large. The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the fundamentals of biology and ecology. Biology topics include cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry; ecology topics include biological interactions, microbial ecology, and biogeochemical cycling.

Explore the course