About NREM

The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is dedicated to the understanding, effective management, and sustainable use of our renewable natural resources through the land-grant missions of teaching, research, and extension.


Photograph of a meadow.
The Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) department was formed in July of 2002 as a merge of Iowa State's Animal Ecology and Forestry departments. Since then, we've graduated students in both majors to a variety of natural resource positions all over the world. We are also proud to be home to leading researchers in natural resource fields.

Learn more about NREM's history


Where we are going

We want to continue to be preferred providers of fisheries, forestry, and wildlife managers as well as top-flight wood scientists. Over the two years leading up to the formation of the department, faculty and staff devoted hundreds of hours of thought and discussion to the formulation of a vision of the new department and its goals. These visions and goals have now been formalized into a departmental strategic plan that will guide this process. Quoting from that document:

NREM's disciplinary focus is broad in scope, ranging from individual organisms to landscapes, from natural to managed ecosystems, from wilderness to agricultural and urban systems, from local to international environments, and from resource preservation to utilization. Understanding and effectively managing our natural resources requires long-term vision and multidisciplinary approaches involving NREM personnel working with people from other diverse disciplines across the university and within federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations. NREM reflects a diversity of disciplines, including ecology and other biological sciences, social science, economics, sustainable resource management and utilization, and human dimensions. NREM serves society through the land-grant tradition of working with undergraduate and graduate students, state and federal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and the public.

In order to act on our vision, we have formulated a number of goals at the Department level. These goals are aligned and complementary to goals established at the University and College level. Again, extracting from the strategic plan, the following goals have been established at the University, College, and Departmental levels.


ISU Goals | CALS Goals | NREM Goals | Learning Outcomes | SAF Accreditation | Governance


Iowa State University Goals

The University's strategic plan cites three goals that will assist Iowa State in becoming the best at achieving the land-grant mission. All three goals relate directly or indirectly to the goals and plans of NREM for continued and enhanced excellence in teaching, research, and extension.

  • Enhance learning through exceptional learner-centered teaching, services, and enrichment opportunities.
  • Promote discovery and innovation characterized by preeminent scholarship, including increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative activities.
  • Engage with key constituents through synergistic sharing and partnership of knowledge and expertise to address needs of communities and society.


College of Agriculture and Life Science Goals

The College of Agriculture's strategic plan states that "a healthy environment is an important part of the future economic health of Iowa, and that the College of Agriculture must be a responsive resource for protecting and enhancing natural resources, and for developing new ways to harness the state's abundant renewable resources for the good of society." In support of those ideas, the college has two goals.

  • Enhance training in integrated resource management for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Enhance research and extension in natural resources, landscape enhancement, and bioproduct development.


NREM Department Goals

NREM is dedicated to the land-grant missions of undergraduate and graduate education, basic and applied research, and extension and outreach. Therefore, we are committed to the following:

  • A strong undergraduate program serving existing majors in Animal Ecology and Forestry and the development of new integrative majors or options in Natural Resource Ecology and Management.
  • A strong graduate program with majors in animal ecology, fisheries biology, forestry, wildlife biology, and wood science, as well as active participation in interdepartmental graduate programs.
  • An excellent research program that spans basic to applied sciences, as well as the human dimensions aspects of natural resource management. Meeting the research needs of Iowa citizens, governmental natural resource agencies, and other constituents is of the highest priority.
  • Highly respected extension and outreach programs and activities that address the many and growing expectations and needs of our stakeholders around the state and nation.

While our journey has only recently begun, given our history and commitment we feel confident in our ability to achieve these and future goals. At the same time we will be building a strong and vibrant program in natural resource education, research, and extension; a program that will serve the needs of Iowa and the world.


NREM Learning Outcomes

Department Outcomes Assessment


SAF Accreditation


Department Reviews



NREM Governance

The NREM Governance Document defines the roles of and procedures for faculty and staff participation in the governance of the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. The goals of the governance document are to promote effective and efficient operation of the department in meeting its mission.

Other documents that affect department governance are:

  • Iowa State University Faculty Handbook
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences governance documents
  • Iowa State University General Catalog
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contract
  • Guidelines and Best Practices for Promotion and Tenure Process, Provost's Office, Iowa State University

Read NREM's Governance Document