A Forester's Guide to Thinking About Rights and the Greatest Good


Microcourse information

This virtual microcourse – curated by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Dr. Marianne Patinelli-Dubay – is an introduction to thinking about forest management through the lenses of rights and the greatest good. Gifford Pinchot sets the stage stating Where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question shall always be answered from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run. In this microcourse you will dig into the hidden challenges within forestry’s primary directive including the sometimes-contested definition of what constitutes the good, how to think about harm, and exactly how long is the long-run?  In worksheets completed in your own time you will think through what is involved in recognizing the full and complex range of human and non-human values, time horizons and how to think through actions that cause harm or lead to a destabilized ecosystem. 

Is this microcourse for you?

This microcourse is designed for foresters and natural resource professionals seeking an expanded exploration of professional ethics with forestry and natural resources relevant applications.

Open registration

Registration remains open through September 19, 2024, 11:59 pm ET.


$34 for SAF Members

$54 for Non-members

Join SAF today to save $20 on your microcourse registration and to take advantage of SAF's growing member benefits including here on ForestEd.

Note: Pricing has been reduced to accommodate the purchase of corresponding required microcourse materials through an external partner.

Start date

Microcourse content will be accessible starting September 19, 2023.

Access Period

Microcourse access will remain open through September 19, 2024 at 11:59 pm ET. 

Microcourse Materials

To complete this microcourse, purchasing the following book is required if you don't already have access to it:
Practical Ethics: A Field Guide for Resource Managers, by Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2023. Purchase the book here

Digital e-book access instructions are accessible within the Supporting Resources Tab above. Remember your e-book login for your unique access.

PLEASE NOTE: The digital e-book has a limited period of access - 180 days - and your unique login access. The printed hard copy has no access limit.

Microcourse content is sourced from this book, alongside the required readings and case study that you will address within this microcourse. 

Microcourse pace

This microcourse is self-paced with an estimated completion time of 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this microcourse, you will be able to:

1. Apply techniques to work through an ethically weighted situation.

2. Identify each stakeholder who is affected by decisions made in the provided management scenario.

3. List all stakeholders who would have a rights claim, and specify if there is an order of importance.

4. Determine how you would respond to constituents whose rights you have not prioritized.


Successful completion of the microcourse is measured by the completion of all learning components. This includes viewing the presentation, reading the assigned chapters, reviewing the case study, and then downloading and completing a series of self-guided inquiries in worksheet form. Each of the two worksheets are tied to the scenario provided in the case study. These worksheets are yours to keep.

Microcourse Evaluation

Participant feedback is appreciated to help the microcourse curators and subject matter experts continually improve the microcourse for future participants.


Upon successful completion of this microcourse, you will earn 1.0 CFEs in Category 1. CFEs will automatically be added to your CFE record located on www.eforester.org.


Upon successful completion of this microcourse and microcourse evaluation, participants may download and print a certificate verifying completion of the microcourse and earning CFEs. CFEs will be uploaded to participant CFE records by the end of the day (11:59 pm ET) upon microcourse completion.

Get Started or Return to Place in Microcourse

Once you are registered for the microcourse, access this microcourse within your MY DASHBOARD. You can pause at any point during the microcourse, and you can return right where you last left off. Simply select where you last left off and then keep on working your way through the microcourse. Connect with SAF if you have any access questions.

Need Help?

For ForestEd questions, visit FAQs or email ForestEdSupport@safnet.org. For questions about this microcourse's content email Marianne Patinelli-Dubay at mpatinelli@esf.edu. For technical assistance, go to help.commpartners.com for self troubleshooting and/or live chat, or you can email ForestEdSupport@safnet.org.


This is a non-refundable item. Please view FAQs for additional information.


Presentation: A Forester's Guide to Thinking About Rights and the Greatest Good
Open to view video.  |  22 minutes
Open to view video.  |  22 minutes First, watch this presentation introducing you to the topics within chapters 4 and 5 of the required reading for this course, Practical Ethics: A Field Guide for Resource Managers. Following completion of this presentation, proceed to read the corresponding chapters.
Required Reading: Chapters 4 and 5 in Practical Ethics: A Field Guide for Resource Managers
Select the "Access E-Book" button to begin.
Select the "Access E-Book" button to begin. Read chapter 4 and chapter 5 of 'Practical Ethics: A Field Guide for Resource Managers' to better equip yourself for the upcoming case study. This link will take you to RedShelf to access your digital e-book. Proceed to VitalSource or your hard copy book instead as it may apply. Forgot to purchase the book? Go to Overview Tab to access instructions to purchase required reading. Once you complete your reading, select 'Access e-book' if not using RedShelf platform to progress to Reading Checkpoint. Remember this reading is required to complete the case study.
Reading Checkpoint
1 Question  |  Unlimited attempts  |  1/1 points to pass
1 Question  |  Unlimited attempts  |  1/1 points to pass Please complete this quiz to proceed in the course.
Case Study: Applying a Rights Approach
Case Study: Tax Abatement on Private Land
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Download and use this case study to complete the two self-guided worksheet exercises below.
Exercise One: Preliminary Questions
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Having read the case study, answer the following questions to help you think about the situation presented. As you enter into the decision-making process, consider how ethical approaches may be drawn out. It is recommended that you print this PDF to fill it out. These approaches will be applied in Exercise Two: A Rights Approach.
Exercise Two: A Rights Approach
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Following the completion of Exercise One: Preliminary Questions, complete this exercise. It is designed to draw out the ethical features associated with a Practical Wisdom Approach embedded in this microcourse’s case study concerning Tax Abatement on Private Land. It is recommended that you print this PDF to fill it out.
Evaluation and CFEs
6 Questions
6 Questions Please complete this course evaluation to help inform continuous improvements to this short course and future programming.
CFEs & Certificate
1.00 CAT1 credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 CAT1 credit  |  Certificate available Download, save and print for your records. Your CFEs will be posted to your SAF CFE record today.