Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation
- CRICOS Code: 098317B
What will I study?
Successful completion of the 200 credit point degree comprises:
- Core subjects (100 points)
- Professional skills subjects (12.5–25 points)
- Elective subjects (at least 50 points)
- Foundation subjects (25 points)
You are encouraged to undertake a 25-point Ecosystem Internship subject as their Professional Skills element, as this provides work-place experience, develops networks and a work-ready capstone experience.
If you have a relevant prior degree from the University of Melbourne (or other university), you can apply for advanced standing of up to 50 points which may remove one Semester of study.
Complete all of the following:
- FRST90015 Landscape Ecology
- FRST90019 Analysing Ecosystems and Their Values
- FRST90025 Patterns and Processes of Landscape Fire
- FRST90022 Ecosystem Processes of Water and Soil
- ENST90045 Spatial Tools for Ecosystem Management
- ENST90046 Landscape Governance and Policy
- NRMT90007 Communities and Ecosystem Management
- ENST90043 Sustainable Landscapes
Professional skills subjects
Complete between 12.5 and 25 points of the following:
- SCIE90027 Ecosystem Internship
- GEOG90022 International Internship in the Environment
- SCIE90017 Science and Technology Internship
- SCIE90012 Science Communication
- NRMT90018 Human Resource Management
- NRMT90021 Project Management
Complete at least 50 points of the following:
- FRST90034 Ecological Restoration
- FRST90033 Farm Trees and Agroforestry
- FRST90030 Forest in the Asia Pacific
- FRST90032 Forest, Carbon and Climate Change
- FRST90078 Conserving and Managing Native Forest
- FRST90017 Bushfire Planning and Management
- FRST90076 Short Research Project B
- NRMT90003 Social Research Methods
- AGRI90075 Research Methods for Life Science
Complete 25 points of the following:
- FRST30001 Forest Systems
- BOTA30004 Vegetation Management and Conservation
- EVSC30007 Integrated Landscape Analysis
- BOTA90005 Flora of Victoria
- HORT90041 Tree Growth and Function
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Landscape Ecology12.5
The interactions between spatial context and ecosystem composition and structure can have a significant influence on the management of our natural environment. Spatial and temporal patterning of ecosystems can influence ecosystem functioning which in turn can affect resource availability for flora and fauna, dynamics of plant communities, and lead to the alteration of disturbance regimes. Humans play a critical role in shaping the spatial context on ecosystems within landscapes, both creating and affecting these relationships. This subject will cover the principles of landscape ecology with a focus on understanding how spatial heterogeneity, spatial extent, agents of change (i.e. fire, climate) and the role of humans (i.e. forest management, urbanisation) influence ecosystem patterns and in turn ecological processes (i.e. plant migration, meta-population dynamics, provisioning of ecosystem services). Case studies will be drawn from international and domestic examples from urban, agricultural, and forested landscapes.
This subject will involve lectures, pracs and a 3 day field trip.
- Sustainable Landscapes12.5
Sustainable Landscapes combines social and ecological disciplines to consider the management of urban and rural/regional landscapes for sustainable futures. Subject teaching includes weekly lectures and a 1x weekend field trip to observe and discuss management of landscapes for sustainable outcomes. Australian and overseas case studies are drawn upon to cover the following topics:
- the meaning and significance of sustainability in the context of urban, urban fringe, rural, and regional landscapes and their futures;
- rural and urban land use, and drivers of current and future landscape change, including fragmentation, social change and transformation, biodiversity loss, industrialisation, intensification, pollution, sovereignty, and security;
- assumptions around land ownership, ethics and economics that influence issues of environmental security, commons and sustainable regional futures; · the utilisation, degradation, and management of rural and urban biophysical resources for sustainable futures, including maintenance of ecosystem services and processes;
- the involvement of different stakeholders in decision making for regional, service, rural, fringe and urban areas, including the role of relationships and social features such as politics, memory, and values; and
- the role of governance, including institutions, deliberative democracy, empowerment; and community based natural resource management in navigating landscape change.
The content and the issues raised will draw upon and integrate theory, knowledge and practices from different disciplines familiarising students with systems theory and how it is integral to framing an understanding of landscape management. Theories of complex adaptive systems, social ecological systems, uncertainty, resilience and complexity will also frame the investigation of these issues. Landscape ecology sciences, social sciences (including cultural geographies) and policy frameworks will be drawn upon in analysing and evaluating landscapes and their futures, with a strong focus on community-based knowledge systems. Students will engage deeply with the literature that informs these ideas and will develop a critical understanding of their value and limitations.
- Analysing Ecosystems and Their Values12.5
Analysing Ecosystems and Their Values
Terrestrial ecosystems provide a wide range of values—from biodiversity and carbon storage to clean water and recreational opportunities in interaction with social systems. Managing ecosystems to sustain these values requires understanding what values exist in a given ecosystem, their interactions with society and how they change over time and space. However, natural ecosystems and the social context within which they are embedded are inherently variable across scales—capturing the many ecosystem values presents a significant challenge. This unit will explore the principles of, and approaches to, ecosystem assessment and monitoring across both the biophysical and social domains. We will focus on developing practical skills in the design of social and biophysical assessments, data collection and the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data associated with natural resources and their management. Example assessment approaches include ecological monitoring, forest inventory, stakeholder analysis, participatory mapping and value-based conversations, among many others. We will draw on examples from a range of ecosystems around the world.
This subject will involve practicals and a three-day, pre-semester field trip.
- Spatial Tools for Ecosystem Management12.5
Spatial Tools for Ecosystem Management
The course covers the fundamentals of spatial analysis for ecosystem management and conservation problems. Students will develop skills in the application of remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for landscape analysis of data. Methodologies for collecting, analysing and interpreting spatial data will be considered through theoretical and practical approaches. These will include data collected by drones through to satellite derived measures at a continental to global scale. Students will learn the spatial skills essential to environmental management by applying industry standard tools and methods. Finally, students will develop an understanding of the emerging technologies in data collection and analysis.
- Landscape Governance and Policy12.5
Landscape Governance and Policy
We live in a world of limited natural resources and decision making about the allocation of land and resources is no longer just the realm of nation-states and governments. Landscape governance involves governments, civil society groups and private sector actors. This subject provides students with an understanding of the policies, tools, organizations, institutions and actors involved in the governance of landscapes and natural resources and exposes students to a range of resource management regimes and modes of production and conservation, including partnership models, common property regimes, market and non-market arrangements for resource management, smallholder-based systems and decentralization. This subject provides a capstone experience based on exercises and case studies of landscapes such as the Murray Darling Basin in Australia and the Mekong River catchment in SE Asia and rural industries such as forestry, agriculture and tourism. These are used to explore the challenges of governance and decision making with multiple land tenures and stakeholders and governance of cross-cutting issues such as climate adaptation, fire, flood and biosecurity. The business of landscape management is explored through analysis of corporate decision-making principles and practices and prioritisation and resource allocation in government and non-government organisations. The subject adopts an active, interdisciplinary and participatory approach to learning including lectures, industry and government presentations, class debates and role plays and a major group project. A 3-day field trip to north-eastern Victoria will reinforce learnings through field exercises and discussions with land management agencies, industry, NGOs and stakeholders.
- Ecosystem Processes of Water and Soil12.5
Ecosystem Processes of Water and Soil
The subject follows the fate of water as it moves into and through a broad range of land systems and the soil processes that influence the quality and quantity of water. These landscapes include upland forested catchments, extensively managed rural landscapes, intensive land use along floodplains and urban landscapes. The subject develops knowledge of the key water and soil processes that interact with natural and managed terrestrial systems, and students will gain a solid understanding of ecosystem functioning that will allow them to apply soil and water knowledge to address environmental, conservation and rehabilitation issues. Understanding the role of hydrology and soils across these ecosystems is critical for a range of professions including environmental and agricultural scientists, geographers, ecologists and plant scientists.
- Patterns and Processes of Landscape Fire12.5
Patterns and Processes of Landscape Fire
The course covers the fundamentals of fire behaviour and the key drivers. Students will examine the importance of the key factors affecting fire behaviour including fuels, weather, topography and ignitions. Methodologies for measuring fuels, fuel moisture, and weather will be examined through theoretical and practical approaches. Using these skills, students will learn computer and manual approaches for predicting the extent and intensity of landscape fires in a range of ecosystems. Students will apply the knowledge of fire patterns to examine how prescribed burning might be used for land management and the fundamentals of wildfire suppression strategies and tactics. Finally, we will assess the potential changes to fire patterns under global climate change.
- Communities and Ecosystem Management12.5
Communities and Ecosystem Management
In this subject, ideas and theories from the social sciences are applied to people’s involvement in social-ecological systems. Subject teaching includes lectures, group exercises and case studies, including at least one full day field trip. The subject covers the following areas:
- Philosophy and approaches in participation and community management in social-ecological systems in Australia and other countries;
- Participation by landowners, volunteer groups, indigenous people and others in planning or management of forests, waterways, fisheries, conservation areas, revegetation projects and other ecosystems;
- Communities and stakeholders, including their values, knowledge, networks and practices in relation to ecosystems;
- Interactions between community members and governments, businesses and non-government organisations, including issues such as level of engagement, power, knowledge, policy environments, institutions and social licence;
- Processes and techniques for relationship building, engagement planning, group facilitation, conflict management, evaluation and reflective practice;
- Project Management12.5
The subject will provide an overview of the management issues associated with initiating, implementing and terminating projects. Particular emphasis will be given to the planning dimension in areas such as project or problem selection, defining project scope, identification of project stakeholders, project scheduling and resource allocation. A range of suitable action research methods will be introduced to complement project management approaches. Project management approaches will be applied to student work related issues or problems, or a range of research related projects.
- Human Resource Management12.5
Human Resource Management
Managers in both small-medium enterprises and larger organisations require an understanding of the strategic and operational role of human resource management (HRM). It has long been recognised that the effective deployment and development of human resources constitutes one of the key areas of competitive advantage for modern organisations.
The subject introduces principles of strategic HRM for organisations and evaluates models and approaches for the performance of key HRM functions applicable to a large range of agri-food and agri-business organisations across value chains (e.g. farms, processors, professional services, government, R&D organisations). Topics include: human resources planning; job analysis and design; recruitment and selection; managing diversity and work-life balance; performance management; remuneration and reward; training and skills development; industrial relations and workplace health and safety; human resources leadership.
The subject builds on the Leadership subject (NRMT90017) in identifying the contribution of HRM to organisational development and organisational effectiveness.
- International Internship in Environment25
International Internship in Environment
International Internship in the Environment is an elective subject available to students in the Master of Geography, Master of Environment or Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation. Eligible students gain subject credit for a placement with an organisation based in another country. It provides students with the opportunity to gain exposure to a different cultural setting and to think critically about the nature of the relationship between theory and practice.
The broad aim of the internship is to provide the opportunity for graduate students to gain invaluable practical experience and to build their networks with industry, government or NGOs in order to further enhance their knowledge and skills in their chosen area of study. Students will have the chance to make a positive contribution to the host organisation by applying their previous experience, skills and knowledge gained through study.
To enrol into this subject students will be in the final 100 points of their Masters’ degree in the semester they intend to enrol. Students will also seek coordinator permission one semester prior to enrolling into this subject.
Students will complete all necessary internship and travel paperwork PRIOR to enrolment in the subject.
Students will generally need to meet the cost of travel and subsistence in the destination country.
Completion of Internship Placement and Risk Assessment form and the on-line Student Travel Registration https://safety.unimelb.edu.au/management/implement
- Science Communication12.5
Why is it essential that scientists learn to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking?
Weekly seminars and tutorials will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital that scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. These audiences may include school students, agencies that fund research, the media, government, industry, and the broader public. Other topics include the philosophy of science communication, talking about science on the radio, effective public speaking, writing press releases and science feature articles, science performance, communicating science on the web and how science is reported in the media.
Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are most effective and engaging. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their own written and oral communication skills.
Students will work in small teams on team projects to further the communication skills developed during the seminar programme. These projects will focus on communicating a given scientific topic to a particular audience using spoken, visual, written or web-based communication.
- Science and Technology Internship12.5
Science and Technology Internship
This subject involves completion of an 80-100 hour science or technology work placement integrating academic learning in science areas of study, employability skills and attributes and an improved knowledge of science and technology organisations, workplace culture and career pathways. The placement is supplemented by pre- and post-placement classes designed to develop an understanding of science and technology professions, introduce skills for developing, identifying and articulating employability skills and attributes and linking them to employer requirements in the science and technology domains. The placement will draw on students’ specific discipline skills associated with the science core of their degree. Pre-placement seminars will also include consideration of career planning and professional skills.
Students will be responsible for identifying a suitable work placement prior to the semester, with support of the Subject Coordinator. In the semester prior to your placement you should attend Careers & Employment (C&E) employment preparation seminars and workshops as well as accessing other C&E resources to assist you in identifying potential host organisations http://careers.unimelb.edu.au .You will need to commence your approaches to organisations at least 4 weeks before the placement. More information is available in the Subject Guide. Placements must be approved by the Subject Coordinator. If you have problems finding a placement you should approach the Subject Coordinator.
On completion of the subject, students will have completed and reported on a course-related project in a science or technology workplace. They will also have enhanced employability skills including communication, interpersonal, analytical and problem-solving, organisational and time-management, and an understanding of career planning and professional development.
- Ecosystem Internship25
This subject involves the definition and development of an internship placement in collaboration with the host institution. It has at its core a workplace project that will allow students to develop skills in project management, problem solving, multi-disciplinary workplace practice, institutional policy and strategy mapping, project reporting and communication. This internship subject aims to provide students with a high-level employment experience with government, industry or non-government organisation (NGO). Students will develop a good understanding of potential employer expectations of Masters graduates and the skills required to function and excel in a workplace involved in the application of scientific research, technology, policy, planning or management. With assistance from the subject coordinator, students will be required to source both a host-institution and an academic supervisor. The student and academic supervisor then define and coordinate the internship placement and develop a workplace project in consultation with (a) representative(s) from the host institution. This project may relate to an applied science, technological, economic, social or management topic. Each student will prepare an ‘Internship Plan’ which includes relevant information about the project’s aims, context in relation to the institution, approaches to be used, relevant background knowledge and potential outputs to the host-institution. Students will then spend a period of 4-5 weeks (full-time equivalent; ca. 200 hours) working within their host institution i) gaining experience, ii) shadowing institution mentors and iii) working on their internship project. At completion of the internship placement, students will be required to present their findings to an audience, including members of the host-institution, in form of an ‘Internship Seminar’, and submit a ‘Main Report’ on their internship project.
- Ecological Restoration12.5
Ecological Restoration examines the principles and practices needed to restore terrestrial ecosystems in a range of modified landscapes from settled to agricultural to forested. Its focus is ecological, although consideration is also given to socio-economic factors that influence restoration programs. Lectures and field trips explore ecological principles and projects from site to landscape scales, encompassing biodiversity values and ecosystem services. The subject is delivered as a two-week intensive, including a four-day field-based component run from the Creswick campus, followed by an overnight field trip to north-eastern Victoria, and then three final days at the Parkville campus.
- Research Methods For Life Sciences12.5
Research Methods For Life Sciences
This subject provides students with an introduction to a number of statistical techniques which are frequently used in agriculture, science and business situations. Course content will be set within the context of practical problems. Technology will be used to support statistical calculations.
It is designed for students with little or no background in statistics.
Topics include an introduction to sampling techniques and experimental design; descriptive treatment of sample data; introduction to elementary probability and distributions; estimation and hypothesis testing of means and proportions; the chi-square distribution; simple and multiple regression and correlation; one-factor and two-factor analysis of variance; and use of statistical computer packages.
- Bushfire Planning & Management12.5
Bushfire Planning & Management
The course covers the fundamentals of setting and achieving bushfire management objectives for ecological and fire protection purposes in natural ecosystems. It covers the contents of a fire management plan, setting objectives, developing fire prescriptions, undertaking monitoring and evaluation of the management process, and review.
- Forests in the Asia Pacific Region12.5
Forests in the Asia Pacific Region
The Asia Pacific region is of crucial importance to Australia and to the future management of global forest resources. The region has over half the world’s population and countries with the fastest growing populations and economies. This is placing increased demand on forest resources in the region and elsewhere. There are extensive spiritual and cultural associations between people and forests in this region and an extensive history of forest use and development. In this subject students experience the diversity of connections between forests and people in Laos and Vietnam to illustrate the importance of forests to local and national development, and contemporary forest policy and management challenges in the region. The program includes policy briefings and site visits to conservation and production forests, local village forests, hydropower and plantation development projects and small- and large-scale forest industries.
- Forests, Carbon and Climate Change12.5
Forests, Carbon and Climate Change
This subject will investigate the role of forests in the carbon cycle and in a changing climate. Students will learn the scientific basis for climate change and the impact that a changing climate might have on tree physiology and forest ecology. We will discuss the role forests play in the global carbon cycle and the degree to which forests or plantations can be used as a carbon sequestration option. We will evaluate the requirements for forest carbon accounting and will apply carbon accounting tools in hands-on accounting sessions with industry partners. This scientific understanding will be extended to discuss policy instruments under consideration in Australia and in the international arena for the potential role of forests in carbon emissions trading. The subject will equip students with state-of-the-art knowledge on the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems and with practical experiences in forest carbon accounting.
- Farm Trees & Agroforestry12.5
Farm Trees & Agroforestry
This subject covers the principles and practices of integrating trees into the rural agricultural landscape for both conservation and profit. The farming community require trees and shrubs for shade and shelter, soil conservation, salinity control and aesthetics. Farmers can also produce commercial tree products such as timber, fuel, fodder, essential oils and food. Because farmers manage the majority of the Australian landscape governments, community groups and industry are increasingly working in partnership with them to grow trees for environmental services including carbon sequestration, biodiversity and downstream water quality.
- Short Research Project B12.5
Short Research Project B
This subject enables students to conduct an original research topic, under supervision approved by the subject coordinator. The work commitment will be equivalent to lecture and practical based subjects worth 25 points. The content and extent of the project will be determined by a project supervisor in consultation with the student and subject coordinator. Students are strongly encouraged to initiate project ideas within existing networks or to identify a project topic of keen interest, through discussion with subject coordinator, prior to subject commencement. The project represents a capstone subject and comprises a review of a body of relevant literature, together with a critical evaluation of research or experimental protocols, a modest original experiment, or limited exploration of a scientific problem, or an investigation into a problem using an approved methodology. Following an initial workshop to establish subject expectations, deliverables and skill base requirements, projects may involve regular one hour meetings with their supervisor where students report on progress, difficulties and research plans. Other workshops will deliver skill development in oral and written report presentation.
Please note that students should enrol into both the Semester 1 and Semester 2 availabilities of this 12.5 subject to achieve the combined 25 point credit total.
- Conserving and Managing Native Forests12.5
Conserving and Managing Native Forests
Native forests are globally important natural resources. Their conservation and management is critical to local and regional populations for the biodiversity that they harbour and the ecosystem services that they provide. This subject will explore the conservation and management of native forests around the world.
We will cover the principles of forest dynamics and sustainable forest management for a range of objectives, including wildlife habitat, water yield, carbon sequestration, and timber production. The subject will integrate ecological, environmental, economic, and social perspectives on the conservation and management of native forests through lectures, forest modeling exercises, and a week-long field trip to the Central Highlands of Victoria.
- Social Research Methods12.5
Social Research Methods
Understanding of social process and action is critical to effective land and environment management and social research skills are therefore valued by resource management agencies.
This subject aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to design social research, which can be used to improve management of environments, agricultural and food systems.
The subject presents a framework for understanding diverse approaches to social research; the relationship between theory and method is given particular emphasis.
The research process is considered step by step including scoping research issues, the evolution of research questions, and selection of appropriate methods.
A number of research strategies are considered in more detail including survey research, case studies and action research. Social research ethics, quality in social research and advances in social research methods are examined.
- Forest Systems12.5
At a global scale forests are managed by societies in a wide range of ways for goods and services that reflect the needs of people and their aspirations for the environment. Forests are viewed and valued by society in many different ways, often in competition with each other, adding significant challenges to those that are entrusted to manage them. Forest Systems explores the complexity of managing the forests of Australia and around the world through case studies and real world scenarios that will help students develop a strong appreciation of the challenges and opportunities presented to those looking after forests and the stakeholders who value them. Starting with gaining an understanding of what a forest is, how it is valued and by whom, as well as how it grows, the complexity of its management is explored through the themes of water, fire, carbon, biodiversity, conservation, recreation and climate change. Field trips to explore first hand challenges faced by forest managers as well as interviews with industry partners will bring a real life context to the learning and build problem solving and decision making skills through practice. Field investigations culminate in two day overnight excursion to the Creswick campus where students will work on a major project exploring a local forest issue and make recommendations on how to proceed.
- Vegetation Management and Conservation12.5
Vegetation Management and Conservation
This subject provides a detailed knowledge of vegetation structure and natural values of Victorian plant communities and their assessment, including environmental limiting factors, threats due to land use, development and fragmentation, and management issues related to environmental impact assessment and conservation of native vegetation. The subject will be based around short excursions to examine different vegetation types in the Melbourne region, and a series of special lectures by scientists, managers and consultants from both the government and private sectors. Topics will include:
- ecology and natural history of Victorian plant communities;
- environmental impacts and vegetation assessment;
- conservation and management issues (e.g. revegetation, rare species, fauna habitat, weed invasions);
- biodiversity legislation and government agencies;
- consulting services and client focus.
- Flora of Victoria12.5
Flora of Victoria
This subject is designed for students wishing to take a summer course, and who are interested in the biology of native plants and plant communities and environments in Victoria. It is suited to students studying environmental science or environmental studies.
Topics covered include:
- biogeographic regions of Victoria: climate, landforms, geology, soils and vegetation types;
- biology of Victorian plants: intraspecific variation and adaptation to local conditions, ecotypes and clines, mallee plants, coastal plants, alpine plants;
- conservation and threats to the Victorian flora: weeds, diseases, pests, fire, extinctions.
This subject introduces students to four major ecological questions that can be addressed at the levels of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. Making use of aquatic and terrestrial examples, topics include organisms and the physical environment, life histories, population growth and regulation, managing populations, theoretical models, species interactions, community change and energy flows. The practical component will emphasise approaches to the collection and analysis of ecological data, and how to interpret and write scientific papers.
- Applied Ecology12.5
Applied Ecology is the science of understanding and managing ecosystems. The subject describes and evaluates the applications of ecological concepts for the conservation and management of natural and human-altered ecosystems. In particular, it identifies the implications of global and local changes for ecosystems, communities and individual species, especially within the Australian environment. It examines approaches to management and conservation of terrestrial resources and ecosystems, the control of pest species, and restoration of modified habitats.
- Human Behaviour and Environment12.5
Human Behaviour and Environment
This subject explores psychological and social dimensions of environmental sustainability and landscape and ecosystem management. The subject examines the ways humans experience, interact and behave in the physical environment. This is done by exploring psycho-social dimensions of human-environment interactions examining frameworks for understanding environmental concern and environmentally significant behaviour. Topics include: psychological bases for human-environment relationships (considering biological and cognitive needs, social identity and other forms of motivation); frameworks for understanding attitudes to environmental issues and for understanding environmentally significant behaviour; strategies for enhancing, awareness, concern and action for sustainability.
- Environmental Risk Assessment12.5
Environmental Risk Assessment
This subject aims to provide students with the skills to undertake and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments. Students will learn a range of qualitative and quantitative tools from a variety of disciplines, and apply them to environmental risk problems. Students completing this subject should be familiar with the concept of exposure pathways; understand the ecological processes associated with contamination in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; be able to develop empirical models; estimate exposures and responses in ecological systems; and develop a critical understanding of methodologies used in environmental risk assessment.
Topics include the concepts of risk assessment, psychology and history of risk perception, Australian standards for risk assessment, risk assessment frameworks, exposure pathways, hazard assessment, casual and empirical modeling, inference from data, endpoints and management goals, interval arithmetic, logic trees, environmental toxicology, decision-making under risk and uncertainty, social context of risk, and risk management.
- Integrated Landscape Analysis12.5
Integrated Landscape Analysis
This subject takes students through a process of identifying, planning, managing, analysing and reporting on a project relating to a problem or issue in either urban or forested ecosystem. Selection of the problem or issue is led by students and is structured to explore ecological, environmental, social, spatial, temporal and economic related topics.
Activities include developing a project proposal and objectives, project planning and timelines, scientific methods of analysis, evaluation and synthesis of data and/or information and the preparation and presentation of results, findings or outcomes. Students will also work in groups drawing upon their prior degree studies to develop recommendations, provide solutions, or outline further insights for their problem or issue.
In collaboration with industry representatives and academic staff, this subject enables students to explore projects based on real world problems through a work integrated learning and relevant capstone experience.
- Fire in the Australian Landscape12.5
Fire in the Australian Landscape
Australian ecosystems are inextricably linked to fire and adapted to specific fire regimes. The subject explores the role of fire in contemporary Australian landscapes.
Combustion is the result of physical and chemical processes occurring at multiple scales. Students will be taught the fundamentals of combustion. This knowledge will then be extended to measuring and analysing fire behaviour at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Students will also learn the importance of climate, landscape patterns and fire feedbacks in determining the diversity of fire regimes (intensity, frequency, seasonality and extent of fires) under current and past climates.
Students will be taught the fundamentals of fire ecology and the range of approaches to managing biodiversity in flammable ecosystems.
Fire management requires consideration of a wide range of assets in the landscapes. Students will be introduced to the range of approaches to fire management, including indigenous land management, and the ability of each to protect or enhance the things communities value.
Lectures, tutorials and field trips will be used to develop and apply these skills.
- Urban Forest Ecosystems12.5
Urban Forest Ecosystems
This subject imparts detailed knowledge on the crucial role that urban forests are playing in the development and resilience of sustainable cities around the world, using both local and international case studies. It begins by exploring the unique composition of urban forests, and the multiple social and ecological drivers that shape them in the context of global environmental change. This includes extreme biotic and abiotic stressors, such as changing pests and pathogens, fundamental plant physiology principles of drought, heat, light and pollution tolerance. The benefits that the urban forest generate for fauna habitat and biodiversity, human health and wellbeing, nature connectedness, microclimate cooling, and improved hydrology and water quality are discussed and analysed in detail. Finally, the subject brings these themes together through an urban landscape management lens to explore practical approaches to building our future urban forests through remote sensing, modelling ecosystem service values, and community engagement and participation. A central theme will be planning and managing urban forests for environmental equity, multiple social values and ecological outcomes in a contested urban landscape.
- Biogeography and Ecology of Fire12.5
Biogeography and Ecology of Fire
Fire is one of the most important controls over the distribution of vegetation on Earth. This subject examines the role of fire in natural systems, with a particular emphasis on the importance of fire in determining global vegetation patterns and dynamics over long periods of time. The aim is to understand how terrestrial systems have evolved to cope with and exploit fire, and to place the extreme flammability Australia's vegetation within a global context. The subject will examine concepts such as resilience, positive feedback loops, hysteresis and alternative stable states. The use of fire by humans to manipulate environments will be examined, with a particular emphasis on the variety of approaches employed by people across a diversity of environments over long periods of time, allowing an exploration of the social and cultural dynamics of fire and environmental management. A field excursion in Tasmania will visit a number of sites which will exemplify the subject themes. The practical exercises leading up to the field trip will focus on how to gather fire-related ecological data. The practical exercises following the field trip will be devoted to processing, analysing, interpreting and reporting on the field data. At the end of the subject, students will have gained an understanding of the way in which fire has shaped natural systems, as well as acquiring the skills necessary to formulate and test hypotheses.
More information about the subject and field trip can be seen at: http://michaelsresearch.wordpress.com/GEOG30025/
The estimated additional cost of the 7 day field trip to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, is in the vicinity of $750.
Note this subject may be taken as the Capstone subject in the Geography major of the BA and BSc. All students, whether they are capstone students or not, will be required to complete online introductory materials that are common across all field classes.
- Tree Growth and Function12.5
Tree Growth and Function
Environmental stresses such as drought, extreme heat and severe wind events are increasing in their severity in urban environments. This subject aims to help students understand how and why urban trees are vulnerable to such stresses. Urban tree biology and function is constantly compromised through human intervention. This subject aims to help student to understand the structure and function that underpins tree biology and its importance for urban tree managers. Tree stress adaption mechanisms will be investigated from a cellular to a whole tree level. The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six-day intensive workshop and a subsequent 10 week period of on-line subject delivery and assessment.