Australian native vegetation is a unique resource for diversity, ecosystem services and public use. The objective of this unit is to provide a broad understanding of three major plant terrestrial ecosystems that are found across Australia: forests, heathlands and grasslands and how they are managed. While the focus will be on native plant systems in an Australian setting, their importance at a global level will also be discussed. You will develop an understanding of the characteristics of key plant ecosystems, including where they are found and their main ecophysiology features. Each of the ecosystems described has the potential to be affected (positively or negatively) by a range of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. They include fire, climate change (drought and temperature), changes in nutrient flows and more broadly human-induced disturbances such as logging, mining, urban development and agricultural management. The impact of these disturbances along with mitigation via conservation and associated management changes will also be covered. Finally, government policy around conservation/management of these ecosystems will be examined. At the completion of this unit you will have developed an understanding of the environmental and economic importance of forests, heathlands and grasslands, their vulnerability to a range of external factors and the extent that these can be mitigated.
The general weekly schedule comprises 2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 x 3 hour practical session. A mandatory 2-3 day field trip to southern New South Wales will take place in the middle of the semester.
Assessment tasks include two in-class quizzes (10% each); field report (20%); 2000w group-based land management plan (35%); 500w individual component to the land management plan (15%); group-based oral presentation (10%).
Students should have a basic understanding of plant biology, plant ecology and/or plant physiology. Some background knowledge in mathematics and chemistry would be beneficial.
6cp of BIOL2X23 or BIOL2X30 or AGEN2001 or GEOS2X21 or AGEN2005 or BIOL2X09Prohibitions
ENSY3003 or ENSY3002