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An introduction to the forests and woodlands of southeastern Australia based on lectures and field visits to forests across a broad rainfall gradient. The subject aims to provide a sound theoretical and practical understanding of the major ecosystem processes in forests, including a focus on regeneration and recovery following both low- and high-intensity fire. Field visits to mallee, box-ironbark, Eucalyptus open forests and cool temperate rainforest and associated practical work will ensure that students obtain direct experience of a range of forest ecosystems. These field visits and associated lectures develop knowledge of state-of-the-art methods to analyse ecosystem processes, such as nutrient and carbon cycling, and also a functional appreciation of forest soils.
Intended learning outcomes
By the end of the subject students should:
- Understand the ecosystem paradigm including energy flow, organic and inorganic transformation processes in forests
- Have a broad understanding of relationships among vegetation types, climate and soils within forest ecosystems of south-eastern Australia
- Understand the relevance of forests and forest soils in the global carbon cycle and the amelioration of global climate change
- Have gained practical experience in the quantitative analysis of forest biomass, decomposition and respiration processes involved in nutrient and carbon cycling within forests, and between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere
- Be capable of critically evaluating management impacts on forest ecosystem processes maintaining water, air and soil quality.
Last updated: 18 December 2020