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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Unit aim

Introduces ecological principles in the context of productive agricultural systems and healthy rural landscapes. Important ecological and landscape processes of energy flow, nutrient and water cycles and community dynamics are examined. Students will compare natural and managed ecosystems. Farming systems will be explored in relation to agroecological principles including biodiversity, synergy, efficiency, recycling, ecological resilience, animal and soil health.

Unit content

  • Introduction to agroecology; natural and managed ecosystems
  • Ecological concepts and landscape processes: energy flow, nutrient and water cycles, ecosystem services
  • Scale and hierarchy
  • Community dynamics
  • Patches, connectivity and the five landscape functions
  • Principal elements of agroecological systems: biodiversity, synergy, efficiency, recycling, animal and soil health, knowledge sharing.
  • Ecological resilience
  • Applying agroecology for healthy agricultural landscapes.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 describe the differences between natural ecosystems and managed agroecosystems
2 explain key agroecological concepts
3 explain the principles and attributes relevant to an agroecological system
4 critically evaluate agricultural systems against key agroecological principles

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe the differences between natural ecosystems and managed agroecosystems
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  2. explain key agroecological concepts
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  3. explain the principles and attributes relevant to an agroecological system
    • GA4:
  4. critically evaluate agricultural systems against key agroecological principles
    • GA1:
    • GA2:
    • GA4: