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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

Unit aim

Examines the role of fire in terrestrial ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on the importance of fire in regulating vegetation distribution and structure, and the habitats of plants and animals. The unit also introduces students to the ways in which changing landuse and climate influence fire regimes, and the interaction between fire regimes, climate and carbon cycling through time The management of fire regimes will be examined, including for ecological restoration, hazard reduction and Aboriginal cultural burning, and how improved fire management can improve the resilience of these systems in the face of global change.

Unit content

1. Fire Through Time: pre-human, Aboriginal and European fire

2. Plant and Animal Adaptations: surviving fire and exploiting the post fire environment

3. Open-ecosystems: the role of fire in shaping ecosystem structure & distribution

4. Fire Behaviour: the role of weather, topography and fuel dynamics

5. Fire Management: managing fire regimes for hazard reduction and ecological burning, cultural burning

6. Fire in a Changing World: climate change; carbon cycles and using fire in ecological restoration

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.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1 demonstrate advanced understanding of how fire maintains open ecosystems and critically evaluate likely effects of altered fire regimes on plants, animals and ecosystem function.
2 discuss and evaluate the major fire management approaches, including burning for ecological restoration, hazard reduction and Aboriginal cultural burning.
3 critically evaluate the sensitivity of fire regimes to changing landuse and climate, and the interaction between fire regimes, climate and carbon cycling through time
4 research, evaluate and synthesise information to describe a fire management or fire ecology issue into written form for appropriate audiences.

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

  1. demonstrate advanced understanding of how fire maintains open ecosystems and critically evaluate likely effects of altered fire regimes on plants, animals and ecosystem function.
  2. discuss and evaluate the major fire management approaches, including burning for ecological restoration, hazard reduction and Aboriginal cultural burning.
  3. critically evaluate the sensitivity of fire regimes to changing landuse and climate, and the interaction between fire regimes, climate and carbon cycling through time
  4. research, evaluate and synthesise information to describe a fire management or fire ecology issue into written form for appropriate audiences.

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future teaching periods.