Conservation and Sustainability

    Unit code: RBF3620 | Study level: Undergraduate
    (Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
    Footscray Park
    RBF1310 - Biology 1
    RBF1320 - Biology 2
    RBF2610 - Fundamentals of Ecology
    (Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


    This unit ties together, in both theoretical and practical ways, concepts and practices for maintaining biological diversity, and how these concepts and practices can be integrated with social and economic needs. The unit focuses on the development of conservation theory and practice in Australia; extinction and its significance, including pathways to extinction; the meanings, levels and interpretation of concepts of biodiversity; ecological and adaptive management approaches to conservation and recovery, including design of reserves, setting priorities, off-reserve conservation and ex-situ (captive breeding, reintroduction and translocation). Practical field studies and site visits will investigate the contributions of zoo's, national and state parks, friends groups, local, state and federal government agencies, Landcare and private landholders to the conservation and recovery of plant and animal species, from insects to mammals, and from fungi to trees. The subject will also include practical appraisals of techniques used to determine integrity of ecosystems, landscapes and overall environment, the contributions made by biodiversity to ecosystem services and integrated methods for recovery and sustainable management of species and ecosystems.

    Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    1. Formulate a theoretical basis on which to base conservation and sustainability management decisions;
    2. Evaluate and implement ecological and genetic principles to the conservation and management of plant and animal species and populations, and ecosystems in an ethical and fact-based manner;
    3. Work individually and collectively to critically assess and formulate conservation management actions as they apply to in-situ and ex-situ conservation programs;
    4. Argue, debate and report in written and oral form, conservation programs and principles to a range of end-users groups; and
    5. Critically analyse a range of data types and published literature to support and justify sound decision-making processes in relation to conservation and sustainability.


    For Melbourne campuses

    Assessment type: Essay
    Grade: 30%
    Assessment type: Report
    Grade: 50%
    Field Report
    Assessment type: Presentation
    Grade: 20%
    Community participation and presentation

    Required reading

    Required readings will be made available on VU Collaborate.

    As part of a course

    This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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