Sustainability and Ecosystem Health

Course code ENVS6525Units 10Level 6000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

Sustainability and Ecosystem Health offers a systematic examination of an emergent paradigm in environmental management, ecosystem health and resilience thinking. It explores these concepts via the theoretical perspectives and methodologies of complexity and transdisciplinarity. The ecosystem health paradigm examines environmental issues using key indicators of system health such as integrity, resilience, vigour, diversity, stability and adaptability. Major environmental issues are analysed from a complex adaptive systems perspective with humans and their institutions seen as integral parts of socio-ecological systems, i.e. a 'humans in the ecosystem' approach. The Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia provides a rich setting for case studies at the regional level. Other case studies are explored, including human induced climate change and global warming at the biosphere scale. Links between complex adaptive socio-ecological systems at varied scales are also explored. All case studies are used to highlight interdependencies and opportunities for diagnosing, maintaining or restoring ecosystem and human health and resilience.

Available in 2014

WebLearn GradSchoolTrimester 2
Previously offered in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
ObjectivesOn completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain the relationship between resilience, transdisciplinarity, ecosystem health and ultimately, sustainability
2. Critically evaluate key components of ecosystem health and resilience theory
3. Use ecosystem health and resilience theory to interpret, understand and analyse real world case studies in complex adaptive systems
ContentTheme 1: Basic Concepts
- Ecosystem health: An indicator of sustainability
- Resilience: and indicator of sustainability

Theme 2: Sustainability and Ecosystem Health within Complex Adaptive Systems
- Ecological and social systems as linked complex adaptive systems
- Feedback, thresholds and flip points
- Panarchy and scale
- Resilience, adaptability and vulnerability
- Sustainability indicators: a systems approach

Theme 3: Case Study in Sustainability, Ecosystem Health and Transformation
- Social learning, adaptive management and governance for ecosystem health and sustainability
- The Hunter region of NSW, Australia

Theme 4: Creating Sustainable Futures
- Individual case studies as identified by students
Replacing Course(s)ENVS6520 - Sustainability
TransitionNot to count with ENVS6520.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeNA
Modes of DeliveryDistance Learning : IT Based
Teaching MethodsEmail Discussion Group
Problem Based Learning
Forums
Self Directed Learning
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments
Group/tutorial participation and contributionOnline tutorial presentation and paper & discussion questions; and Postings to online discussion
Reports
Contact HoursSelf Directed Learning: for 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetables2014 Course Timetables for ENVS6525