Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Is there a balancing point between benefiting from the earth’s natural resources while conserving them for the sake of future generations, and the sake of nature itself?

In this course you will learn traditional and emerging ecological principles and management techniques for terrestrial and aquatic systems. You will be challenged to simultaneously consider dual and contradictory characteristics of our complex natural systems and apply new ways of thinking to traditional Natural Resource Management (NRM) themes of water, wildlife, forests and coasts.

This online course is built around engaging and innovative content, lively class discussion and practical assessments.



  • Trimester 3 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Evaluate current and emerging ecological principals commonly used within natural resource management;

2. Solve problems through the use of the Complex Adaptive System framework;

3. Construct compelling arguments and communicate them in engaging ways;

4. Critique the ever-changing and controversial policies and players that relate to our natural resources;

5. Apply new ways of thinking to traditional NRM topics including water, soil, forest, wildlife and coastal management, as well as emerging issues of climate change, pollution and land use.


Topics will include:

  • Evaluating traditional ecological principles and management practices in natural resource management
  • Designing ways of addressing complex NRM problems through new ways of thinking including Complex Adaptive Systems, Resilience, triggers and thresholds and panarchy.
  • Applying these ideas to Australian specific natural resource management issues of soil, water, wildlife, forest and coastal ecology
  • Proposing and testing ways we can mitigate (reduce) and adapt (prepare) for the impacts of climate change on our NRM systems

Assumed knowledge

Basic understanding of environmental management and sustainability concepts

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Primary Research Paper Critiques

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study Analysis

Online Learning Activity: Group Discussion

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 5 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 5 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.