Ecosystem Management - IEST5008

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Humanities and Languages

Course Outline: School of Humanities & Languages

Campus: Sydney

Career: Postgraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 37

Excluded: BIOS3671, BIOS6671

CSS Contribution Charge: 2 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


What do environmental (or natural resource) managers “manage”? This 6-day full time intensive course introduces students to the inter-disciplinary nature of natural resource management in the context of the Blue Mountains protected conservation area. Natural resource management is complex, based on significant uncertainty, and presents a wide range of challenges. The challenge of managing dynamic ecosystems with ongoing biodiversity change is addressed, along with balancing the ever-changing economic, political and socio-cultural demands. At the site level, as students will see firsthand in the Blue Mountains, active management of threats is important for conservation goals to be met. Students go into the field for three days with professionals from government management agencies and with local ecologists, to confront on-ground management challenges such as fire, introduced species and continuation of Aboriginal cultural practices.

The course is delivered through a combination of field immersion and lectures. Topics include biodiversity conservation and management of threats and drivers of ecosystem change such as fire, climate change and introduced species; balancing stakeholder interests and values; Aboriginal co-management; public engagement; knowledge generation, uptake and use; tourism and development impacts.

These topics are explored using an interdisciplinary problem orientation framework and social process mapping. Students will explore the social processes of what is taking place in managing the environment, to unearth and work with the multitude of understandings, opinions, differences, tensions, assumptions and contexts that emerge, and this exploration helps to clarify our purpose as environmental managers. This way of working develops awareness and self-reflection, and enhances the understanding of our patterns of thought that shape our behaviours, defaults, and our values and beliefs. The goal is to engage with and understand our differences so that we can bring about more effective decision processes. The course is therefore suitable for anyone interested in developing their skills in problem solving and analysis, especially with problematic issues in complex situations. No prior knowledge of ecosystems science or management is required. We target the Blue Mountains protected conservation area as a “case study” that is facing a host of challenges in our rapidly changing world. Students are required to participate in bush walking and a level of fitness is required.
UNSW Campus

Study Levels

UNSW Quick Links