Fire in Australian Ecosystems (ENSY3002)


This unit of study is intended to describe fundamental scientific knowledge relating to fire behaviour and ecological and social effects of bushfire in Australian ecosystems. The student will gain a greater understanding of how fire has shaped the landscape and the people. It is an elective unit that builds on basic knowledge gained in junior-level biology and chemistry and intermediate-level plant biology and soil science subjects. Firstly, fire behaviour including the elements of weather, fuel and landscape will be explained and examined in relation to predictive modelling and climate change. Secondly, the fire response of flora, fauna, fungi and microorganisms will be described at a range of different scales and analysed against a background of current land management practices in Australia. Social aspects of bushfire will be discussed and analysed according to contemporary policies and practices. At the end of this unit, students will be able to apply fire behaviour and ecological principles for planning purposes and to integrate scientific information from a range of sources to assess fire impacts on the environment and human communities. The students will gain research, literacy and communication skills through field-based data collection, essay and report writing and oral presentations.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2x1hr lectures, 1x3hr practical/wk


1x 2h exam (40%), 1x 2000-2500w essay (20%), 3x practical reports (40%)


A reading list will be provided consisting of selected book chapters, journal articles and other publications

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


AGEN2005 or BIOL2023 or BIOL2923

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.