In the 21st century the population of the world will increase both in size and its expectation in terms of food, energy and consumer demands. Against this demand we have a planet in crisis where natural resources are degraded, biodiversity is diminishing and planetary cycles related to climate are reaching points of irreversible change. Management of our precious natural resources is a balancing act between production and conservation as always, but now we have to do this against a background of potential large scale changes in climate. In this unit students will gain an understanding of the key environmental challenges of the 21st century; namely food security, climate change, water security, biodiversity protection, ecosystems services and soil security. In the second half, using Australian case studies, we will explore how we manage different agro-ecosystems within their physical constraints around water, climate and soil, while considering linkages with the global environmental challenges. Management now, in the past and the future will be considered, with an emphasis on food production. This unit is recommended unit for students interested in gaining a broad overview of the environmental challenges of the 21st century, both globally and within Australia.
Two lectures per week, 2-hour computer lab per week, two-day weekend field trip
2-hour exam (50%), field trip report (15%), group work presentation (20%), GIS reports (15%)