Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPhysical Geography
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Simon Connor


Previously coded GES3555


This unit introduces a range of methods used to reconstruct past environments at different temporal scales over the past several hundred to thousands of years. These reconstructions provide baseline data to understand and infer the human contribution to several key environmental concerns, including climate change, biomass burning, biodiversity and vegetation dynamics, water availability and quality, and the management and restoration of natural, Indigenous and historical landscapes. Emphasis is placed on hands-on, technical experience to provide fundamental understanding of environmental issues of current relevance to Australia. The unit involves a required 2-3 day field excursion that may be held in O-week or early in the semester (the unit coordinator will advise students of specific dates in January or February).


Upon completion of this subject, you should be able to demonstrate

  1. familiarity with a range of palaeo-environmetal techniques employed to understand environmental change and current environmental issues, together with an ability to assess their relative merits and limitations;
  2. practical expertise in palaeoecological methods and their application to palaeo-environmental reconstruction, geo-archaeology, and environmental change;
  3. an awareness of patterns and uncertainties in environmental change that both facilitate and constrain future environmental prediction and land and water management options;
  4. familiarity with the dynamics of Australian physical and human landscapes;
  5. an ability to produce a scientific report based on a range of generated data and their analysis;
  6. an ability to make informed and rational appraisals of key environmental problems, especially in Australia.


Essay (3000 words): 50%
Field and laboratory report (1500 words): 30% +
Class participation/reading log: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture per week; One 3 hour practical per fortnight; one 2-3 day field excursion

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Minor sequence in Geography or Indigenous Archaeology or Botany or Zoology or Earth Science, or permission of Head of School