ESC3791 - Environmental change: Past to future - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


Dr Vanessa Wong

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


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).


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

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


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

One two-hour lecture per week + One three-hour practical per fortnight + one two-three day field excursion

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


ATS2780 or 24 points in Geography, climate and physical environments or permission from unit coordinator