The subject field site: Cradle Mountain over Dove Lake, Tasmania, Australia
PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: FIND DETAILED SUBJECT OUTLINE HERE
ALSO A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE IS HERE
Fire is one of the most important controls over the distribution of vegetation on Earth. This subject examines the role of fire in natural systems, with a particular emphasis on the importance of fire in determining global vegetation patterns and dynamics over long periods of time.
The aim of this subject is to understand how terrestrial systems have evolved to cope with and exploit fire, and to place the extreme flammability Australia’s vegetation within a global context. The subject will examine concepts such as resilience, positive feedback loops, hysteresis and alternative stable states. The use of fire by humans to manipulate environments will be examined, with a particular emphasis on the variety of approaches employed by people across a diversity of environments over long periods of time, allowing an exploration of the social and cultural dynamics of fire and environmental management. A mid-semester field excursion in Tasmania will visit a number of sites which will exemplify the subject themes.
The practical exercises leading up to the field trip will focus on how to gather fire-related ecological data. The practical exercises following the field trip will be devoted to processing, analysing, interpreting and reporting on the field data. At the end of the subject, students will have gained an understanding of the way in which fire has shaped natural systems, as well as acquiring the skills necessary to formulate and test hypotheses.
**2014 – Student Evaluation Survey Responses (grading out of 5)**
Overall, this subject has been intellectually stimulating 4.6/5
Overall, this subject has been well-taught 4.6/5
I have learnt new ideas, approaches and/or skills 4.8/5
I have learnt to apply knowledge to practice 4.9/5
I have been part of a group committed to learning 4.5/5
“The field work was engaging and a key part of the learning for the subject, and the content covered, especially by the guest lecturers from different fields, was interesting and meshed well with the practical side.”
“The field trip was good as it provided an opportunity to put theory into practice. The lectures and guest lectures were also quite stimulating. The quizzes were also good, as they provided incentive to do the readings, and gave an indication of the key factors to take away from each reading.”
“Michael’s enthusiasm in teaching this subject was really refreshing and inspiring. Previously, I had always not enjoyed the natural sciences and had found them difficult – Michael however helped us learn at our own pace, both in learning the theory and then applying it to real scenarios.”
More photos of the 2014 GEOG30025 Field Trip.