• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Forestry, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Resource Management and Environmental Science, Human Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Philip Gibbons
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

An ability to read and understand the landscape is a necessary skill for all land managers. How do soils develop and how does vegetation evolve? How do we describe soils and vegetation? How does soil affect vegetation and vice versa? What does the soil and vegetation tell us about the history of a site? We explore these issues in a series of lectures and field trips spanning the Great Dividing Range to the coast.
Themes covered in this course include:
• methods that are used to describe soils and vegetation;
• the soil formation process and the biogeography of vegetation in Australia;
• factors that influence the floristics and structure of vegetation communities including Aboriginal burning regimes and post-European impacts;
• relationships and interdependencies between soils and vegetation; and
• modern techniques for mapping vegetation communities based on these relationships.
This is a hands-on course with a substantial practical component. Concepts presented in lectures are reinforced through a coordinated set of field exercises in Canberra Nature Parks, Namadgi National Park, the ANU Kioloa field station and the Murramarang National Park. In their major project, students explore relationships between soils and vegetation using their own data collected at sites spanning the Great Dividing Range to the coast.

Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the Course Convener, students taking this option will be expected to complete additional readings and use advanced analytical techniques (under supervision) for their assignments.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Describe the classification of major Australian soils and vegetation types, their geographical occurrence and explain factors controlling their distribution at a range of scales
2. Apply eucalypt taxonomy and explain the reproductive biology and growth habits of eucalypts
3. Explain and compare plant adaptations to Australian environmental conditions
4. Describe and analyse patterning and processes in vegetation types and landscapes and synthesise the results to explain biogeography
5. Analyse and compare models of succession describing vegetation and soil response to natural and anthropogenic disturbances
6. Critically assess information sources, synthesise an evidenced based argument and communicate findings to audiences in appropriate ways.

Indicative Assessment

  • Short reports of field practicals (40%; LO 1,2,3,4,6,)
  • Kioloa field trip report (30%; LO 1,2,3,4,)
  • Final open book exam (30%: LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


65 contact hours, comprising lectures, tutorials and fieldwork

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 48 units towards a degree. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed or are enrolled in ENVS2016, SRES2019, ENVS2019, ENVS6023, ENVS6206, SRES6019, ENVS6019, or SRES6006.

Prescribed Texts

Students doing this course are strongly encouraged to purchase Costermans, L. 2006. Trees of Victoria and Adjoining Areas. Costermans Publishing ($18) OR  the more comprehensive Costermans, L. 2009. Native Trees and Shrubs of South-Eastern Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood ($45).




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2387 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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