Forests and Water

Subject FRST90022 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours lectures and 36 hours practical work delivered in a two-week intensive teaching block. This will include an overnight excursion to the Melbourne water supply catchments.
Total Time Commitment:

100 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Forest hydrology deals with the interaction between forests and the water cycle. Forests strongly influence both the quantity and the quality of surface and groundwater resources. This subject will provide students with knowledge to understand the complex relationship between forests and water, and skills to apply this knowledge to a range of contemporary catchment management issues.

Content includes:

  • Hydrological cycle - components and the inherent randomness and variability
  • Forests - the complex role of forests in the catchment water balance
  • Rainfall and runoff - Role of surface and groundwater flow. Characteristics of short-term and long-term variation.
  • Water quality and its measurement – key issues in forested ecosystems
  • Wildfire - How does fire impact on short and long term stream flow and water quality?
  • Climate change - potential effects of changes in climate on vegetation function and catchment hydrology
  • Modelling of water resources - A brief introduction to spreadsheet and other modelling of water resource issues
  • Ecohydrology - the integrated study of water and vegetation in landscapes. What is the link between hydrology and forest ecology?
  • Salinity- causes and management of salinisation of land and water resources

The subject will draw heavily on Australian examples and involve a field visit to the Melbourne water supply catchments.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have a detailed understanding of the forest hydrologic cycle
  • Have insights into how forest management and growth dynamics, forest disturbance (including wildfire), and climate change can influence the water balance
  • Develop an understanding of forest hydrologic processes in a range of forested landscapes
  • Have an exposure to field experimental methods in forest research


  • In-class exercises (10%)
  • Student presentation (20%)
  • Practical exercises (20%)
  • Major assignment (50%)
Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:
  • Chang, M. (2006) Forest hydrology: an introduction to water and forests. Boca Raton: CRC/Taylor & Francis.
  • Eamus, D., Hatton, T., Cook, P. and Colvin, C. (2006) Ecohydrology: Vegetation function, water and resource Management. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Forest Ecosystem Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Management
Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Conservation and Restoration
Honours Program - Forest Science
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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