Forest Ecosystems

Subject FRST90015 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

February, Creswick - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 26-Jan-2015
Teaching Period 09-Feb-2015 to 20-Feb-2015
Assessment Period End 12-Apr-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 28-Jan-2015
Census Date 13-Feb-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 20-Mar-2015

Please note that this subject has a pre-teaching period. During this time students will be required to read the following:

  • Chapters from Attiwill P. M. & Wilson B. (editors), Ecology: An Australian Perspective. 2nd Edition. 2006:
    • Chapter 11: Carbon Flow, Energy Transformations, and Productivity
    • Chapter 33: Forests
  • Australia‚Äôs State of the Forests Report 2013, Executive summary (

The subject involves several field trips including an overnight field trip from the Creswick Campus.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours of lectures and discussions, 36 hours field work and practical exercises, delivered in a two-week intensive teaching block
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

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

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. This course requires all students to enrol in subjects where they must actively and safely contribute to field excursions and laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and Disability Liaison students email:


Dr Christopher Weston, Dr Luba Volkova


Graduate School of Science


Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)


Dr Chris Weston

Dr Luba Volkova

Subject Overview:

An introduction to the forests and woodlands of southeastern Australia based on lectures and field visits to forests across a broad rainfall gradient. The subject aims to provide a sound theoretical and practical understanding of the major ecosystem processes in forests, including a focus on regeneration and recovery following both low- and high-intensity fire. Field visits to mallee, box-ironbark, Eucalyptus open forests and cool temperate rainforest and associated practical work will ensure that students obtain direct experience of a range of forest ecosystems. These field visits and associated lectures develop knowledge of state-of-the-art methods to analyse ecosystem processes, such as nutrient and carbon cycling, and also a functional appreciation of forest soils.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the subject students should:

  • Understand the ecosystem paradigm including energy flow, organic and inorganic transformation processes in forests
  • Have a broad understanding of relationships among vegetation types, climate and soils within forest ecosystems of south-eastern Australia
  • Understand the relevance of forests and forest soils in the global carbon cycle and the amelioration of global climate change
  • Have gained practical experience in the quantitative analysis of forest biomass, decomposition and respiration processes involved in nutrient and carbon cycling within forests, and between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere
  • Be capable of critically evaluating management impacts on forest ecosystem processes maintaining water, air and soil quality.

Progress exercises, 40% (1500 words), due March 2. Progress exercises are based on field trips and revision of lectures and fieldwork discussion.

Major assignment, 60% (3500 words), due April 11.

Prescribed Texts:

Costermans, L. Native Trees and Shrubs of South-Eastern Australia


Costermans, L. Trees of Victoria and Adjoining Areas

Recommended Texts:

Attiwill P.M & Adams M.A, (editors) Nutrition of Eucalypts

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): Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management
Graduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Graduate Diploma in Forest Systems Management
Master of Forest Ecosystem Science
Master of Urban Horticulture
Postgraduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management
Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Honours Program - Forest Science
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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