Forests and Water

Subject FRST90022 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

September, Creswick - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 22-Aug-2016
Teaching Period 05-Sep-2016 to 16-Sep-2016
Assessment Period End 28-Oct-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 24-Aug-2016
Census Date 09-Sep-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 07-Oct-2016

Please note that this subject has a pre-teaching period and during this time students will be required to watch and understand 3 pre-recorded lectures that will cover fundamental/basic hydrologic principles. It will also be required that students prepare by reading the 4 references listed in the pre-course information. Note there will be a short assessed quiz on the first day relating to the pre-recorded lectures.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
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:

170 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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

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. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Patrick Lane, Dr Gary Sheridan


Assoc Prof Patrick Lane

Dr Gary Sheridan

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
  • Evapotranspiration processes – the fundamental biophysical processes of forest water use and loss, and how this varies as a function of forest type and climatic setting
  • 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?
  • Global forests - Hydrologic functioning of contrasting forest types under varying climatic conditions

The subject will include a 2 day field trip and practical work in Victoria’s forested 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%) daily during Lectures
  • Student presentation (20%) due second Thursday of intensive subject
  • Practical exercises (20%) during the Intensive subject
  • Major assignment (50%) due 5 weeks after the intensive subject end date
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.
  • Bren L. (2015). Forest Hydrology and Catchment Management: an Australian Perspective. Springer.
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 Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management
Master of Forest Ecosystem Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Conservation and Restoration
Conservation and Restoration
Honours Program - Forest Science
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Master of Science (Ecosystem Science) - Discipline Elective subjects
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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