Conservation and Environmental Management

Course CodeBEN201
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
By understanding the environment, and the forces that sustain it in a stable condition; we are better able to manage the micro and macro environments in which we live.
 
 
This course explores all of this, helping you to make more informed choices about how to better conserve the resources we have, and manage the environment without causing deterioration of those resources.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. An Introduction To Ecology
    • Spaceship Earth
    • Conservation; Use of Resources, ecological value, economic value, genetic diversity
    • Overkill
    • Urbanisation
    • Basic Ecology
    • The Ecosystem
    • Constituents for the Ecosystem
    • Ecological Concepts
    • The Web of Life; climate, producers, consumers, decomposers The Food Web
    • Habitat and Niche
    • Humans in the Environment
    • Energy Flow
    • Imbalances
    • The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
    • Climate Change
    • El Nino
    • International Efforts to Counter Climate Change; IPCC, UNFCC, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Summit, Worldwatch Institute, etc
    • Terminology
  2. A Perspective On Environmental Problems
    • History of Conservation
    • Natural Resources; Renewable, Non Renewable
    • Goals of Conservation
    • History from Industrial Revolution to WWII
    • WW2 and Post War Period
    • International Conservation
    • Deforestation
    • Loss of Agricultural Land
    • Loss of Biodiversity Endagered Water Supplies
    • Exhaustion of Non Renewable Resources
    • Political and Economic Issues of Conservation
    • Environmental Damage in Free Economies
    • Pollution in Planned Economies Supply of Resources
    • Limits to Growth
  3. Pollution and Industry Effects On The Environment
    • Nature and Scope of Pollution
    • Industrial Pollution
    • Types of Pollutants
    • Effects of Pollution
    • Nuclear Pollution
    • Sick Building Syndrome
    • Asbestos Fibre
    • Urbanisation
    • Energy Alternatives
    • Deforestation
    • Nuclear Energy, Hydro Power, Solar Energy, Wind, Waste Power
  4. Water and Soil
    • Introduction
    • Dams
    • River Catchments
    • Wetlands
    • Water Pollution
    • Recycling
    • Desalination
    • Water Environments
    • The Hydrological Cycle; Infiltration, Rainfall, Evaporation, Effective Rainfall, etc
    • Water and Plant Growth
    • Keeping Water Clean
    • Sewerage Treatment
    • Soil; pH, texture, structure
    • Land and Soil Degradation;
    • Loss of soil fertility
    • Erosion
    • Salinity
    • Soil compaction
    • Soil acidification
    • Build up of dangerous chemicals
  5. Vegetation Conservation and Management
    • Value of Trees
    • Commercial Value of Trees
    • Rainforests
    • Forest Systems and Biomass
    • Forest Conservation
    • Trees and the Environment
    • Environmental consequences of Deforestation
    • Afforestation
    • Classification of Forests
    • Desertification
    • Acid Rain
    • Environmental Weeds
    • Strategies for Preservation of Native Grasslands
  6. Animal Conservation & Management
    • The Human Animal
    • Urbanisation
    • Wildlife
    • Threatened Species
    • Invasive Species
    • Wildlife Management; approaches, preservation, conservation, goals
    • Wildlife Habitats
    • Water Management for Wildlife
    • Wildlife Surveys
  7. Marine Conservation and Management
    • Estuaries
    • Fisheries; stock management, assessment, biomass, stock management methods
    • Conservation of Sandy Shores
  8. The Future
    • Tourism and the Environment
    • Ecotourism
    • Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)
    • Framework for ESD

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


If you were to view the planet earth from afar, you could hold up your hand and cover the Earth with your thumbnail. This goes to show the insignificance of the earth in the vastness of the universe. Although planet Earth is only a microcosm in the universe, it is a large spaceship to the inhabitants, and everyone on Earth is a crewmember. As with all spaceships, the environment is bounded (enclosed) and the resources limited, in fact the whole system is a closed cycle.
 
 
The law of conservation of energy states that the total amount of energy within an isolated system can neither be created nor destroyed (i.e. it remains constant over time). However, this does not mean that energy cannot change its form. It is therefore the responsibility of each member of the spaceship earth to direct these energy changes towards sustaining life and not towards its destruction.
 
How Did we Arrive at Today's Problems? 
 
Over the decades since the end of World War 11 has been a prolonged period of uninterrupted prosperity in most of the western industrial societies. While there have been several depressions, their impact fades when compared with the industrial economic collapses from earlier in the century. However, the rising gross national product of many nations has not prevented social and economic ills almost as debilitating as major depressions. These problems include:
  • The problems of minority groups
  • The degradation of the environment
  • The deterioration of the towns and cities
  • The rising costs of health care, education and the arts
 
Even if the growing abundance of many economies has not caused all these problems, it has obviously not succeeded in diminishing them. Equating the rising standard of living with the good life has been too easy - it is only recently that there have been doubts on the association between a high living standard and a good life. It is the purpose of this course to show that Mankind can have both. However, such a happy outcome cannot occur by itself. On the contrary, if the economy continues on its present course, it will ensure that the production of even more consumer goods are offered to a society where filth, noise and other forms of pollution will increase and public services will continue to deteriorate.
 
 
However, to change this outcome or course of events, society must be willing to undertake the required corrective measures. This is not to say that a clean environment and the range of services essential to a good society come free of charge. However, high levels of environmental quality and public services are consistent with relatively modest sacrifices in private consumption. They do not require the halting of all economic growth, or the dismantling of the world's industrial system. What is required is the design and enactment of a proper set of policies to provide direct incentives to consumers, government agencies and businesses to protect, rather than abuse, the environment.
 
 
The term quality of life is commonly used, and although this term eludes a precise definition, it refers to more than the state of the natural environment. Besides the cleanliness of the air and water that humans and animals use, and the quality of the fields and forests, the quality of life in highly urbanised societies depends on a large range of amenities. For instance, urban sprawl, decaying neighbourhoods and frustrating congestion, is as important to the quality of life as the degradation of beautiful canyons or the extinction of animal species.
 
 
 

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