Nature Park Management II

Course CodeBEN204
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

This course is a natural progression from Nature Park Management I, but can be taken in its own right. It concentrates more on plants and using them to create natural, balanced ecosystems. Also learn to create nature trails, build rockeries and pathways, construct ponds and watercourses, design picnic grounds and animal enclosures, market a nature park, and lots more.

What Does a Nature Park Manager Do?

  • Preservation of natural habitats
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Wildlife management
  • Control of feral pests
  • Management of natural hazards
  • Visitor management

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Natural Environments -preserving natural environments; plant associations and environment rehabilitation
  2. Recreation and the Environment -impact of recreation on natural environments
  3. Wildlife Management in Nature Parks -impact of park visitors on wildlife; managing wildlife
  4. Visitor Amenities in Nature Parks -design; provision of visitor amenities including picnic areas and campgrounds; management of facilities
  5. Park Interpretation -interpretative facilities including signs and education programs
  6. Trail Design and Construction -designing access routes in parks; designing and constructing walking tracks
  7. Water Areas -conserving and managing natural water bodies in nature park; impact of humans on water areas
  8. Marketing Nature Parks -strategies used to promote nature parks
  9. Risk Management I -identifying, minimising and managing natural hazards; safety issues
  10. Risk Management II -preparing a risk management plan.

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.

Aims

  • Explain the role of nature parks in preserving natural environments.
  • Explain the role of nature parks as a recreation resource.
  • Explain the issues of managing wildlife in nature parks.
  • Explain the design of visitor amenities in nature parks and their impact on the environment.
  • Explain the role interpretative facilities in nature parks.
  • Explain the design and construction of trails within nature parks.
  • Explain the importance and management of natural water areas in nature parks
  • Explain the importance of effective marketing in promoting nature parks.
  • Explain safety issues and hazard management in nature parks.
  • Explain the use of risk management plans in nature parks.

Strategies for Tackling Soil Degradation

One of the key ways of restoring soils is through the addition of organic matter and its break down into humus. The organic component of a soil contains living organisms such as earthworms, protozoa, fungi, arthropods, bacteria and algae. Organic matter contains both living and dead plant and animal material. Humus is organic matter which has reached the final stage of decomposition. It is relatively stable and takes a long time to form. Organic matter and humus:

    However, supplies of organic matter may not always be easily or cheaply sourced.

    Soils with good structure are created through a combination of chemical, physical and biological processes. We can all see the result of a farmer’s work: crops grow on the soil surface and produce harvestable yields which the farmer removes and sells.  Underneath those crops though, (and if the soil is healthy), there are literally millions of organisms, some invisible to the naked eye, plus worms, other insects, bacteria and fungi - that are busily decomposing organic matter and converting nutrients from unavailable forms to forms that can be up-taken and used by plants, for growth and the production of flowers, fruit and seed. These many organisms, all interact within a very complex environment, to contribute to the health of our soils.

    Worms and other insects also aerate (till) the soil, help to build up soil structure and texture and can help to control pest insects.  
    Once the soil biology becomes more complex and diverse, it is then not dependent on a limited range of soil organisms to maintain soil health and fertility. With diversity the structure and health of the soil improves, making it more resilient also improving its output.

    If you improve soils to encourage more soil biological life:

      However, there are still many unknown factors that affect the positive aspects of adding biodiversity and organic matter.  For example, what is the residence time of the organic material or organic carbon in the soil?  Is it degraded quickly or slowly?  How do we manage this and increase residence time? The release of nutrients should be manipulated to coincide with when they are needed by plants (coupling).  If not, they could potentially be lost in runoff or leached into groundwater (losses from the pedosphere). There is still more to be discovered about this coupling and how we can manage it to improve soil fertility.  There have been big strides in understanding soil biodiversity and how this affects cycling of carbon and nutrients in soil, but more remains to be learnt about this.

      Recycled organics to improve soil quality

      Organic waste is the component of the waste stream from plant or animal sources that is readily biodegradable. Examples include paper and cardboard, food waste, biosolids, green waste and timber. It forms a significant proportion of waste generated worldwide, and an even more significant portion of waste sent to landfill. Degradation of organic material in landfill can generate the potent greenhouse gas methane, and also produces potentially polluting leachate which can move into the groundwater or even runoff to waterways. So trying to recycle the waste into something useful makes sense.

      There is increased recycling now in many countries and some waste that previously ended up in land fill is being separated out at source and recycled to produce organic composts, mulches, biosolids and biochar.   

      Biosolids are derived from wastewater sludge (water and organic materials) that are a by-product of sewage treatment processes. Most wastewater comes from households (kitchens, laundries and bathrooms) but biosolids can also derive from business or industrial premises. Biosolids usually contain major nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur and micronutrients, such as copper, zinc, iron, boron, molybdenum and manganese.

      Biosolids may however contain some potentially toxic materials such as synthetic organic compounds and metals, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel and selenium. These contaminants limit the extent to which biosolids can be used, with biosolid applications usually regulated by governments  in many countries.

      Biochars are solid materials obtained from heating organic materials in an oxygen-limited environment. Biochar is sometimes described as black carbon that is produced intentionally for carbon management (to slow down climate change) or agricultural/environmental management applications (e.g. improving soil properties and crop yields).  Biochar can be used for a range of applications as an agent for soil improvement, improved resource use efficiency, remediation and/or protection against particular environmental pollution and as an avenue for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Biochars, like biosolids, may also potentially toxic materials such as heavy metals.

      For every tonne of mixed food and garden waste that is recycled rather than disposed of to landfill, this avoids the emission of 0.25 to 0.33 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (mainly methane). Farmers in many countries are also using agricultural organic waste (e.g. manures, biosolids from feedlots, straw, crop cuttings) in a more sustainable way. For example, crop residues are left in place on the soil surface instead of being cleared, burnt or ploughed under.

      The key benefits of applying recycled organics are:

        There must still be careful consideration of the suitability of the recycled waste to be applied soil. For example, does the waste contain an imbalance of nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus  or potentially toxic compounds? Are the wastes clean enough for “unrestricted use”?  Is the food produced from the land applied with recycled waste—safe to eat? Many countries therefore have policies/guidelines in place to ensure that the waste is suitable.

         

         

         

        WHAT YOU LEARN FROM THIS COURSE:

        To gain a foothold in this profession.
        What Does a Nature Park Manager Do?

        •     Preservation of natural habitats
        •     Land rehabilitation
        •     Wildlife management
        •     Control of feral pests
        •     Management of natural hazards
        •     Visitor management

         

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