Nature Park Management I

Course CodeBEN120
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Distance Learning Course - Countryside Park Management

  • Learn Horticultural and Park Management skills
  • Learn about the natural environment, ecology, animals and plants
  • Work in a zoo, wildlife park, national park or other type of nature park

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Nature Park Management
    • role and scope of nature parks
    • importance of indigenous vegetation in nature parks.
  2. Basic Ecology
    • the environment
    • plants and animals
    • ecosystem concepts.
  3. Soil Management in Nature Parks
    • soil characteristics and problems
    • earthworks.
  4. Plant Maintenance
    • basic gardening techniques
    • natural gardening
    • plant selection
    • succession planting
    • equipment.
  5. Design of Nature/Wilderness Parks I
    • collecting site information
    • preparing concept plans.
  6. Design of Nature/Wilderness Parks II
    • drawing the final plan
    • construction estimates
    • designing animal enclosures.
  7. Weed Management
    • characteristics of weeds
    • weed control
    • environmental weeds.
  8. Pest and Disease Management
    • management strategies
    • chemical safety.
  9. Culture of Indigenous Plants
    • techniques for establishing vegetation
    • planting design.
  10. Tree Management
    • role of trees in nature parks
    • tree maintenance plans
    • pruning
    • tree surgery.
  11. Turf Care
    • turf varieties in nature parks
    • lawn preparation
    • establishment
    • turf maintenance.
  12. Rehabilitation
    • aims and strategies
    • soil problems and solutions in degraded sites.

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 importance of the interrelationships between various components of a natural environment within an ecosystem.
  • Develop management strategies for soils within a natural ecosystem.
  • Develop management strategies for plant maintenance practices, in nature parks.
  • Design a nature park, or a section within a nature park.
  • Develop management strategies for the control of weed problems in a nature park.
  • Develop management strategies for the rehabilitation of degraded sites in a nature park.

What You Will Do

  • Differentiate between different categories or types of nature parks.
  • Determine different living components of a specific ecosystem, studied by you.
  • Determine non-living components of a specific ecosystem, studied by you.
  • Prepare a labelled diagram to illustrate the interrelationships between at least fifteen different components of an ecosystem.
  • Explain the possible impact of removing two different specified organisms from a specified ecosystem.
  • Explain the potential impact of adding non indigenous organisms, to a specified ecosystem.
  • Explain how different soil characteristics can impact upon an ecosystem.
  • Describe the physical characteristics of at least three different soils, which are of significant to the stability of their ecosystems.
  • Assess aspects of soil dynamics on a site, including:
    • Topography
    • Soil life
    • Susceptibility to degradation
    • Sunlight (canopy penetration).
  • Compare the likely implications of using three different types of fertilisers, including:
    • Benefit to plants
    • Method of use
    • Environmental impact.
  • Explain the use of different soil conditioners including:
    • pH modifiers
    • Ameliorants
    • Organic matter.
  • Determine the plant maintenance requirements of a specific nature park visited and assessed by you.
  • Develop guidelines for the care of new plantations in a nature park visited by you.
  • Compare the suitability of three different types of grass cutting equipment, for mowing a specific park.
  • Compare the likely environmental impact of different types of pesticides used on a specific site.
  • Determine the significance to plant populations, of containment of different outpus, on a specified site, including:
    • water runoff
    • chemical spray drift
    • effluent
    • pollutants.
  • Prepare a plant collection of sixty plants.
  • Determine categories of landscape developments which are carried out in different types of nature parks, including:
    • Wildlife Reserves
    • Zoos
    • Sanctuaries
    • National Parks
    • Forest Reserves
    • Vegetation corridors.
  • Evaluate the designs of two different sections, of different nature parks, against given criteria.
  • Collect pre-planning information for the development of a site, within a nature park.
  • Prepare two concept plans for a nature park development, including:
    • existing features
    • clear labelling
    • legend
    • scale
    • north indicator.
  • Compare features of two nature park concept plans.
  • Plan the construction of a landscape development within a nature park, including:
    • materials lists (types and quantities of materials)
    • plan of proposed landscape development
    • list of manpower and equipment requirements
    • a work schedule.
  • Estimate the cost of construction in accordance with a specified landscape plan.
  • Estimate the cost of maintaining a specified section of a park, for a three month period.
  • Explain the impact of weeds on two natural environments in the your locality, using examples.
  • Prepare a weed collection, of twenty different weeds.
  • Describe two different weed problems, in two different nature parks.
  • Explain five different weed seed dispersal mechanisms, for weed species collected.
  • Compare alternative control methods for a specified weed problem.
  • Select appropriate control methods for ten different specified weed problems.
  • Develop guidelines for weed control, in a nature park inspected by you.
  • Develop a management plan to reinstate indigenous flora on a specific site.
  • Explain the causes of three specified types of site degradation.
  • Describe different techniques for controlling site degradation.
  • Describe different techniques for repairing site degradation.
  • Describe degraded sites at different natural areas, you inspect.
  • Prepare construction details for work to be undertaken in the rehabilitation of a degraded site you inspect.
  • Develop a management plan for a degraded site, in a natural area you visit.

Tips for Revegetation

There are many degraded natural and man-made environments in both developed and under developed countries, in both rural and urban areas.

As an environment degrades, the living plants and animals within them are faced with a depletion of resources; in effect, a different set of resources to live with. They must either adapt, or their populations change (or, in the extreme, disappear). Such changes in populations will in turn result in a further degradation and impact upon the stability of other aspects of the environment. In essence, everything is interlinked and inter dependant.

If the influence of man is withdrawn from any environment, given time, nature will usually return to some sort of balance. The mix of species may vary from what existed originally, but the environment would stabilise.

The question therefore arises whether it is preferable for man to attempt to create or fabricate an environment, or alternatively allow a degraded landscape to rehabilitate itself (ie. largely let nature do the job).

There are various concerns:

a/ The Conservation Ethic - Is it more ethical to let nature take its course, or to take  control over nature? The traditional way of Western civilisation has been to take control but many today would consider it more ethical to work more with nature rather than in spite of it.

b/ Aesthetics - Some say we cannot let nature go uncontrolled because of aesthetic consequences. For others who see greater beauty in nature, it is more aesthetic to let nature take its own course. In essence, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

c/ Practicalities - Degradation may have reached a point where human interference become essential if for no other reason, for public welfare. It may be impractical to leave an eroded roadside to the forces of nature, as the result may be a serious accident.

d/ Level of interference - Some say that access/use of an area by people must be controlled (reduced or limited) to a carefully determined level, to ensure a recovery/rehabilitation occurs.

e/ Cost - Continued degradation may result in long-term costs through reduced productivity or usefulness of both the site concerned and other sites which the degradation could eventually effect.

Fabricated landscapes are attractive and will almost certainly continue to exist. They are however expensive to maintain. A more cost effective way is to work with nature, rather than against it; managing land to maintain or re-establish self-sustaining natural systems.

All living organisms require a minimum amount of space to maintain a stable population. As such, size is critical in any attempt to sustain or rehabilitate a natural landscape. If the area is not big enough, some of the animals or plants within that ecosystem will disappear in due course.

An individual plant may only need a small area to survive but for generation after generation to survive, a greater area must be populated so that there are always other plants which can repopulate when one plant dies through old age, or from damage by animals, fire or some other natural event.

It is unlikely that you can develop a truly natural environment in any small area. It may be an environment fabricated to appear natural; but it won't really be natural.

A LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY APPROACH

This is based on the belief that a natural landscape is too complex to be able to be drawn on a plan by a designer. It considers the natural landscape as "dynamic", continually changing. It may be considered that humans are part of that natural system; but their actions should be tempered and rationalised with respect to all other components.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS COURSE?

  • Helps you gain the knowledge needed to start off in this industry
  • Builds a foundation for further study into this subject (Nature Park 11)

 

HOW TO ENROL

 

 

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