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REN8202 Conservation for Sustainable Futures

Semester 2, 2021 Online
Short Description: Conserva'n Sustainable Futures
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 050999 - Environmental Studies not else
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 27 July 2021


Examiner: Andy Le Brocque

Other requisites

Students who have enrolled in or completed REN2200 Ecology for Sustainability cannot enrol in this course.


Sustainable management of the earth's natural resources and the conservation of organisms, habitats and ecosystems require knowledge of biodiversity, ecological systems and processes, conservation principles and the effects of human activities. This course provides knowledge of the fundamentals of ecological theory and practice, and an overview of human impacts on ecological systems and processes.


Ecology and conservation are closely related scientific disciplines that explore the very nature of life in terms of the distribution and abundance of organisms and interactions between organisms and their environment (ecology), and the diversity, scarcity and conservation of species, communities and ecosystems (conservation). This course provides a comprehensive survey of general ecological concepts and principles relevant to the sustainable management of the environment and knowledge on how ecological systems and processes have been impacted upon by human activities. The concept of biodiversity, mechanisms behind speciation and patterns in biodiversity, key threatening processes, and current issues in the conservation of biodiversity are examined. The course also examines concepts of pattern and processes in human-modified landscapes (including land transformation, habitat fragmentation, patch dynamics, conservation corridors and connectivity), implications for conservation and ecologically sustainable development.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. describe ecology as a quantitative science and explain the scientific method and philosophical approach within which it operates;
  2. review the principles and current theories of ecology and apply these to the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and species interactions;
  3. evaluate the nature and dynamics of ecological populations, communities and ecosystems and the impacts of human activities on ecological systems and processes;
  4. critically assess the concept of ecosystem health in the context of human influences on the environment;
  5. integrate knowledge of ecology and conservation into environmental and resource management;
  6. critically analyse ecological information and data to provide informed decision-making in relation to resource management.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Nature of Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation Science 15.00
2. Species, Populations and Biotic Interactions 20.00
3. Communities and Ecosystems 20.00
4. Biodiversity & Conservation 22.00
5. Landscapes, Connectivity and Fragmentation 23.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Krebs, CJ 2015, Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance, 6th International edn, Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Groom, MJ, Meffe GK & Carroll, CR 2005, Principles of Conservation Biology, 3rd edn, Sinauer & Associates Inc, Sunderland, MA.
Krebs, CJ 2008, Ecological World View, CSIRO Publishing, Canberra.
MacKenzie, A, Ball, A, & Virdee, S, 2001, BIOS Instant Notes in Ecology, 2nd edn, Taylor & Francis.
Miller, GT & Spoolman, SE 2019, Living in the Environment, 20th edn, Cengage Learning Inc, Boston, MA.
Molles, M, & Sher, A 2019, Ecology: Concepts and Applications, 8th edn, McGraw-Hill.
Sher, AA & Primack, RB. 2019, An Introduction to Conservation Biology, 2nd edn, Sinauer Associates: Oxford University Press, New York.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assignments 50.00
Examinations 2.00
Online Lectures 26.00
Online Tutorials 26.00
Private Study 63.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 (Journal Review) 100 30 09 Aug 2021 3,4,6 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 (Essay) 100 30 20 Sep 2021 2,3,4,6 (see note 2)
OPEN EXAMINATION - ONLINE 120 40 End S2 1,2,3,4,5,6 (see note 3)

  1. Assignment must be submitted via the online submission system on the Course Studydesk.
  2. Assignment must be submitted via the online submission system on the Course Studydesk.
  3. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assignments satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assignment. To complete the examination satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the examination.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    An Online Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed, written, or online material as well as a calculator.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must submit the assignment to USQ via the electronic submission on the course studydesk. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the submission date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  2. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete-Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  3. Students must use the assignment template (.doc document) provided on the course studydesk for electronic submission of assignments. The templates include an assignment cover page and marking criteria and must be submitted in a Microsoft Office Word compatible format.

  4. In accordance with Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences and USQ regulations, applications for extensions to assignment due dates must be made in writing to the Examiner before the due date. Applications must be accompanied by appropriate supporting information.

Date printed 27 July 2021