University of Technology Sydney

91371 Forest and Mountain Ecology

6cp; face-to-face block mode, 13-day field excursion to northern NSW in July, with assessment tasks several weeks before, during and after the excursion; it is a requirement that students attend the scheduled orientation meeting (date and location found via the online UTS Timetable Planner) before attending the excursion; availability: enrolment is restricted by the availability of space in vehicles; preference is given to third-year environmental science students
Requisite(s): 91110 Experimental Design and Sampling AND 91154 Ecology
Recommended studies: a thorough knowledge of basic ecology


For anyone intending to work in environmental science, whether in an office or in the field, understanding the landscape and how it is shaped by climate and geological history is vital. This kind of understanding is most successfully gained by experiencing the environment first hand.

This is an excursion-based subject run by the School of the Environment at UTS. Its focus is a 13-day field trip (the 'Great Northern' excursion) to the northern New South Wales forests and northwestern woodlands following a chain of hotspot volcanoes along the Great Dividing Range. This field trip alternates on a three-year rotation with 91163 Alpine and Lowland Ecology (the 'Great Southern') and 91370 Semi-arid Ecology (the 'Great Western').

The Great Dividing Range is Australia's most distinctive topographical feature, running from the northernmost to southernmost points of the eastern edge of the continent. The range is the source of major ecological gradients longitudinally (along the range) and latitudinally (across the range). The field trip follows along the range from Sydney to southern Queensland, before crossing west over the range. The curriculum framework is the ecological change associated with these two gradients along and across the range. The core content focuses on the climatic and geological drivers of ecological processes characteristic of different regions along the chain of mountains formed by hotspot volcanoes. When following this mountain chain, students learn about the many different forest types, along with their associated fauna and aquatic systems, and observe how these change as we progress from cooler temperate to sub-tropical rainforests to dry rainforests to open woodland systems. Students experience first hand the environmental processes along these two gradients, where rainfall, or lack thereof, and soil properties are key to shaping species diversity and distribution.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus
The mode of this subject is excursion-based.

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.