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Learn about Land Management in Natural Areas
The Certificate in Horticulture (nature park management) is a vocationally oriented and IARC accredited course comprising both studies in both general horticulture and in nature park management.
Certificate in Horticulture involves the areas of work:
(Click on modules titles for more details):
The core studies are comprised of 6 units which are covered in 15 lessons, all of which must be successfully completed in order to move on to the stream studies. The core units account for approximately 350 hours in duration, or half of the overall course time. The following gives a more detailed outline for each of the units;
1. Introduction to plants
The purpose of this study area is to explain the binomial system of plant classification and demonstrate identification of plant species through the ability of using botanical descriptions for leaf shapes and flowers.
2. Plant culture
The purpose of this study area is to demonstrate the ability to care for plants so as to maintain optimum growth and health while considering pruning, planting, and irrigation.
3. Soils and plant nutrition
The purpose of this study area is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to identify, work with, and improve the soil condition and potting mixes, and to evaluate fertilisers for use in landscape jobs to maximize plant growth.
4. Introductory propagation
The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's understanding of propagation techniques with particular emphasis on cuttings and seeds. Other industry techniques such as grafting and budding are also explained.
5. Identification and use of Plants
The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's range of plant knowledge and the plant use in landscaping and the ornamental garden, and the appreciation of the different optimum and preferred growing conditions for different plants.
6. Pests, diseases and weeds
The purpose of this study area is develop the student’s ability to identify, describe and control a variety of pests, diseases and weeds in ornamental situation, and to describe safety procedures when using agricultural chemicals.
Duration: Approximately 600 - 700 hrs. To be completed as your situation permits
Accredited through International Accreditation & Recognition Council
Why Do we need to manage Natural Areas?
Landscapes and their associated plant and animal life are a result of responses to millions of years of naturally occurring disturbances (eg. fire, flood, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate changes, sea level changes). Living communities have survived and developed because they have the ability to adapt and perpetuate themselves in a constantly changing environment.
The first thing to understand about natural environments is that they are constantly changing. The manager of a nature park is the manager of change.
A nature park manager should not expect, or attempt to stop natural changes, but he should exercise control over "unnatural influences" which could cause change faster than what the natural environment can adapt to.
Human interference can accelerate change in an environment causing such things as:
Natural ecosystems embody all living and non-living components in a specified district, garden, niche, etc. The more natural the garden or park, the closer it would be to a natural ecosystem. As multiple functions are important, the plants and design should provide food for humans and other biological organisms in the area. Shelter is also important for the nesting of many birds and animals.
A natural ecosystem will provide a diversity of plants and animals; provide a continual succession of plant and animal population; will recycle energy within the parameters of the ecosystem; efficiently utilises resources; provides multiple functions and elements; and demonstrates the principles of relative location.
Tropical forests are being destroyed at an ever increasing rate. The estimates of the losses vary, but at least one half of the tropical forests of the world have already been lost. If the trend continues, the remaining tropical forests will disappear within the next three decades. This is an incalculable loss, because these forests provide habitat for an estimated half of the plant and animal species of the world. In addition, these forests provide water and fuel for a large portion of the world’s population. They also have a large influence on the local and global climatic systems. Such forests are also potentially a treasure house full of previously unknown chemicals, foods, pharmaceuticals, spices and more.
Most of the deforestation is caused by commercial logging, land clearance for agriculture, ranching and fuel. Solutions to these problems include:
Not surprisingly there is a long list of possible environmental consequences from mining. Some of these include erosion, groundwater contamination by heavy metals, habitat destruction, sinkhole creation and acid mine drainage.
Acid mine drainage occurs where outflowing water from a metal or coal mine is highly acidic, although this can be a naturally occurring process, it is characteristic of large scale disturbances.
Exhaustion of non-renewable resources
The primary consideration here is the exhaustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago through the decomposition of animal and plant material over time it formed layer upon layer under the ground, which solidified and formed a hard, black colored rock like substance known as coal. Through mining these non-renewable resources coal is processed into oil or petroleum, which forms a large part of the Australian economy through export to other countries. There is a limited supply of coal in underground reserves and is therefore considered to be non-renewable, once it is all gone, there is no more. The solution to this problem lies in the better use of the alternative fuel supplies, by increasing the efficiency of combustion, or by using alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar power and biofuels such as ethanol.
Destructive fishing methods may lead to habitat loss. Examples of this include cyanide fishing where sodium cyanide is used to kill and capture fish, the sodium cyanide damages coral, spawn and younger fish. Dynamite fishing where explosives are used to kill or stun schools of fish, this style of fishing frequently kills the coral reef supporting the fish population as well. The combination of these two can lead to large breakdown of coral reef ecosystems. Bottom trawling involves dragging a net along either the very bottom of the ocean or just above the bottom. Bottom trawling can lead to mass destruction of entire sea floor environments. Further effects include resuspension of sediment from the sea floor. This has the effect of reducing light levels leading affecting kelp growth. Additionally such sediments are often ‘sinks’ for pollutants such as DDT, effectively resuspention is allowing such pollution back into the food chain. Destruction of the seafloor environments also reduces the ability of fish populations to restore themselves due to habitat loss.
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