ENVSCI 734 : Restoration and Landscape Ecology


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The integration of ecological principles and ecological services at the landscape level for both management and restoration. Topics include: the ecology of fragmented ecosystems such as demography, metapopulation issues, ecological genetics, biota-physical environment interactions, the consequences and techniques for restoration of damaged ecosystems and mitigation of the effects of development. Emphasis will be on sustainable solutions including biophysical, legal, social, cultural and economic considerations. No formal prerequisite but knowledge of ecology at Stage III level will be assumed.

Course Overview

Restoration ecology is the scientific study of repairing degraded, damaged or destroyed ecosystems through human intervention. It is a young discipline and still developing the knowledge to create functioning ecosystems. Restoration is inherently uncertain but despite these uncertainties, ecological restoration is a rapidly growing field that represents a fundamental change in our relationship to the natural world. Restoration draws on several concepts from landscape ecology, and the two disciplines are inextricably linked. For example, restored areas are often relatively small and isolated, which makes them especially sensitive to problems associated with habitat fragmentation, e.g. negative edge effects, small population sizes. Further, restoration activities often seek to improve connectivity among habitat patches in fragmented landscapes by creating or restoring linkages, e.g. corridors or stepping stones. The key objective of ENVSCI 734 is to introduce and familiarize students with advanced concepts in restoration and landscape ecology.

This course will be of interest to students who wish to apply ecological principles to real world problems, and to contribute to the industry of restoration ecology. Some prior knowledge of ecology is assumed. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply the principles of ecological restoration to sites of varying levels of degradation. (Capability 1 and 3)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of of the integral role of ecological restoration in maintaining and expanding functionality of fragmented ecosystems. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Critically evaluate the necessary integration of humans as participants in restoration and landscape management. (Capability 2 and 3)
  4. Describe practical approaches to restoration and the development of restoration plans (Capability 1, 3 and 4)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the stresses faced by natural ecosystems that are now surrounded by human dominated landscapes (Capability 1, 4 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation of a restoration plan 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Report of field exercies 25% Individual Coursework
Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Discussions 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Presentation of a restoration plan
Report of field exercies

Key Topics

Ecological restoration - definitions, importance, passive vs active restoration.
Setting restoration goals and measuring success
Removing threatening processes
Restoring the abiotic environment
Restoring biotic processes
Cultural aspects of restoration
Restoring wetland ecosystems
Fragmentation and its consequences
Novel and hybrid ecosystems

Special Requirements

Includes a weekend-long field trip

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 16 hours of lectures/discussion sessions, 4 hours of tutorials, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials and field trips to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials and field trips will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

A course guide will be provided but there is no required text book.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/06/2021 11:54 p.m.