The Forest Science major will provide you with a detailed understanding of forest systems including forest productivity and ecosystem services. You will be able to integrate knowledge of forest ecology to address the impacts of climate change on forest systems and the ecosystem goods and services they provide. We’ll prepare you for employment in a land management-related career or for further studies in related coursework masters programs.


Pursue a career in landscape management positions in government or the private sector, forest and environmental management, land-care and wildlife conservation or forest carbon investment and accounting.


Subjects you could take in this major

  • The subject describes and evaluates the applications of ecological concepts for the conservation and management of natural and man-made ecosystems. In particular, it identifies the implications of global and local changes for ecological communities and habitats, especially within the Australian environment. It examines approaches to management of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including the role of genetics, the effects of habitat fragmentation; the control of pest species, and restoration of damaged habitats

  • This subject deals with how plants function in relation to changing physical environments and is designed for students interested in plant biology and physiology, including those seeking majors in plant science, agricultural science, landscape management, and environmental science. The practical work includes a six-week research project on topics selected by students and run in small groups of 2-3.

    Topics to be covered will include:

    • coping with environmental extremes and stress;
    • water use and drought tolerance;
    • plant defence and plant-animal interactions;
    • nutrient cycling and nutrient-use efficiency;
    • hyperaccumulation of toxic metals and phytoremediation.
  • The subject includes an outline of the framework for applying the concepts of risk assessment to achieve management goals. Students will learn how to perform fundamental exposure, hazard and ecological risk assessment procedures. The subject content includes the psychology and history of risk perception, exposure pathways, models for environmental toxicology, Australian standards for risk assessment, response surfaces, indicator species and exemplars, test endpoints, assessment endpoints and management goals, extrapolations among taxa, interval arithmetic, empirical modelling, parameter estimation, and risk assessment.

  • This subject is structured around the fieldwork excursion in early February and covers the basic skills that are required to undertake a field-based botanical activity such as a flora survey or an environmental impact assessment, or to proceed to research in a field-based botanical discipline. Topics to be covered include:

    • taxonomy of the Australian flora;

    • field identification of major families and genera of plants;

    • collection and preservation of plant specimens; mounting and cataloguing specimens; curatorial skills; nomenclature;

    • techniques for description and classification of vegetation; structural types, floristic associations, measures of abundance (cover, density, basal area, biomass), sampling techniques (quadrats, line transects, plotless methods), sampling scale and species-area relationships, profile diagrams, life-form spectra;

    • soils; and

    • vegetation mapping.

  • At a global scale forests are managed by societies in a wide range of ways for goods and services that reflect the needs of people and their aspirations for the environment. Forests are viewed and valued by society in many different ways, often in competition with each other, adding significant challenges to those that are entrusted to manage them. Forest Systems explores the complexity of managing the forests of Australia and around the world through case studies and real world scenarios that will help students develop a strong appreciation of the challenges and opportunities presented to those looking after forests and the stakeholders who value them. Starting with gaining an understanding of what a forest is, how it is valued and by whom, as well as how it grows, the complexity of its management is explored through the themes of water, fire, carbon, biodiversity, conservation, recreation and climate change. Field trips to explore first hand challenges faced by forest managers as well as interviews with industry partners will bring a real life context to the learning and build problem solving and decision making skills through practice. Field investigations culminate in two day overnight excursion to the Creswick campus where students will work on a major project exploring a local forest issue and make recommendations on how to proceed.

  • This subject provides a detailed knowledge of vegetation structure and natural values of Victorian plant communities and their assessment, including environmental limiting factors, threats due to land use, development and fragmentation, and management issues related to environmental impact assessment and conservation of native vegetation. The subject will be based around short excursions to examine different vegetation types in the Melbourne region, and a series of special lectures by scientists, managers and consultants from both the government and private sectors. Topics will include:

    • ecology and natural history of Victorian plant communities;

    • environmental impacts and vegetation assessment;

    • conservation and management issues (e.g. revegetation, rare species, faunal habitat, weed invasions);

    • biodiversity legislation and government agencies;

    • consulting services and client focus.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the

Bachelor of Science&Bachelor of Science Extended