Applied Plant Ecology

Module summary

Module code: BOTA1017
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Jeremy Haggar


Pre and co requisites

Ecosystem Ecology


Develop understanding of the ecological interactions and processes in plant communities and how this applies to their management for agriculture and conservation.
The course aims to develop understanding in:
• Plant resource use, complementarity and competition for resources between plants and its application to management of forest and herbaceous communities and the productivity of agricultural systems.
• Plant population dynamics and niche differentiation between plants and how these determine the biodiversity of different plant communities.
• Effects of abiotic and biotic disturbance (e..g fire or grazing) on plant dynamics and vegetation structure and its importance in the conservation of high value conservation habitats.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1 Discuss critically and evaluate resource use by plants and how it affects plant community structure;
2 Measure and analyse data on plant population dynamics;
3 Critically discuss and explain the interactions between plant species;
4 Evaluate the processes that influence the diversity of plant communities ;
5 Understand the ecological factors that influence the biodiversity and conservation value of different habitats.

Indicative content

• Plant resource use, competition and complementarity.
• Management of plant resource use for sustainable production – Land Equivalent Ratios.
• Plant population dynamics and conceptual models of niche differentiation.
• Evaluation of plant population dynamics in high value conservation habitats.
• Abiotic and biotic disturbance of plant communities and its effects on vegetation structure and plant dynamics.
• Ecosystem management of protected areas and sustainable land-use.

Teaching and learning activity

Material will be delivered in lectures, supplemented by field practicals and computer-based sessions and discussions. Students will be expected to give a short presentation during the course based on the field practicals.


Essay - 40%
LO - 1 -5
Numeric grading
Pass mark - 40%
2000 words
Essay on plant conservation.

Exam - 60%
LO - 1-5
Numeric grading
Pass mark - 40%
3 hour long answer exam.

All elements of summative assessment must be passed to pass the course.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Group exercises are conducted during classes to ensure students have understood concepts
Group field practicals are undertaken during field courses to develop understanding and skills of scientific field methods and data analysis, from which students will give presentations.