BSc Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Landscape Ecology

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN20062
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course frames these debates within the context of two themes:

  • Theory and techniques: this part of the course unit introduces key concepts in landscape ecology and demonstrate why they are important for contemporary approaches to land planning and management as well as developing IT and practical surveying skills (e.g. NVC) in analysing the structure, function and dynamics of landscapes.
  • Policy and practice: this part of the course unit will introduce the key developments in international and UK policy that impact and implement landscape ecology principles and will demonstrate how landscape-scale planning and management is applied in practice.

Contemporary research and the experience of practitioners are used to introduce a wide range of topics exploring the issues and solutions in contemporary landscape ecology.



1.         To introduce key concepts in landscape ecology;

2.         To recognise recent developments in the application of landscape ecology principles in planning and conservation policy;

3.         To experience landscape planning and management in practice;

4.         To understand the importance of wildlife and conservation management at the landscape scale;

5.         To develop practical skills and techniques for analysing and surveying the ecology of landscapes, e.g. mapping and analysis in GIS and field skills such as NVC.






What is landscape ecology?


Key theories for studying landscape ecology


Understanding key concepts in landscape ecology: composition, structure and heterogeneity


Understanding key concepts in landscape ecology: fragmentation and connectivity


Field visit


Landscape = nature + people: social connectivity and multifunctional landscapes


The dynamic landscape: change and resilience


Study week


Landscape and contemporary policy


Using landscape to inform decision making – Landscape Character Assessment


Opportunities and challenges of urban landscape ecology


The future for landscape ecology


Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, workshops, site visits and student directed learning via online media (Blackboard) and recommended reading.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in landscape ecology and apply them to real-world situations
  • Recognise policy instruments that can impact upon and/or implement landscape ecology principles
  • Appreciate the opportunities and challenges of undertaking landscape-scale projects in practice

Intellectual skills

  • Learn how to apply theoretical concepts in real world situations
  • Prepare a report analysing primary and secondary data to generate competent and evidenced recommendations
  • Apply the knowledge acquired in a short answer exam

Practical skills

  • Analyse landscape structure, function and change within GIS
  • Demonstrate advanced field skills, e.g. NVC
  • Design and implement range of surveying techniques

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Write professional reports
  • Work effectively in groups
  • Design and implement field surveys for data gathering

Assessment methods





1.    Report

2,500 words


Feedback is provided via TurnItIn within 15 working days of submission

2.    Exam

2 hours


Marks are provided within 15 working days of assessment and further verbal feedback is available on request


Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided through formal feedback for assessed work and through verbal feedback during the workshop sessions each week as well as through Blackboard.

Recommended reading

  • Burel, F and Baudry, J. (2003) Landscape Ecology: Concepts, Methods and Applications. Science Publishers, Plymouth.

    Forman, R.T.T. (1995) Land Mosaics: The ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

      Selman, P. (2012) Sustainable Landscape Planning: The Reconnection Agenda. Routledge, London.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 16
Lectures 18
Practical classes & workshops 14
Independent study hours
Independent study 152

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anna Gilchrist Unit coordinator

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