Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The rapidly growing field of environment and heritage management tackles issues of global significance, the human impact on the environment, the management of valuable heritage and landscapes, and the planning of sustainable cities and regions.

In this unit, students will build on conceptual knowledge gained in earlier units on geography, environment and society by applying geographical and social science perspectives on environmental and heritage management needed in many government and non-government sectors today. Students will examine environmental and cultural values and how they are identified and translated into practice in the protection and management of landscapes, places, natural resources, and ecosystems at local, global and national scales. This unit will focus on developing key skills in analysing environmental and heritage issues from geographical perspectives, and examine how regulatory, policy and strategic planning concepts and frameworks are used to derive evidence-based, ethical, and equitable management outcomes. Through topics such as urban heritage protection, protected area and World Heritage site management, geoheritage and biodiversity conservation, urban landscape heritage, forestry, rural land conservation, Indigenous land and heritage management, students will learn to critically evaluate management approaches and their application in society. Students studying this unit will also gain a more practical understanding of the mechanisms of government at the local state and federal level in Australia in relation to environmental and heritage management.

The aim of this unit is meet the research and professional needs of graduates with an interest in environmental practice and heritage management and increase the theoretical knowledge, research and skills of students that is required to understanding and engage with issues in environmental and heritage management in government and non-government sectors.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify and evaluate the role and relevance of geography and the social sciences to the theory and practice of environmental and heritage management (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Demonstrate knowledge of relevant institutions, legislation, and policies for local, national, and global environmental and heritage management (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Develop understanding of the policy and management tools available to environmental and heritage policy-makers and managers (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Critically analyse geographical, environmental and heritage management concepts, their history and problems, issues and situations and consider evidence-based positions for potential solutions (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO5 - Apply a range of relevant research skills to environmental and heritage management issues and problems (GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • Environmental and heritage management theory and its application in Australia
  • Environmental and heritage management policy and legislation, domestic and international
  • The geography of heritage, and heritage-scapes
  • Heritage management in the digital and online era
  • Geoheritage, geoparks, and landscape conservation
  • Urban and rural landscape conservation and protection
  • Geographic processes, landforms and heritage conservation
  • Heritage tourism and sustainable management
  • Heritage and development: challenges and best practices
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander landscapes and cultural heritage
  • Environmental and Heritage protection: private vs public vs government lands
  • World Heritage sites in Australia and their management
  • Community engagement and citizen science in environment and heritage management

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will use both face-to-face and/or multimedia forms of instruction, and field-based teaching. The in-class lecture component is used to convey new material and offer students the chance to engage and ask questions in person. The tutorial portion of the course is to be used as a resource to offer students the opportunity to put their knowledge learned in lectures to use and gain hands-on experience and learn and practice geographical skills. This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment strategy allows students to engage in a variety of tasks, each aligned to their own learning outcomes.

The first assessment is a series of worksheets that students will complete throughout semester, focused on content from lectures and key readings discussed in tutorials. The worksheets serve to consolidate learning of key content in the unit and to provide students with rapid feedback on their progress in the unit. The second assessment task is a project proposal, where students will describe a project to complete a significance assessment on a landscape of their choice. This assessment allows students the opportunity to undertake initial research and work through a rationale for their choice of a particular landscape, and practice formal presentation skills in front of their peers. In the third assessment, students will draw on a range of research skills developed in previous geography, environment and society units, including field work, to undertake a significance assessment of a landscape of their choice. This assessment allows student to work through the process of significance assessment using relevant state and/or national guidelines and the experience of researching, documenting, and assessing heritage places. Students will need to develop a detailed multidisciplinary understanding of the landscape they choose to investigate in order to assess its significance in the context of similar heritage-listed places.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Project proposal In this task, students will complete a project proposal for the heritage significance assessment project in the unit (Assessment 3) and present this in class


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5

Formative assessment: Students will complete weekly worksheets on content covered in readings, lectures and tutorials with rapid feedback provided.


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessing Landscape Significance: In this assessment, students will apply relevant (industry-standard and/or state/federal) assessment guidelines to completing an assessment on the significance of a landscape of their choice


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Baver, S., 2020. Nature Conservation, Extractivist Conflicts, and Indigenous Rights in the Americas. MIT Press.

Bandarin, F. and Van Oers, R., 2012. The historic urban landscape: managing heritage in an urban century. John Wiley & Sons.

DeSilvey, C., 2017. Curated decay: Heritage beyond saving. U of Minnesota Press.

Di Giovine, M.A., 2008. The heritage-scape: UNESCO, world heritage, and tourism. Lexington Books.

Girault, Y., 2019. UNESCO Global Geoparks: Tension Between Territorial Development and Heritage Enhancement. Wiley-Blackwell.

Graham, B., Ashworth, G. and Tunbridge, J., 2016. A geography of heritage. Routledge.

Harrison, R., 2020. Heritage futures: comparative approaches to natural and cultural heritage practices. UCL press.

Holtorf, C. and Högberg, A. (eds.), 2020. Cultural heritage and the future. Routledge.

Howard, P., Thompson, I., Waterton, E. and Atha, M. (eds.), 2013. The Routledge companion to landscape studies. Routledge.

Lindenmayer, D., Bennett, A. and Hobbs, R. eds., 2010. Temperate woodland conservation and management. CSIRO PUBLISHING.

Lukasiewicz, A., Dovers, S., Graham, S., Robin, L., McKay, J. and Schilizzi, S. eds., 2017. Natural resources and environmental justice: Australian perspectives. CSIRO PUBLISHING.

Meskell, L., 2018. A future in ruins: UNESCO, world heritage, and the dream of peace. Oxford University Press.

Pacelli, V. and Sica, E., 2020. The Economics and Finance of Cultural Heritage: How to Make Tourist Attractions a Regional Economic Resource. Routledge.

Pearson, M. and Sullivan, S., 2013. Looking after heritage places. Melbourne Univ. Publishing.

Robertson, I.J. ed., 2016. Heritage from below. Routledge.

Robinson, C. and Taylor, B., 2009. Contested country: Local and regional natural resources management in Australia. CSIRO Publishing.

Reynard, E. and Brilha, J. (eds.), 2017. Geoheritage: assessment, protection, and management. Elsevier.

Sarkar, D. (Ed.), 2015. An Integrated Approach to Environmental Management. Wiley-Blackwell.

Smith, L. and Waterton, E., 2013. Heritage, communities and archaeology. A&C Black.

Tolia-Kelly, D, Waterton, E & Watson, S (eds.), 2017, Heritage, affect and emotion, Routledge, London.

UNESCO, I. and Icomos, I.U.C.N., 2012. Managing natural world heritage. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, France.

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