Module Identifier RS34910  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Graham Harris  
Semester Semester 1  
Assessment Assignment     50%  
  Exam   2 Hours   50%  

Syllabus / Curriculum design

Introduction to the agroecosystem and UK agricultural systems (intensive, extensive, low-input, ecological agriculture).
Biodiversity, energy flows and nutrient flows in agroecosystems.
Soil ecology and the impact of agricultural practices on soils.
Impact of monoculture on crop plant genetic resources and microbial and naimal populations.
Impact of field management on biodiversity and farm wildlife.
Concept of habitat fragmentisation and metapopulations.
Management of grasslands for increasing biodiversity.   
Agriculture and farmland birds.
Effects of agricultural policy on farm ecosystems.

Visits to IGER and local farms will provide students with an awareness of the practical applications of farm habitat management and impacts of agricultural systems on biodiversity.

Aims of the module

This module aims to analyse the effects of a range of farming practices and systems on the natural flora, fauna and microbial activity of UK farm habitats. The impact of agricultural practices, and potential for farm habitat management on the diversity and abundance of living organisms will be assessed.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

i.   identify the range of habitats within UK agricultural systems;

ii.   understand the impact of agricultural practices on the natural flora, fauna and microbial activity of farm habitats;

iii.   critically assess and evaluate the methods available to enhance the nature conservation value of farming habitats.

Reading Lists

Newman E I. (1993) Applied ecology. Blackwell Science
Andrews J and Rebane M. (1994) Farming and wildlife.. RSPB
Sutherland W and Hill D A (Eds). (1995) Managing habitats for conservation. CUP
Park J R. (1988) Environmental management in agriculture: European perspectives. Belhaven
Boatman N (Ed). (1994) Field margins: integrating agriculture and conservation. BCPC
Pankhurst C et al. (1997) Biological indicators of soil health. CABI
Parker D M. (1995) Habitat creation - a critical guide. English Nature
(1996) Sustainable use of soil. Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. HMSO