Skip to Content

Environmental Change - ENVS340

This unit requires you to piece together lines of evidence to reconstruct the climatic and environmental changes over the last 2.6 million years. This period saw dramatic changes as the environment swung in and out of huge glacials, where large sections of the planet were covered in ice, to interglacials, where the climate recovered and the environment flourished. We will use different lines of evidence such as cave and fluvial sediment, tree rings, pollen, ice cores, marine cores and landforms as proxies to reconstruct past environments, to establish a benchmark for environmental change and to define the normal range of variability. We can then use this benchmark as a context for present day changes to predict how the environment will change in the future and how landscapes, vegetation, fauna and humans will respond. This understanding is then related to evidence of environmental change seen in the local Australian landscape, and investigated during field excursions, including a week-long field trip during the mid-semester break. Case studies include: rapid environmental change in Indonesia; reconstructing the last glacial maximum in NSW; how environmental change in Africa and Asia shaped the evolution of early humans; human-environmental interactions in Australia such as the mega fauna debate; and how forest fires and deforestation have affected our present day climate.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S1 Day - Session 1, North Ryde, Day (On-campus dates: Compulsory field trip)

Staff Contact(s): Dr Kira Westaway, Dr Paul Hesse

(39cp at 100 level or above) including (ENVS214(Cr) or ENVS266 or ENVE214(Cr) or ENVE266 or GEOS214(Cr) or GEOS266Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): ENVE337, ENVE340, GEOS399
Unit Designation(s):


Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
Need help? Ask us.