The UNSW River Basin Ecosystem Management (BIOS6723) course is an intensive, 10-day field course focused on the management of one of the world’s most spectacular ecosystems – the Okavango Delta World Heritage site in Botswana. In partnership with Kings College London and Arizona State University (our PLuS Alliance partners) and Botswana University, this course explores practical concepts of river basin ecosystem conservation, management and governance. Our lecturers delve into the geopolitical constraints, opportunities and considerations shaping the Delta’s river system management, which involves three countries: Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a biodiversity hotspot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has an extensive wetland system with diverse waterbird populations, vegetation communities, large predators, and the greatest population of elephants in Africa. During the field trip to Botswana, you’ll learn more about the sustainability of biological and abiotic processes within the context of human drivers of development and ecosystem services delivered by the river.
Throughout the River Basin Ecosystem Management course, you’ll gain skills in field methods and ecosystem-scale landscape analyses and their application to human/wildlife interactions. You’ll also contribute to long-term data collection for the management of the river basin. Upon completion of this course, you’ll have experience in tackling a global challenge in a developing country.
Undergraduate - Second Year
This course teaches applied practical skills required in river basin management and how to apply knowledge to practical challenges. During the course, you’ll conduct field-based tasks of indicator species and develop a river basin ecological monitoring plan.
The course aims to:
Note: the fieldwork component of this course is held during week 5 of Term 2.
This course involves compulsory fieldwork in Botswana, at the expense of individual students. The field trip runs during the week 5 study break of Term 2. Due to limited course capacity, preference is given to high-performing students in relevant programs or majors. Before enrolling in this course, it’s assumed you have the following knowledge:
The total cost of the fieldwork portion of the trip is $1800*, which includes your return flight from Maun into the Okavango Delta ($440) and food, accommodation, equipment and transport ($1360).
Please note: your tuition costs for the corresponding enrolment in this unit at UNSW are not covered under the Field Work Costs and are additional to any cost associated with this opportunity.
*Costs are subject to change
You’ll need to organise and pay for your own return trip from Sydney to Maun (Botswana) through Johannesburg (South Africa). We estimate the return trip expense will be approximately $2500-$3000.
To apply for the River Basin Ecosystem Management course, follow the below four steps.
Environmental science analyses and provides solutions to current environmental challenges, including ecosystem conservation, waste management, climate change and pollution. To protect the planet, environmental scientists study, develop and advise on future policies. These policies can be embedded within Government legislation to ensure the survival of flora, fauna and other natural resources.
At UNSW Science, you can take the River Basin Ecosystem Management course or study the Bachelor of Environmental Management.
“On the boat, we realised the great biodiversity of the region. I found the hippo paths, which are used by elephants and buffalo as an extraordinary relationship between organisms and the environment in the ecosystem.”
- Alex Ingall, River Basin Ecosystem Management course graduate.