The program’s curriculum and strategic research plan address the critical local and regional environmental problem of loss and fragmentation of once extensive rainforests, and examine environmental policies on local and national levels. SFS staff and students, in collaboration with local landholders and stakeholder organizations, focus on enhancing the condition of tropical rainforests and determining how to regenerate and restore the rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands. Students also explore the connection between the cultures and livelihoods of Aboriginal communities and their surrounding environments.
Students learn field research techniques as they collect data on topics as diverse as:
Potential responses of biotic communities to climate change
Habitat use and animal behaviors
Resilience to cyclonic events
Local resident involvement in restoration projects
Cost-effective and ecologically beneficial methods of rainforest restoration
Live in the heart of the rainforest, study ecology and conservation, and explore environmental policies and practices that shape sustainable development in the region
Camp in Chillagoe and explore the Outback’s caves, rock formations, remnant dry rainforests, and eucalypt savanna
Enjoy a multi-day excursion to Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park, home to one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world: hike through lowland rainforests, mangrove forests, and palm forests; traverse the Daintree River, famous for its crocodiles; visit the canopy tower at the Daintree Discovery Centre
Through Directed Research (DR)—as opposed to basic, applied, or independent research—students conduct research on a specific topic that is part of the SFS Center’s long-term strategic research plan, which has been developed in partnership with local community stakeholders and clients.
The course, taught by resident SFS faculty, provides students with the opportunity to apply the scientific process in a mentored field research project that addresses a local environmental issue. Through the DR project, students contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.