KE5010 - Sustainable Rural Land Management

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the factors which affect the success of sustainable rural land management. There are a wide range of subjects which influence the sustainability of rural land management including social factors such as economics and the law, environmental factors such as habitat and species ecology, biodiversity, and aspects of physical geography including soils and drainage. In this module you will learn how these subjects affect the decisions that farmers and other rural land owners make. You will apply this knowledge to develop a management plan for a rural area which is economically sustainable (i.e. will make money), environmentally sustainable (i.e. will not harm species or habitats) and is socially sustainable (i.e. will benefit local people and land users).

Topic covered include:
• What is sustainability and sustainable land management,
• How do physical and ecological factors affect conservation and rural land management.
• How are rural areas changing and what do such changes mean,
• How does the law and planning control rural land uses,
• How can you survey and assess the sustainability of a rural area,
• How do different people (stakeholders) view, value (ecosystem services) and use rural areas,
• How can you plan and implement sustainable rural land management,
• How can you monitor rural sustainability.

You will also learn how to apply the above topics in practice. You will review information about a rural area and advise land owners about the key issues which are affecting the sustainability of their land. You will learn how to develop a five year sustainable land management plan and you will work with a named rural land management organisation on a current project and help them develop practical and sustainable solutions.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, practical case studies, workshops, fieldwork and directed independent learning. Lectures will cover key theories, concepts and tools, these link to practical case study workshops where you will apply these concepts and tools to real world situations. Independent study will be guided and supported by interactive learning resources on the module eLP site.

In Semester 1 the weekly lectures are directly linked to a specific rural area as a case study in sustainable rural land management each week you will apply the different subject and tools to this case study area building week by week your knowledge of the different elements of sustainable land management. In Semester 2 you will work on a real world sustainability issue undertaking a group mini-project for a rural land management organisation.

You will learn and apply a range of practical skills to real world situations through the main case study in Semester 1 and the group mini project in Semester two. You will be introduced to a range of current professional sustainability tools and be required to reflection on how such tools can be used in professional practice.

Formative feedback will be provided in the weekly case study workshops in Semester 1 and via Project group meetings with the module tutor in Semester 2.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will include face to face feedback during the practical workshops and case studies. You will have an opportunity to discuss how you are developing your sustainable land management plan in the workshops and get direct feedback on your ideas. In addition you will meet on a weekly basks with the module tutor when you are undertaking your group mini-project to get advice on the project.

Support will also be provided by the module eLP site. On line resources include interactive reading lists and links to practical examples and case studies.

The first assessment (Assessment 1A: site audit and evaluation) will be self marked by students in class, providing immediate feedback to help advise you on developing a sustainable management plan for this site (assessment1B)

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Evaluate the range of social, environmental and legal issues which affect the sustainability of rural areas and apply such knowledge to sustainable mange rural areas.
• MLO 2: Effectively research a specific rural land management problem and produce justified advice.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 3: Undertake sustainability audit/reviews and use such evidence to develop practical management proposals.
• MLO 4: Undertake professional contract research into aspects of sustainable land management.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Work effectively as an individual and as part of a group to deliver timely high quality advice to rural land owners.

How will I be assessed?

In Semester 1 you will undertake a two part assessment. In Assessment 1A you will undertake a site audit of a rural area. This will involve collecting information about a case study rural area, evaluating this data, identifying the key issues which affect the sustainability of this site and summarising this in a table and short advice note for the site owners (MLO1, MLO3). Assessment 1A is worth 20% of the module marks). Feedback will be provided by in class marking of the assessment. In Assessment 1B you will use the information gathered in Assessment 1A to develop a five year sustainable management plan for this rural site. The management plan will review the potential land use options and suggest a practical way for managing this site. Assessment 1B is worth 30% of the module marks (MLO2, MLO3).

In Semester 2 you will work in small groups (3 or 4 students) undertaking a mini-group project on an aspect of sustainable rural land management. You will work with a real rural land management organisation helping develop practical solutions to a current rural land management problem. Your assessment will take the form of a group report on the mini-project and an individual self-reflection on how the mini-project went and how you could practical improve the project. Assessment 2 is worth 50% of the module marks (MLO2, MLO4, MLO5).





Module abstract

The pressures affecting rural areas in the UK and globally are increasing. There is a need to manage rural areas to produce more food, to protect rare habitats and species and to meet wider needs of society such as space for recreation, disposal of waste etc. Such land uses often conflict and there is an urgent need for a more sustainable holistic approach to managing rural areas.

This is an applied module which looks at the ways in which rural areas can be managed sustainably. As part of his module you will undertake a review of a named rural area you will identify the issues affecting the sustainability of the area and develop a five year practical management plan. You will also work with a real rural land management organisation undertaking a mini-project for the organisation and helping them solve a practical land management problem. Such skills are highly relevant for future employment.

Course info

UCAS Code F751

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

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