AP3AE75-Wildlife and Farming

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Simon Mortimer

Email: s.r.mortimer@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of the interrelationship of farming practice and the abundance and distribution of wildlife in the countryside. Sessions will focus on the history of the relationship between wildlife and farming, the population and community ecology of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates in agricultural ecosystems, management to promote biodiversity in farmland, and the role of biodiversity in delivering ecosystem services. Consideration will be given to means of modifying farming practice in order to encourage wildlife on the farm, including appraisal of recent policy mechanisms.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
•Define how changing farming practices have influenced wildlife populations since the introduction of agriculture and in particular over the last century
•Critically analyse arable and grassland farming systems to identify the impact of components of the system on wildlife populations
•Critically discuss the role of wildlife in delivering important ecosystem services in agricultural systems
•Formulate strategies allowing wildlife to co-exist with farming
•Describe the policies which influence wildlife on farmland and understand the roles of the organisations involved in agri-environmental work in the UK

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
This module is designed to give detailed consideration to wildlife conservation within farming systems. Aspects of farming activities deleterious to wildlife are identified, as are the important functional roles wildlife play in agricultural ecosystems. Means of modifying farming practice to alleviate pressures on wildlife on farms are considered. The course will be of interest to students of ecology, zoology and biology as well as agriculture.
The lecture content covers:
- Changes in farming practice, and associated changes in wildlife populations through history
- Effects of arable cropping practices on wildlife
- Effects of grassland management practices on wildlife
- Modifications to farming practices to assist in conservation of farmland wildlife, including plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals
- The role of wildlife in delivering ecosystem services (pest control, pollination and soil fertility
- Policies and farming systems to assist in wildlife conservation, including agri-environment schemes and farming systems (organic, IFM)
- Farmer attitudes and government policy to wildlife conservation on farms
- Roles of the organisations involved in agri-environmental work in the UK

The practical content covers:
- Study visit to a farm in the Environmental Stewardship Scheme
- Coursework involving an exercise to identify the wildlife associated with a case study farm and devise a management plan using Environmental Stewardship options in order to conserve and enhance the features identified.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be a two-hour lecture or seminar (with a short break in the middle) each week. The course will include a study visit to a farm in the Environmental Stewardship scheme. In groups, students will produce a wildlife management plan for an area of farmland after interviews with a hypothetical farmer and Natural England project officer. Groups will report back to the farmer and project officer in the form of a small group meeting and individuals will submit written reports.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Project Supervision 2
External visits 4
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 40
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination paper requiring the answers to two questions from five.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By Re-examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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