Trees for Rehabilitation BHT205

Learn to Control Land Degradation by Choosing and Using the Right Trees, in an Appropriate Way

Trees can stop erosion, feed and protect other plants (and animals); and when you understand what you are doing; turn an unstable environment into a sustainable and productive ecosystem.


ACS student comment: "I definitely learned a lot from [the course) but it was also beneficial in affirming [and raising my confidence] in what I already knew." Katrina Merrifield, Masters Conservation Science - NZ, Trees for Rehabilitation course.

This course is designed for people who want to work in environmental rehabilitation. While studying this course you will develop an understanding of environmental systems and the process of rehabilitating degraded sites.


There are ten lessons are as follows...

1. Approaches To Land Rehabilitation

2. Ecology Of Soils And Plant Health

3. Introduction To Seed Propagation Techniques

4. Propagation And Nursery Stock.

5. Dealing With Chemical Problems

6. Physical Plant Effects On Degraded Sites

7. Plant Establishment Programs

8. Hostile Environments

9. Plant Establishment Care

10. Rehabilitating Degraded Sites


  • Compare different approaches to land rehabilitation, to determine strengths and weaknesses of alternative options on a site to be rehabilitated.
  • Determine techniques to maximise plant development in land rehabilitation situations.
  • Explain the different ways of producing seedling trees for land rehabilitation purposes.
  • Determine appropriate plant establishment programs.
  • Develop procedures to care for plants, during establishment in an hostile environment.
  • Manage the rehabilitation of degraded soil.
  • Explain the effect of plants on improving a degraded site, both physically and chemically.


Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

-Determine different examples of land degradation on sites.

-Explain different reasons for land requiring rehabilitation, including: * Salination * Erosion * Mining * Grazing * Vegetation harvesting * Pests * Reduction of biodiversity * Soil contamination * Urbanisation.

-Compare the effectiveness of different policy approaches to land rehabilitation by different agencies and organisation, including: * Different levels of government * Mining companies * Developers * Conservation groups (i.e. tree planting bodies, land care groups).

-Develop a risk analysis for a specified site to be rehabilitated, by determining a variety of plant health problems which may impact on the success of plant establishment.

-Analyse the failure of plants to grow successfully on a visited land rehabilitation site.

-Develop a procedure to enhance the success rate of land rehabilitation plantings on a degraded site.

-Describe the use of mulches, to maximise plant condition in a specified land rehabilitation tree planting project.

-Explain different processes of establishing seedlings on land rehabilitation sites, including: *tubestock nursery production *direct seeding *pre-germinated bare rooted seedlings.

-Determine factors which affect the viability of establishing five different species of plant seedlings, from different plant families; on a specific degraded site.

-Compare the benefits of acquiring plants for a project by buying tube stock, with propagating and growing on, or close to, the planting site, with reference to: *costs *plant quality *local suitability *management.

-Prepare production schedules for a plant species, using different propagation techniques, summarising all important tasks from collection of seed to planting out of the tube stock.

-Calculate the cost of production for a tube stock plant, according to the production schedule.

-Estimate the differences in per plant establishment costs, for tube stock, compared with direct seeding methods, for planting on a degraded site.

-Describe different methods of planting trees for rehabilitation purposes.

-Describe different plant establishment techniques, including: *wind protection *frost protection *pest control *water management *weed management.

-Describe an appropriate method for preparing soil for planting, at a proposed rehabilitation site.

-Evaluate plant establishment techniques used by two different land rehabilitation programs inspected by you at least twelve months after planting was carried out.

-Determine the needs of plants after planting, on different proposed land rehabilitation sites.

-Describe different ways to cater to the needs of large numbers of plants after planting.

-Collect pressed specimens or photographs of trees for a herbarium of suitable trees for rehabilitation, and including information on the culture and care of each tree.

-Describe different types of soil degradation.

-Determine the risk factors involved in soil degradation.

-Compare different alternative methods of treating several different soil degradation problems.

-Develop an assessment form to use for evaluating the sensitivity of a site to land degradation.

-Evaluate a site showing signs of degradation, selected by you, using the assessment form you  developed.

-Plan a rehabilitation program for the degraded site you evaluated, including *a two year schedule of work to be completed; *list of quantity and type of materials required; *approximate cost estimates.

-Explain the effect different plant species may have resisting soil degradation.

-Explain how different plants can have different impacts upon the chemistry of their environment, including both air and soil.

-Evaluate the significance of a group of plants, to the nature of the microclimate in which you find them growing.

-Compare the appropriateness of twenty different plant species for different degraded sites.

-Determine five plant varieties, suited to each of different degradation situations.



The significance of caring for the environment has been receiving more and more attention in recent times, as we have come to understand the importance of limited resources, and the effects of human activities (ie. agriculture, industry, recreation) on the environment. The desertification, erosion and general degradation of once fertile lands has prompted us to investigate why and how these processes have occurred. It has also led to increased research into how they can be stopped and/or reversed.

Natural forests are among the most stable and productive ecosystems. We need to plant and conserve forests for their conservation value, to help maintain healthy air, soil and water and for their potential to provide food, forage, fuel and timber.

Among one of the most significant reasons for land degradation is the practice of clearing trees from the land, predominantly to provide grazing for cattle and sheep and areas for cropping. Agriculture is an important primary industry, which is largely responsible for feeding world populations, and as a result, economic prosperity for many nations. It has taken the very real threat of reduced yields, and such things as reduction in water quality, to provide the impetus for major land rehabilitation initiatives. Trees are seen as an integral part of a healthy environment, and it is for that reason that tree planting operations (to rehabilitate degraded land as well as prevent further damage) are being actively encouraged, by government, industry and community organisations.


The importance of trees to land management cannot be overstated. Often in the past they have been seen as competing for valuable land space and felled indiscriminately. Over clearing of trees can lead to salinity problems and numerous forms of erosion and land slips. As we have become more familiar with their vital role in ecological processes, retention and selective planting of trees has been widely acknowledged, in improving farm viability and ultimately production.



  • Keep your skills up to date. You can do this by undertaking further studies or attending professional development workshops.
  • Keep current with what's happening in the field of  Site Rehabilitation. What are the most pressing issues and where is there likely to be more work?
  • Join a networking group to meet people who are working in the field.  
  • Get some experience. Whether paid or unpaid, experience will always make your CV look more impressive and give you some practical knowledge to apply in your interview.


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Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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