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Qualification -Associate Diploma in Environmental Management

Course CodeVEN006
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma

This environmental management diploma will put you ahead of the rest!

Sustaining natural resources and environments is of utmost importance. Environmental Management is a booming industry as business operations in many different industries are being forced to consider their impacts on the environment. As an Environmental manager you will be involved in planning and implementing strategies to reduce human impact on the environment, and manage environmental issues.
Sounds like you?
This course covers theory, as well as practical applications of a wide diversity of environmental topics. This flexible course allows you to choose electives so you can specialise in areas that most interest you.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification -Associate Diploma in Environmental Management.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Botany I - Plant Physiology And Taxonomy BSC104
 Ecotour Management BTR101
 Introduction To Ecology BEN101
 Research Project I BGN102
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Conservation & Environmental Management BEN201
 Environmental Waste Management BEN202
 Project Management BBS201
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 22 modules.
 Freelance Writing BWR102
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Ornithology BEN102
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Event Management BRE209
 Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction & Health) BSS200
 Landscaping II BHT214
 Landscaping Styles (Landscaping III) BHT235
 Marine Studies II BEN203
 Natural Garden Design BHT215
 Nature Park Management II BEN207
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Advanced Permaculture BHT301
 Adventure Tourism BTR302
 Ecotourism Tour Guide Course BTR301
 Environmental Chemistry BSC306
 Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
 Organic Agriculture and Farming BAG305

Note that each module in the Qualification -Associate Diploma in Environmental Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


There are a number of major environmental problems in the world today.  Below is a brief description of some of the more important problems – this list, however is not comprehensive.  Unfortunately, there are many other environmental problems that you can read about daily.

Resource Depletion

Tropical forests are being destroyed at an ever increasing rate. The estimates of the losses vary, but at least one half of the tropical forests of the world have already been lost. If the trend continues, the remaining tropical forests will disappear within the next three decades. This is an incalculable loss, because these forests provide habitat for an estimated half of the plant and animal species of the world. In addition, these forests provide water and fuel for a large portion of the world’s population. They also have a large influence on the local and global climatic systems. Such forests are also potentially a treasure house full of previously unknown chemicals, foods, pharmaceuticals, spices and more.

Most of the deforestation is caused by commercial logging, land clearance for agriculture, ranching and fuel. Solutions to these problems include:

• The development of alternative wood supplies for fuel and timber, achieved by planting and maintaining timber and fuel wood plantations.
• Developing alternative energy sources for cooking and heating to replace wood used as fuel (e.g. solar).
• The regulation of logging.
• A consensus on the value of forest conservation over commercial development.
• More efficient use of harvested wood products.

As with tropical forests, temperate zone forests are also under threat, although in some areas such forests have actually increased in extent. Acid rain is the greatest threat to these forests in the Northern Hemisphere. This is caused by acidic pollution from factories mixing with water vapour in the atmosphere and falling to the ground as rain. The conifer forest regions of Europe and North America are the currently most severely affected by acid rain.

Agriculture – Loss of agricultural land, overgrazing, irrigation
Because of excessive increases in the world’s human population, coupled with the construction of buildings and roads, the land available for food production is steadily decreasing. In much of the remaining land topsoil is lost by erosion and production decreased due to increasing salinisation problems. Due to erosion, large scale agriculture can result in severe and unsustainable rates of soil loss. Overgrazing and the collection of firewood can cause land to become arid, eventually resulting in the spread of deserts and semi-deserts.

The problem is particularly severe in developing countries, where difficulties are caused by unsound and ineffective agricultural policies.  These policies are often the result of a lack of available funds and a necessity to feed an increasing population.  The United Nations estimates that if the present rate of loss continues, by the year 2000 approximately one-third of the arable land around the world will have become non-productive.

Not surprisingly there is a long list of possible environmental consequences from mining.  Some of these include erosion, groundwater contamination by heavy metals, habitat destruction, sinkhole creation and acid mine drainage.

Acid mine drainage occurs where outflowing water from a metal or coal mine is highly acidic, although this can be a naturally occurring process, it is characteristic of large scale disturbances.

Exhaustion of non-renewable resources
The primary consideration here is the exhaustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago through the decomposition of animal and plant material over time it formed layer upon layer under the ground, which solidified and formed a hard, black colored rock like substance known as coal. Through mining these non-renewable resources coal is processed into oil or petroleum, which forms a large part of the Australian economy through export to other countries. There is a limited supply of coal in underground reserves and is therefore considered to be non-renewable, once it is all gone, there is no more. The solution to this problem lies in the better use of the alternative fuel supplies, by increasing the efficiency of combustion, or by using alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar power and biofuels such as ethanol.

Destructive fishing methods may lead to habitat loss.  Examples of this include cyanide fishing where sodium cyanide is used to kill and capture fish, the sodium cyanide damages coral, spawn and younger fish.  Dynamite fishing where explosives are used to kill or stun schools of fish, this style of fishing frequently kills the coral reef supporting the fish population as well.  The combination of these two can lead to large breakdown of coral reef ecosystems. Bottom trawling involves dragging a net along either the very bottom of the ocean or just above the bottom.  Bottom trawling can lead to mass destruction of entire sea floor environments.  Further effects include resuspension of sediment from the sea floor.  This has the effect of reducing light levels leading affecting kelp growth. Additionally such sediments are often ‘sinks’ for pollutants such as DDT, effectively resuspention is allowing such pollution back into the food chain.  Destruction of the seafloor environments also reduces the ability of fish populations to restore themselves due to habitat loss.

Overfishing leads to resource depletion as stocks are so overharvest that they are unable to reproduce fast enough.  Overfishing can also lead to the destabilization of whole ecosystems.  The ability of an ecosystem to recover from overfishing is further hampered by changes in species distribution and composition making it near impossible for an overfished species to reestablish itself.  There are many well known examples of overfishing leading to collapse of species.  Some of these include the collapse of the cod fishery off Newfoundland.  In 1992 Canada created a moratorium on this area known as the Grand Banks. Despite this recovery is poor leading Canada to declare the Cod as an endangered species in 2003 as well as creating an indefinite closure to cod fisheries on the Grand Banks.

Bycatch is the part of the catch that is not required.  Often this is discarded, the quantities are quite staggering.   For example, the worst offender is shrimp trawling, it has been estimated that for every 6 pounds of shrimp, approximately 20 pounds of bycatch is also caught.   By catch may include marine mammals such as dolphins, sharks, birds, turtles, crustaceans etc etc.

Water Supplies
Water supplies worldwide are threatened with depletion and pollution. The major problem is the loss of watersheds through denudation of vegetation. The solution to this problem must come from the better use of land and the protection of crucial vegetation in the watershed areas. The decreased availability of surface and groundwater demands new approaches to overcome future water availability issues and increase water production worldwide. In Australia, improved water allocation that is environmentally sustainable is a high priority of the Council of Australian Government’s National Water Initiative which is developing new solutions to water quality and management issues for example; land use, catchment management and alternative options for surface and groundwater usage. 

Currently the demand for water is increasing and the ability of many Australian cities to supply water is decreasing. Population growth and climate change are also adding increased pressure on our natural resources and the future supply of safe drinking water. Hydrology is intrinsically linked with catchment management and land use practices therefore an understanding of water flow and the hydrological system integrates with water management regimes. Flow regimes are influenced by increased irrigation, farming practices, urban and residential sprawl. Therefore the management of catchment areas is becoming increasingly important as human development encroaches, altering natural systems. Climate change and weather patterns are also adding greater pressure on catchment areas and our natural water resources.

The protection of Australia’s water resources now and in the future is a priority of the Australian Government. Several initiatives are being investigated to ensure the long term supply of our water resources, these include encouraging recycling and desalination to provide alternate water sources for the future and improving water quality through improved catchment management regimes and land use practices as well as the remediation of contaminated water sources using groundwater modeling, microbiological, socioeconomic, health and technological research.


Conservation Issues

Loss of biological diversity
A major conservation concern is the ever-increasing loss of fauna and flora species. The loss of habitat, especially in the tropical forests, is the greatest threat. Some species, such as whales and rhinoceros are threatened by over exploitation.

The Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) has worked well to control trade in many threatened species. However, this is not enough. A more fundamental solution must be set up. This solution must be the establishment of a global network of areas to protect and conserve representative samples of the ecosystems of the world. Substantial progress has already been made towards the achievement of this goal, and most countries now have protected areas.

A secondary solution is maintaining animals and plants in zoos, botanical gardens, or even gene banks can be considered. A gene bank may work well for some species, although, when kept in storage, even the seeds of domesticated plants and their wild relatives lose genetic vigor.  The efforts described above are very limited in relation to the size of the problem.

Environmental Weeds
Many garden plants escape into bushland areas, where they can compete or even completely take over from the native vegetation. The stability or balance of natural systems can be upset, causing radical changes, and as a result habitats for native fauna can be severely damaged. Environmental weeds can greatly reduce the variety of species present, and also may reduce access and recreational use, by creating impenetrable barriers of twining plants, or dense thickets.

Foreign plants will flourish without the pests and diseases that kept them in check in their original country, if suitable pollinators and seed dispersing animals are present, all at the expense of the native plants. A European broom for example, could replace a native wattle. Plants may spread by being dumped (common along railway lines, or in bush areas adjacent to residential areas) or by seed, often carried by birds. Another problem is that garden plants can sometimes cross pollinate with the local native (called indigenous) plants, for example Grevillea species and cultivars. This interbreeding results in hybrids which interfere with the natural evolution of the indigenous plants.

In the middle of suburbia, growing these types of plants is not generally as great a problem, but if your garden is near an area of native bush, there is a strong chance of garden plants escaping. Many road and rail reserves, foreshores and national parks are now infested with environmental weeds. The situation can be so bad that all weed control methods may be needed   including hand, chemical and biological control. The loss of natural Australian bushland is a great cost to the community, in lost educational and recreational opportunities, the loss of indigenous plants and animals, as well as the public funds used (or not used) to control the problem.

As an individual, you can approach your council or local government body and see if there is a community group involved in treeplanting, revegetation and weed control. Speak to the staff at your local nursery and see if they will put up a list of problem plants in the nursery and suggest alternatives. Ask for sterile forms if you are planting non-indigenous species. There may also be a nursery near you which grows local plants.... support them and grow some in your own garden. This is one of the greatest things suburban people can do to prevent weeds – just plant native species.  It is also worthwhile talking to your neighbors and encouraging them to compost their garden wastes rather than dumping them into bushland areas.

In many areas poaching is illegal.  While there may be legislation approving the collection, hunting or fishing of wild animals or plants, there are usually limitations upon the number or type collected.  Thus poaching may be considered to occur when hunting, fishing or collection of the protected plants or animals occurs outside the legislation.  This may occur when the animal is out of season, the plant or animal is on a reserve or restricted lands, illegal means are used to hunt or collect the organism, the hunter/collector does not hold a license, or hunting, fishing or collecting of that organism is banned as the plant or animal is protected by law often due to an endangered status.  Poaching also applies to domestic animals in some areas. 

Pollinator Decline
Pollinator decline is a very modern environmental issues, the term refers to the rapid decline in numbers of bee pollinators globally during the last part of the twentieth century.  It is still unknown what exactly is causing the decline in pollinators, current thinking suggests that overuse of pesticides, bee colony collapse disorder, increased movement of disease and parasites, (from increasing international trade), declining habitat and corridors, air pollution, paranoia amongst the public leading to hive destruction and invasive honey bees are all considered likely explanations for this issue.  In 2009 evidence has been found showing that it is caused by an infection.

Coral Bleaching
Coral bleaching occurs when the coral expels a microscopic algae called zooxanthellae which it lives in a symbiotic relationship.  The zooxanthellae not only gives the coral its color, but also supplies much of the coral’s energy.  Thus when coral bleaching occurs the coral begins to starve, as most of them will struggle to feed themselves with out the zooxanthellase, however some do survive.  The coral may take many years and longer to recover if they survive the coral bleaching.

It is known that coral bleaching occurs during period of high water temperature.  The temperature rise need only be 1.5 – 2oc over a period of 6 – 8 weeks.  It is also thought that many other factors such as sedimentation, pollution and salinity changes can cause considerable stress.  Coral bleaching is a global environmental issue with every major reef worldwide affected (apart from Red Sea Coral which can survive in temperatures up to 34oc).

The Greenhouse Effect and Ozone Depletion
These have been covered in Lesson 6.

Land Degradation
Generally related to agricultural practices, land degradation is a global issue that refers to the value of the biophysical environment.  Land degradation may be caused by one or more effects of human activity.  Such activities include: overgrazing; irrigation; urbanisation; land clearance; weeds; depletion of nutrients in the soils; poor management of rivers and more.

The effects of land degradation may include: dry land salinity, underproductive soil, desertification, loss of soil structure, erosion, river bank erosion, etc.


Pollution can be a problem for both air and water

Water pollution occurs when lakes, ground water, rivers or oceans are contaminated by either the lack of treatment when water has been used for human activities or by natural causes such as volcanic eruptions.  It is considered that lack of clean water is accountable for thousands of deaths yearly. Contaminants may include: chemical, pathogens, changes of physical qualities such as temperature.  Chemical pollutants can be organic (detergents, food wastes, plant matter, organic chemicals such as hydrocarbons such as fuels) or inorganic (heavy metals, acidity, fertilizers).  Pathogens may result from untreated or poorly treated sewerage and may include worms, viruses, Salmonella, Giardia lambia and Cryptosporidium parvum. These are microorganisms which can cause health issues in humans.

Enrol and learn more


100 hours industry meetings or work experience.  For example:

If you work in the industry that you have been studying, you may submit a reference from your employer in an effort to satisfy this industry (i.e. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.

The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

This cannot be attempted until all core modules have been completed.


What's Different About this Diploma?

  • Options to choose electives that you don't find in similar diplomas elsewhere.
  • A longer, more in depth diploma than what is offered at many other colleges (Compare the duration -1500 hours -here with elsewhere). Study more, learn more, go further in your career or business.
  • A stronger focus on learning (some colleges focus more on assessment than we do -but we believe that what you learn is what makes the difference)
  • Exceptional the qualifications and experience of our staff (see staff profiles at ...  ....after all, it doesn't make sense to choose where to study if you don't first know who will be teaching you.

Check out our eBooks

Marine AnimalsA heavily illustrated text with seven chapters including: classification, fishes, sea birds, marine reptiles, marine mammals, marine invertebrates, and zooplankton. 110 pages, 133 colour photos
Animal HealthA book for anyone interested in animal health, from pet owners to farmers. Contents cover understanding health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. 77 pages.
Starting a BusinessThinking of starting your own business? Many businesses fail, but this doesn’t need to happen! This is a concise, easy to read ebook which alerts you to all of the things that commonly make a difference to business success or failure. Seven chapters include: A Reality Check, The Product or Service, Managing a Business, How to Find Customers, How to Make a Sale, Delivering the Product or Service and Pitfalls to Avoid. 51 pages
Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages