Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology
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Examine the ecological and cultural patterns, processes, and dynamics of Australia’s two most diverse environments—the Wet Tropics Bioregion and the Great Barrier Reef.
This program explores the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of far North Queensland and the relationship of traditional and contemporary human cultures with the environment. Students interact with scientists and local experts from organizations such as the Lizard Island Research Station and the Wet Tropics Management Authority to gain a firsthand understanding of ongoing conservation efforts in an exceptionally diverse environment.
The program's field-based modules allow students to:
- examine the diversity of habitats and environments within the Wet Tropics Bioregion,
- study coral reef conservation and management issues, and
- experience traditional Aboriginal lifestyles and culture.
A Leader in Tropical Conservation
Australia is the planet's only developed country containing significant tropical rainforest and coral reef systems. Because of this, many people regard North Queensland as a "proving ground" for conservation efforts of tropical forests and coral reef systems worldwide. North Queensland's economy emphasizes agriculture and nature-based tourism.
The region's well-educated public, strong conservation infrastructure, and extensive science and community involvement in nature conservation efforts are other important factors explaining why the region can serve as an example for tropical ecosystems management and conservation globally.
Throughout the program, students examine the regional landscape and particular histories, perspectives, and values of its diverse inhabitants.
Read reflections by Amanda Lu (Harvard University) on her semester on the program. "Dingoes, Terrestrial Leeches, and the Bush: Reflections on My Semester with SIT Australia".
Read the spring 2013 student article "Studying down under: Diving into lives of platypus" describing research conducted on platypus density and foraging during the program’s rainforest excursion.
|A World-Renowned Region
Students experience the very best the region has to offer: reef, rainforest, and the outback. A hallmark of the program is its strategic proximity to the Wet Tropics Bioregion and the Great Barrier Reef: nowhere else on the planet do two World Heritage Areas occur side by side.
The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is renowned for:
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Cairns
Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. Read more...
View Student Evaluations for this program:
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