Date of release: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A2124-Landscape-EcologyThe University of Greenwich is launching the first MSc Landscape Ecology with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) course in the UK in a bid to fill a growing skills gap.

Landscape ecologists identify, monitor and map the spread and movements of plants and wildlife across landscapes.

Taking advantage of GIS computer mapping techniques, the landscape, plant and wildlife specialists can upload the information they have gathered in the field.

This data is then shared and combined with information collated by other environmental and conservation experts working in the same or neighbouring areas of the country.

The input of skilled landscape ecologists is now seen as an essential part of all environmental, conservation and land management projects and many planning and land-use proposals.

The new University of Greenwich course, which will be available part-time or full-time from September 2012, has been designed in partnership with landscape management and ecological consultancies as well as professional organisations across the industry.

Dr Meredith Williams, Senior Lecturer at the university’s Centre for GIS & Remote Sensing, believes the course will be particularly popular with companies and consultancies looking for staff training opportunities as well as full time students from across the UK and overseas.

He says: “People working in the rapidly growing environmental, conservation and landscape management sector are increasingly required to understand and manage the wide range and quantity of data now available to them through GIS – but they don’t need to be GIS specialists.

This new course brings together the established expertise from our MSc Environmental Conservation programme and our MSc GIS with Remote Sensing programme.

“The new MSc Landscape Ecology with GIS will give landscape ecology practitioners and conservation managers an appreciation of the merits and limitations of the information available to them; the skills they need to manage and make best use of that information; and the confidence to operate and manage their datasets.

“Working at the landscape scale is now integral to the UK land use planning system and is increasingly emphasised in everything to do with land management.

“As a result, landscape ecology is a growing profession in the UK and overseas. Implementing environmental policies and strategies on the ground needs to take a wide range of factors into consideration. GIS provides data on those factors but successful delivery will depend on understanding the reliability and depth of that data.”

For further information about MSc Landscape Ecology with GIS, or other School of Science courses at the University of Greenwich, please visit www.gre.ac.uk call 020 8331 9800, or email Meredith Williams, m.williams@gre.ac.uk, or Debbie Bartlett, d.bartlett@gre.ac.uk

Picture: Sharmain Wijemanna, an environmental conservationist, is using GIS to help draw up a management plan for the University of Greenwich campuses

Story by Public Relations