Course CodeBHT205
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Trees for Land Improvement

Everyone knows the world has environmental problems. The scientists know that a major response should be to plant more trees (on a very large scale).
Sooner or later, political will is going to catch up with reality; and there will be a massive demand for people who know how to propagate and establish large scale tree planting. Unfortunately, too few people know these skills or are learning them.
Studying today may just put you in a very enviable position for work opportunities in the future.

 This course teaches you how to choose and use trees to improve the land and environment. The right trees in the right place can improve soil fertility and stability, and protect the ground from the damaging affects of extreme weather.




Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Compare different approaches to land regeneration, 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.

What You Will Do

  • Determine different examples of land degradation on sites visited by you.
  • 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, landcare 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 five different plant families; on a specific degraded site.
  • Compare the benefits of acquiring plants for a project by buying tubestock, 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 the collection of seed to planting out of the tubestock.
  • Calculate the cost of production for a tubestock plant, according to the production schedule developed by you.
  • Estimate the differences in per plant establishment costs, for tubestock, compared with direct seeding methods, for planting on a degraded site.
  • Describe different methods of planting trees for rehabilitation purposes.
  • Describe 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 land rehabilitation site.
  • Evaluate plant establishment techniques used by different land rehabilitation programs.
  • Determine the needs of plants after planting, on different proposed land rehabilitation sites.
  • Describe different, efficient ways, of catering to the needs of large numbers of plants after planting.
  • Collect pressed specimens or photographs of twenty 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, relevant to your locality.
  • Compare different alternative methods of treating each of three different soil degradation problems you inspect.
  • 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 an assessment form you develop.
  • 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 different plant species for different degraded sites.
  • Determine plant varieties suited to different degradation situations.

One Plant can Make a Massive Difference

When you remove a tree from a landscape, you are destroying a root system that holds the soil together, and taking away a canopy that slows the wind, shades the ground and provides protection for wildlife. These are just some of the things a tree can do. Adding a tree can rehabilitate an area; making a landscape more stable and softening the impacts of everything that might undermine land stability.

Trees are a very important tool for anyone who is concerned with land rehabilitation; but as with any tool, it must be understood and used properly if it is to have the desired affect.

This course will expand your ability to do just that, and have a more positive affect upon any landscape you are managing; urban or rural, man made or natural.


Land Management Careers

This course can be a big advantage to anyone working in land care or land management.

For some it may be a first step toward further study or on the job learning; and for others, it may be professional development -a learning experience to expand your skills and improve your career or business prospects.

Careers in land management involve working with natural resources like soil, water, animals and plants. They are concerned with managing those resources effectively so that their health is maintained and biodiversity is conserved whilst enabling communities to use land productively.
Land management is an industry that will grow over the next several decades as populations continue to expand and we need to make better use of limited land resources. That said, those working in land management and related fields will probably need more than knowledge of the environment if they want to work in this sector for many years. An understanding of laws relating to land management, economics, and social implications is also of great benefit.  Furthermore, awareness of social media avenues, computer software and technical aspects of land care are also skills which will stand potential employees in good stead.   

Some types of environmental jobs can be dependent upon government funding and so the availability of those jobs will increase and decrease with changes in public funding amounts. Examples include jobs in environmental and land planning, policy and development. Other jobs however are available in more specialist niches, such as:

  • Renewable energy
  • Waste management
  • Recycling
  • Forestry management
  • Tree planting
  • Farm manager
  • Soil scientist
  • Salinity and acidity officers
  • Agronomy or pasture advisor
  • Vegetation management
  • Wildlife management
  • Parks management
  • Environmental assessment
  • Water management
  • Pollution and emissions
  • Conservation
  • Erosion control
  • Green activities and eco-tourism

As with most career sectors, there are many different types of positions available such as assistant, technician, officer, supervisor, consultant and manager. These positions will demand varying amounts of responsibility so there are opportunities for people to gain entry into the industry and work their way up to higher positions. There are certificate and diploma courses in land management which will assist people to get employment. Degree courses may be required for higher level positions.   

There is has been increased interest in land management and education concerning environmental issues at all levels as a response to growing awareness of stresses on our land. It is likely that new qualifications and courses of study as well as employment roles will be created over the coming years. The media have also taken a keen interest in land management issues and have done their part in getting issues out into the public domain. Land management as a career would appear to have a very bright future.

Meet some of our academics

Adriana Fraser Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture and a few years later, completed a Advanced Diploma in Horticulture amongst other qualifications. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and a natural understanding of how people learn about horticulture and has taught in various institutions and organistions as well as ACS. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
Gavin Cole Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. In the mid 90's he worked as a manager and garden designer with the well respected UK company -The Chelsea Gardener. A few years later he formed his own garden design business, at first in the UK, and later operating in Queensland Australia. He has since moved to, and works from Adelaide. Apart from his work in landscaping, Gavin has been a prolific garden writer and a tutor with ACS Distance Education since 2001. He is currently part of the team of garden experts that produce Home Grown magazine.
Marie BeermanMarie has over 10 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants". Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Ldscp. PDC
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Check out our eBooks

Garden Design Part 2Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. It's brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. It contains around 300 colour photos! Written by John Mason over several decades of visiting and photographing gardens, writing, teaching and creating gardens.
Growing ConifersThe great thing about conifers is they look good all year round. Most of them are grown for foliage, and in general, foliage remains the same pretty well all year. Unlike other trees and shrubs, you do not have a month of attractive flowers, followed by an obscure plant the remainder of the year. A brilliant blue of gold foliage conifer will be blue or gold month in, month out.
Trees & Shrubs for Small GardensTurn even the smallest space into a great place. This e-book is an essential guide for any gardener who wants to make the most of a small garden, balcony, verandah or courtyard.
Trees and ShrubsUseful for students, tradespeople already working in the field, or the home gardener who needs a quick reference when choosing plants for a garden.



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