Certificate in Environmental Restoration

Learn how to restore and protect degraded environments - natural or man-made.

Course Code: VEN005
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Now is the time to study Environmental Restoration

The restoration of ecological communities and land forms is an integral component of managing natural resources. Throughout the world, we are now seeing meaningful progress in “fixing the environment”, which means that there is now a great need for trained professionals in associated fields.

The field of Environmental Restoration:
•    Creates jobs that “fix” rather than “destroy” the environment.
•    Provides “quality of life” jobs.
•    Provides job security with opportunities for local, on-ground jobs.

Learn to Restore and Protect Degraded Environments

At least 25% of earth's land is estimated to be affected by land degradation (of one form or another) and this affects the lives of more than a billion people, spread across many countries. On top of this, the oceans and air are increasingly affected by environmental decline.

The loss of species due to land degradation is also huge - more than 20,000 species are lost each year.  The world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, with the increase concentrated mainly in developing countries - and with increased urbanisation within these countries.

All of this sounds like a very bleak scenario; and yet mankind continues to thrive. Sooner or later though; the sins of the past will catch up with everyone; and if we don't restore our environment, we will not continue to thrive as a species.


  • The nature and scope of ecology
  • How to assess damaged or undamaged sites
  • How to conserve and manage the environment
  • Choose 3 elective units that will suit you 

  • Those who want to work in environmental restoration (e.g. forests, farms, mines, damage from floods and fires.
  • Those who want to be environmental assessors.
  • Those who want to take the first step towards a longer study program.
  • Those working in the industry who want to extend their knowledge and skills through a more formal study program


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Environmental Restoration.
 Environmental Studies VEN100
 Conservation and Environmental Management BEN201
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 10 modules.
 Introduction To Ecology BEN101
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction & Health) BSS200
 Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens BHT243
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Wildlife Conservation BEN206
 Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
 Regenerative Agriculture BAG314
 Soil Microbiome Management BSC310
 Water Conservation And Management BEN302

Note that each module in the Certificate in Environmental Restoration is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What's covered in the CORE MODULES


There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Living Things
    • Classification of plants and animals
    • identifying living organisms
    • using identification keys
  2. Basic Ecology
    • Populations
    • communities
    • ecosystems
    • constituents of ecosystem
    • the ecosphere
    • the web of life
    • habitats and niches
    • humans in the environment.
  3. Global Environmental Systems
    • The Earth’s structure
    • the atmosphere
    • climatic systems
    • Gaia theory
    • the carbon dioxide cycle
    • El Nino.
  4. Environmental Problems
    • Deforestation
    • loss of agricultural land
    • loss of biological diversity
    • loss of water
    • loss of non renewable resources
    • environmental weeds
    • the Greenhouse Effect
    • Ozone depletion
    • ozone as a Greenhouse gas
  5. Conservation
    • The definition and goals of conservation
    • the history of conservation
    • natural resources (renewable and non renewable).
  6. Acting Locally: Thinking Globally
    • Humans and water
    • how to minimize water usage
    • energy use in the home
    • reducing household waste
    • domestic transport and its affect on pollution
    • building materials and their environmental impact.


Conservation is the wise use of resources of the earth, in order that they will be able to support or sustain, the generations that are yet to come. This can be done in many ways and in different situations. For example:

  • National Parks - The protection of the ecosystems, including endangered species of flora and fauna.
  • Agriculture - Permaculture techniques such as the management of soil erosion and water catchment areas.
  • Industry - Pollution control measures should be used.
  • People - Every person should help to collect and recycle waste.

These examples show that conservation involves the use of resources so that the environment is protected and maintained, and that the ecosystems are rehabilitated and restored.  There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. An Introduction To Ecology
  2. A Perspective On Environmental Problems
  3. Pollution & Industry Effects On The Environment
  4. Water & Soil
  5. Vegetation Conservation & Management
  6. Animal Conservation & Management
  7. Marine Conservation & Management
  8. The Future


There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Environmental Assessment
    • Types of Employment for Environmental Scientists, Pre purchase inspections, background data, Flora and Fauna Surveys, Open Space Management Plans, Detection of Pollutants, Use of Plants, Remediation of Polluted Sites, Employment in a Multi-Disciplinary Team.
  2. Overview of Environmental Assessment
    • What is Environmental Assessment? Definitions of Environmental Assessment, Overview of the Environmental Assessment Process.
  3. International Environmental Law
    • Foundations of Environmental Law, Making International Laws (Treaties and Customary Law), Milestones in International Environmental Law, Principles of International Environmental Law, Institutions that influence Environmental Law, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Law.
  4. Domestic Environmental Law
    • Evolving Domestic Environmental Law, Strategies for Domestic Environmental Policy, Establishment of Environmental Standards, Liability, Environmental Impact Assessment, Prior Authorisation and Enforcement.
  5. Types of Environmental Assessments
    • Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Risk Assessment, Ecological Risk Assessment, Strategic Environment Assessment, Environmental Audit, Regional Risk Screening, Ecological Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessments and Statements, Economic and Fiscal Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment.
  6. The Design and Process of Environmental Assessment
    • Steps in the Environmental Assessment Process (Screening, Scoping, Collection and Analysis of Information, Public Consultation and Participation, Reporting the Findings of the Study, Post Project Analysis) Impact Prediction and Evaluation including Impact Identification Methods and Impact Assessment Techniques, Data Collection, Statistical Analysis of Data and Statistical Tests.
  7. Writing Environmental Reports
    • Environmental Statements, Report Structure, Suggested Layouts for Environmental Statements, Report Presentation, Examples of Environmental Impact Statements.
  8. Research Project
    • The Research Project is the student’s opportunity to test out their skills as an environmental consultant. In this project, the student will go through the steps involved in carrying out an environmental assessment and write it up as a professional report.



These are designed to build extra skills which compliment job in environmental restoration and management. A range of options are offered, to provide students the change of pursuing areas of specific relevance or interest to them. This way every student can build a slightly different set of skills, differentiating themselves from others in industry, and allowing them to develop a reputation as a "specialist" fulfilling a niche that is different to others.

Tree planting to Restore an Environment

This is usually done on land supporting non-forest types, like grassland or scrub. It differs from reforestation in that the latter is the restocking of existing forests which have become depleted.

The characteristics of trees used in commercial forestry have been improved by careful breeding, and compared to naturally occurring species; they provide higher yields of wood per hectare.

Woodlots and Agroforestry

The increased demand for fuel wood and building material in rural areas has caused widespread deforestation of natural woodlands, water catchments and riverine zones, especially in Africa and other disadvantaged countries. In attempts to diminish this problem in South Africa, woodlots have been established in villages throughout the country to supply poles and fuel wood - mostly comprising of gums and wattles.

Agroforestry is the system of incorporating trees and crops. This increases fuel wood production and is gaining favour in many Third World countries. Trees grown among the crops supply timber, nuts, fruit and fodder for cattle. If the species are appropriate they enrich the soil, prevent erosion, retain water and shield the crops from damaging winds and excessive sunlight. If inappropriate, they may starve the crops of water and nutrients or may be poorly adapted to the soil conditions.

Afforestation and the Environment
Because wood and wood products are being supplied from afforested areas, it has prevented over-exploitation and destruction of indigenous forests. If care is not taken, however, unwise planning and poor afforestation management can have negative environmental impacts.

The habitats most severely affected by afforestation include wetlands, grasslands, and forests indigenous to each particular country. Management and planning should take the conservation of natural habitats into consideration in an attempt to solve these problems. Effects on these specific environments include:

  • Wetlands
    If plantations are too close to wetlands, perennial streams or their catchment areas, it can lead to an eventual "drying out" because trees use large amounts of water. This can adversely affect species living in the water (eg eels, fish), mammals that drink the water, as well as aquatic birds feeding and breeding in the wetlands.

  • Grasslands
    These support a variety of animals, and many threatened species. Afforestation converts grasslands into plantations, so these animals lose their habitat.

  • Indigenous Forests
    When plantations are created next to indigenous forests, logged trees may fall into the forest margin and cause damage. Once the margin is damaged, it can no longer protect the indigenous forest from fire. Logging may also destroy the diverse habitat found where forests meet the grasslands. The forest margin is an important food source for many forest animals.

  • River Catchments
    Trees use large amounts of water. If afforestation is carried out in water catchments, run-off is reduced which in turn reduces the amount of water available for other uses. Additionally, in places where fertilising the forested plantation takes place, care must be taken regarding chemical run-off. This chemical run-off, or eutrification can have devastating effects on fisheries and



Where can this course lead you?

With an ever-increasing demand to “fix” the environment, the environmental restoration economy is providing more and more jobs all the time.

With a background in Environmental Restoration, you may find yourself working in a variety of roles such as:

•    Ecological monitoring e.g. ecological data collection and monitoring.
•    Community engagement e.g. events, fundraisers, education.
•    Communications.
•    Policy
•    Environmental Compliance
•    Administration
•    Feral animal control e.g. fencing and infrastructure maintenance.

Environmental Restoration is applicable to a variety of disciplines and industries including:

•    Local, state and national government e.g. Environment, Natural Resources, Fisheries, Conservation & Land Management, Parks
•    Environment and Disaster Services
•    Research Organisations
•    Private conservation organisations
•    Nature conservancies
•    Ecological Restoration Agencies

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

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This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

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Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

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More information is here

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, Permaculture Design Certificate.
Martin volunteers with many local environmental and community groups, and facilitates discussions on climate change, peak oil, and transition towns. Martin has an allotment, and is currently enrolled in the Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Award programme.
Martin’s goal as a catalyst for sustainable change brings together his strengths and experience in his environmental, project management, and business backgrounds.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Graham Anderson

Graham Anderson B. Mech Eng (hons) Dip. Health

Graham has spent his life in the farming and agriculture industry, particularly carving a niche in the avocado sector with experience ranging from tissue culture, to nursery management to fruit marketing. He has an engineering qualification and an extensive range of mechanical skills which are now diversifying to an understanding of our internal mechanics in health and psychology with qualifications underway.

Alexander O'Brien

Alex was born and raised in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. Having been trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design, his knowledge base is broad. Much of his professional work has been designing and making nature inspired spaces, creative reuse of materials, permaculture and natural ecology regeneration.

That being said, in his own words, "....my real passion is teaching. I adore sharing my knowledge and experience. Seeing students progress, and learning, that is my soul food."'

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