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Session I: Rainforest Management Studies

Australia & New Zealand

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Location Yungaburra, Queensland, Australia and northern New Zealand
Language English
Dates 2017: June 5 – July 5
Rolling admissions. Early submissions are encouraged.
Program Cost
Click here for program costs. Program cost includes all tuition, room, board, local travel. Excludes airfare.
Financial Aid Click here for more information about need-based scholarships, loans, and travel grants.
Prerequisites No academic prerequisites; 18 years of age
Credits 4 credits (8 credits if taken with Session II)
We all come from many different places and backgrounds, but we have meshed together to discover the wonders of the natural world and learn how we might effectively conserve the spirit of the land.        

— Hannah Floren, University of Puget Sound, Summer ‘16



Students compare and contrast the ecological, geographic, social, economic, and historical factors that have shaped natural resource management in northeastern Australia and northern New Zealand. These two countries share a similar Gondwanan history; however, European settlement patterns, indigenous histories, and economic development differ significantly between the two countries.

In New Zealand, students discover its critically endangered flora and fauna and the impacts that have led to their decline. In Australia, students build on their New Zealand experiences by examining similarities and differences in political structure, co-management arrangements, land-use patterns, and biogeography in the two countries.

Students also participate in indigenous cultural activities and have an opportunity to understand current and historic indigenous land use practices and challenges in both countries. From these opportunities, students gain an understanding of both successful and unsuccessful natural resource management policies and practices in Australia and New Zealand, and identify appropriate management techniques with regards to biological systems, national boundaries, and/or social systems.


  • Examine the influence of fragmentation and other pressures on abiotic and biotic elements of forest communities in Australia and New Zealand
  • Visit the ancient rainforest refugia at Daintree National Park
  • Explore the ancient podocarp and Kauri forests of northern New Zealand
  • Examine historic Aboriginal and Maori land-use practices in Australia and New Zealand and experience contemporary indigenous culture
  • Study biogeographic history and conservation of highly endangered and fragmented rainforest communities
  • Determine ecosystem types and learn field techniques, such as trapping, mapping plots, and spotlighting
  • Learn social science survey techniques and how to quantifiably and qualitatively assess human resource use and how it relates to restoration and conservation
  • Assess density and diversity of flora and fauna in pristine forests and restoration plots


This summer course can be taken individually (4 credits) or in combination with Session II: Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia (8 credits). The combined summer program provides a thorough introduction to biodiversity conservation, field research techniques, and the socioeconomic factors influencing land and resource management in two countries. Students participating in both sessions receive a $1,000 discount.


In New Zealand, student accommodations will be at various lodges (included in program costs). The Australia accommodations are eight-person cabins at The SFS Center for Rainforest Studies, in the heart of the Australian rainforest. The Center lies on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands in the heart of the traditional land of the Yidinji people. Protected World Heritage forests and farmland surround the rolling hills covered in tropical foliage. Student cabins are nestled within the rainforest, which comprises the majority of the property’s 153 acres. Sightings of tropical birds, bandicoots, pademelons, musky rat kangaroos, amethystine pythons, and other unique rainforest species are common. The site is alive with the sounds of the rainforest. Students share eight-person cabins with separate shower and bathroom blocks. The main building of the field station houses the classroom, dining area, and a common room.