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Ecological Surveying PDA

Level: SCQF 7

Available at these campuses: Distance Learning

About the Course

The PDA in Ecological Surveying is designed to provide you with the competencies required in order to enter this field.

Upon successful completion of this course, you may apply to the Countryside Management HND or degree course  - some of the modules you will have undertaken already will count towards these qualifications - or you may enter the marketplace as an Ecological Surveyor.

Course Duration: 1 year (part-time).

Next Start Date: September 2020


Entry Requirements

This course is aimed at candidates interested in pursuing a career in Ecological Surveying. The course requires a good level of written and analytical skills, and entry requirements are similar to that of an HNC Countryside and Environmental Management, though there is some flexibility and a willingness to take into account practical and work experience.

Course Content

There are seven taught modules, ranging from the basics of ecological theory, through to using technology, eventually ending up in the skills required to set the trainee up in business. Campus study days where students are guided through some of the more challenging aspects are provided. These are highly recommended for some units on the course, although not compulsory.

Taught modules are:

Ecology & Ecosystems

This Unit is designed to enable learners to understand key aspects of ecology and ecosystems, encompassing the abiotic and biotic factors affecting ecosystems and the structure and conservation of biological communities. Campus study days are recommended.

Classification and Identification of Organisms

The Unit introduces the candidate to the principles and systems used for the classification and identification of organisms. It centres on developing a level of competence in the skills required to identify a range of organisms, such as plants and animals, representing different habitats and situations by using a variety of techniques.

Ecological Surveying

This Unit develops understanding and knowledge of techniques available for surveying and monitoring plant and animal populations and habitats. The Unit discusses how ecological principles are applied to practical procedures and gives the candidate an opportunity to develop practical skills by carrying out and reporting on an ecological survey. Techniques include botanical, protected species and invertebrate surveys. Campus study days are recommended.

Data Management for Ecological Surveying

The Unit is designed to give candidates the skills to set up and utilise systems for the management of ecological survey data. On completion of the Unit, the candidate should be able to:

· Design a system for managing ecological survey data.

· Collect data digitally direct into a Geographic Information System (GIS) using in-field technologies.

· Interrogate data and provide reports suitable for ecological assessment.

NB: students must be able to run QField or similar on their phone

Geographic Information Systems

The Unit is designed to give candidates an introduction to the utilisation of computer information systems which are based on locations from digital maps and plans. On completion of the Unit, the candidate should be able to:

· Survey and process digital map data for inclusion in a Geographic Information System (GIS).

· Geocode data tables to digital map data.

· Use GIS software to display data.

NB: students must be able to run QGIS or similar on their computer

Environmental and Countryside Regulation

This Unit provides candidates with an introduction into how environmental and countryside regulation is formulated and implemented in the EU and UK. Candidates also gain knowledge of aspects relating to key policies and principles involved in shaping regulation in the countryside and environment

Preparing to Start a Business

This Unit is aimed at learners who may wish to start their own business by working through the main processes involved in the initial stages of starting a new business. It provides the learner with the knowledge and skills needed to start planning a business venture and construct a suitable initial business plan.