SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1F702978
Module Leader Karin Helwig
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module introduces the concept of natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable. This distinction leads to discussions of how these resources are currently exploited. From this, current and alternative ways of utilisation and management of natural resources are evaluated for their sustainability. The module introduces a wide variety of natural resources, but will emphasise the issues surrounding energy, land, water, food and agriculture, and biodiversity.


The syllabus will consider the following areas: Introduction to natural resource management: *Sustainability; a number of examples, e.g. energy, transport. *Principles of ecology - eco-systems and man's relationship with them. Energy: *Overview of energy resources - fossil fuels, nuclear, renewable resources including definition of what constitutes a renewable energy resource *Largely qualitative, preliminary look at trends in energy consumption - global and UK, for example transport and heating. *Qualitative look at some technologies for energy extraction and conversion - coal mining, oil and gas extraction and conversion, nuclear reactors, wind turbines. *Waste arising in the context of energy - coal tips, nuclear waste, emissions from power stations. Land, including food, agriculture and biodiversity *Soil/land: what is soil; soil composition, horizons and organisms; nutrient cycling in soil; physical and chemical properties of soil and their environmental effects; soil erosion and nutrient depletion; contaminated land - effects and management; land use - forests, wetlands, agriculture, built up and wild; conservation *Biodiversity: the need for biodiversity; threats to biodiversity; protection of biodiversity *Agriculture: types of agriculture; crop and animal; industrialised and subsistence, fish farming; the green revolution - benefits and problems; environmental impacts of agriculture and its benefits; pesticides *Food: Man's demand on quantity and quality; GM Water *The importance of water for life on Earth *Properties of water (physical and chemical) and their biological effects *The water cycle, water use and abuse *Pollution of water and its effects, including eutrophication and drinking water quality *Sources of water pollution and water treatment *Sustainable water supply and management *Waste water and sewage sludge management and treatment *Water resource issues: floods and droughts; hydrology Other issues *Waste; Classification; solid, special, etc.; waste of resources; environmental impacts of waste treatment and disposal; the way forward: waste management *Population dynamics; introduction *Minerals and aggregates; formation, distribution and exploitation; environmental implications of exploitation

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students should be able to: 1.Demonstrate knowledge of the variety of natural resources and their importance for human society. A1,4,5,9 2.Be aware of the environmental impacts of the exploitation of natural resources. A1,5 3.Demonstrate an understanding of alternatives to reduce the impact of the exploitation of natural resources. A1,7 4.Explain in greater detail the options for sustainable management and utilisation of energy, land, water and biodiversity. A1,7 5.Review and assess practice of natural resource management and exploitation for their environmental and societal impact. A8 B1,2,4,5,6 C2,3,6

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module includes a variety of teaching and learning methods including short lectures, seminars, case studies and structured exercises. Lectures provide an introduction to the module staff and resourses, lecture programme and module structure, followed by topical lectures. Courseworks and practical exercises will provide students with an opportunity to explore and clarify the topics. This will be extended via directed reading and independent study, for example of electronic material. The written coursework assessment elements allow early feedback to students and lecturers, and deepening of students' understanding specialist subject material. The final oral presentation group allows students to develop their group working and presentation skills. Learning and teaching strategies will be developed and impleneted, appropriate to students' needs, to enable all students to participate fully in the programme.

Indicative Reading

Environment 3rd Edition, by Raven, Peter H. and Berg, Linda R., John Wiley and Sons, 2001 Introduction to energy : resources, technology, and society, by Cassedy, E.S., Cambridge University Press, 1990 Relevant articles and reviews based on current events and debates as announced by the lecturer. Electronic resources: * Environetbase at 104 CRC Press Environmental handbooks online including books on air pollution, air quality, ecology, environmental engineering * Encyclpaedia of Sustainable Development at * Scottish Environmental statistics on line at

Transferrable Skills

On competing this module the student should be able to: Participate as a group member in an evaluation exercise C5 D12 Review information and apply it to the subject area D3,10, Participate in the preparation and delivery of short presentations D14

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 36.00
Independent Learning (FT) 92.00
Assessment (FT) 36.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Seminars (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Dept) 01 2.00 40.00 35% Class Test covering all aspetcs of the module syllabus
Course Work 01 n/a 60.00 35% Essay on the importance and management of a natural resource (1500 words)