Year 11 and 12: Port of Brisbane studies - Land cover transformations


Port of Brisbane Studies is a day program immersing students in a geographic inquiry to investigate the challenge of maintaining healthy mangrove forests in order to support biodiversity and coastal protection. This program supports the mandatory practical from Unit 3 Topic 2, Responding to land cover transformations.

During pre-program activities students adopt the role of Geographer tasked with gathering vital data needed to manage the mangrove forests at the Port of Brisbane sustainably. Students become familiar with scientific equipment and data collection methodology and are challenged to identify issues of concern and formulate questions to focus research during the program.

On the program day students spend the majority of their time in a mangrove ecosystem to collect data to support understanding of biodiversity, land cover and natural areas adjacent to the Port, why they must be protected, and some of the management issues. The field study is primarily focused around the river and Port and may include:

  • Use of transects and quadrats to collect both biotic and abiotic data within different mangrove forest zones
  • Environmental management of Port impacts on mangroves and saltmarsh

To deeply understand interconnections between the Port of Brisbane and its place on the edge of Moreton Bay, students tour port operations (either by bus or our vessel, Inspiration) focusing on shipping operations, on-shore infrastructure, quarantine and reclamation areas. A tour of the Port buildings also highlights examples of water sensitive urban design employed by the Port to manage storm water.

A presentation by Port of Brisbane Environmental Officers highlights natural area management challenges and solutions and utilises satellite imagery to illustrate land cover change over time.

Post program, students analyse and extrapolate data using ICTs. They use these results together with geographic knowledge to propose action for sustainable management of mangrove forests at Port of Brisbane.

Curriculum Intent


Unit 3 (Topic 2): Responding to land cover transformations – Students investigate a local land or water management challenge and explain the geographical processes involved, how these shape the identity of places and impacts of land cover for the biophysical environments and challenges of sustainable responses.

Unit Objectives:

  • Explain geographical processes by describing the features, elements and interactions between biophysical and anthropogenic processes that shape the identity of places and result in land cover change of Earth’s surface and a changing climate.
  • Comprehend geographic patterns by recognising spatial patterns of land cover change and indications of climate change at global, regional and local scales of study and identifying relationships and implications for people and places.
  • Analyse geographic data by selecting and interpreting climate and land cover data and information to infer how patterns, trends and relationships represent a geographical challenge for a specific place in Australia, and in relation to climate change for a selected land cover type.

Assessment: Investigation – Field report (IA2)

Last reviewed 07 October 2020
Last updated 07 October 2020