The module will provide participants with an in depth appreciation for the crucial role of agroforestry and biodiversity as part of a functional landscape approach in organic and biological agriculture. Participants will describe and identify native species and multi-purpose uses of trees from food, fodder, and fuel production to habitat provision. The vital role and management of field boundary hedgerows for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water cycling will be appraised as will the importance of developing linked habitats for both domestic and wild native species. Participants will demonstrate field survey skills in aquatic and terrestrial habitats for biodiversity assessment, evaluation, and monitoring.
The module will be delivered in one semester each academic year with online lecture sessions each week. Course days and field practicals will be held during the semester to carry out farm and field surveys on agroforestry and landscape biodiversity. Case study assessments and farm audit plans will be carried out during the semester at spaced intervals and the final written exam will be held at the end of the semester
Applicants for the Level 9 Certificate in Agroforestry and Landscape Biodiversity should hold a National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 8 honours degree in Agri-business and Rural Enterprise, Agriculture, Environmental and Land Science, or other Science-related discipline. Where the demand exceeds the places available, offers will be made in rank order based on applicants’ Grade Point Average (GPA).
Applicants who do not hold a degree in the cognate areas specified but who have relevant industry or practical experience in agriculture or biological systems, or same in conjunction with a Level 8 degree in a non-cognate area may be considered for entry under WIT’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism. In the case of candidates with qualifications in non-cognate disciplines, equal weighting will be given for GPA qualifications (50%) and a selection interview (50%) to assess prospective candidate’s aptitude and experience relevant to the certificate programme.
Graduates with the Level 9 Certificate in Agroforestry and Landscape Biodiversity may wish to apply techniques, practices, and skills learned in agricultural production systems, or provide support and technical advice to growers and farmers, or they may opt to remain in industry or a research, development and innovation environment. They may also use their applied knowledge and skills in public service for the development of supportive agroforestry, biodiversity and environmental policy.
Upon successful completion of other Level 9 Certificates the learner can graduate with a Certificate in Organic and Biological Production (30 credits), a Postgraduate Diploma in Organic and Biological Agriculture (60 credits), plus a dissertation for a MSc in Organic and Biological Agriculture (90 credits).