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Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

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Yr 12 Ecosystems at risk

Littoral rainforest of Minnamurra Spit

Year 12 Geography

Ecosystems at Risk


Minnamurra Spit

Program overview

Students examine the Littoral Rainforest of Minnamurra Spit as a case study of an ecosystem to be compared with a second, different ecosystem at risk. Students study the unique characteristics of Minnamurra Spit, including the:

  • spatial patterns and dimensions: location, altitude, latitude, size, shape and continuity
  • biophysical interactions including:
    • the dynamics of weather and climate
    • geomorphic and hydrologic processes such as earth movements, weathering, erosion, transport and deposition, soil formation
    • biogeographical processes: invasion, succession, modification, resilience
    • adjustments in response to natural stress
    • the nature and rate of change which affects ecosystem functioning
    • human impacts (both positive and negative)
    • traditional and contemporary management practices.   

Inquiry and focus questions

  • What are the reasons for the location of the Minnamurra Spit and associated Littoral Rainforest?
  • What action is appropriate for managing the Killalea State Park sustainably?
  • What will the Littoral Rainforests of Minnamurra Spit be like in the future?

Supporting resources

Follow the links for supporting resources for teachers and students.

Stage 6 Ecosystems at Risk student booklet (IEEC will print and provide to students on excursion day)

Stage 6 Ecosystems at Risk student booklet with answers 

Guide to the Coastal Foredune Scrub and Temperate Littoral Rainforest South Coast and NSW (PDF 5MB)

Coastal Dune Management Manual (PDF 8MB)

Estuary Management Plan Minnamurra River (PDF 1MB)

Key syllabus outcomes

Geography Yr 12

Ecosystems at Risk


  • use geographical skills and tools
  • identify geographical methods applicable to, and useful in, the workplace

Students learn about:

  • ecosystems and their management
  • biophysical interactions which lead to diverse ecosystems and their functioning
  • vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems – impacts due to natural stress – impacts due to human induced modifications to energy flows, nutrient cycling, and relationships between biophysical components
  • the importance of ecosystem management and protection – maintenance of genetic diversity – utility values – intrinsic values – heritage values – need to allow natural change to proceed
  • evaluation of traditional and contemporary management strategies