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Biodiversity, Conservation & Ecosystem Services

Introduction:

Humankind harnesses a multitude of natural resources for the provision of food, materials, energy and recreation. Many of these resources have become overexploited or under severe pressure in both wild and managed landscapes. Our capacity to respond is limited by an associated loss of biodiversity. Conservation of natural and domesticated systems is essential, but it must also be managed in ways that allow the biodiversity to be exploited for the benefit of all.

Conservation of natural resources (biodiversity and habitat) is vitally important for the future. This concept will be examined by exploring what makes plants and animals vulnerable and devising strategies for conservation of habitats and key species (both in situ and ex situ,), and how practical conservation management is achieved.

Biodiversity and its conservation need to be considered at a range of levels; habitat, species and genetic. There is also a need to consider how these interact with each other. The course will include consideration of, for example, the evolutionary roles of key species within natural ecosystems and introduce the concepts of ecosystem functions, ecosystem services, biogeography, population dynamics and adaptation to climatic change.

Both biodiversity and conservation are vital to the continuing successes of breeding programmes and greater understanding of natural population dynamics. Both are essential to adaptation to changing climatic conditions. The module will deliver knowledge, analysis skills and policy awareness to allow for their continued responsible, reliable development in the future.

Objectives:

On completion of this module participants will be able to:

  • Will be able to discuss the main types of biodiversity and how they interact, and the importance of biodiversity as a resource
  • Analyse, develop and use strategies for the conservation of biodiversity (habitat, species, genetic),based on an understanding of ecological concepts of population.
  • To understand the value of biodiversity through the ecosystem services provided
  • Will develop practical skills for conservation and ecological consultancy
  • Will be able to discuss critically the concept and components of an ecosystems approach

Contents:

  • What is biodiversity?
  • The Historical Context of biodiversity: evolution & climate change
  • The ecosystem approach
  • Examples of ecosystem services
  • Valuing ecosystem services
  • Reducing the environmental burdens of land use
  • Where next with the ecosystem approach?
  • Blueprint for biodiversity and sustainable development
  • Environmental Consultancy: Ecology & Development
  • Environmental Consultancy: Habitat creation
  • Marine conservation: coral reefs
  • Marine conservation: ocean acidification
  • Conservation genetics: fundamental principles
  • Conservation genetics: population management