ENVT5513 Decision Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
As the world population grows pressures on maintaining natural biodiversity are mounting. In an ideal world, there would be sufficient funding and resources to conserve all threatened species and ecosystems, but the reality is that the list of species at risk of imminent extinction is growing faster than our ability to conserve them. Under these circumstances, it is crucial that scarce resources are allocated effectively to maximise biodiversity while minimising potential adverse trade-offs for other stakeholders. ‘Decision Science for Conservation' focuses on the principles underpinning effective conservation decision making and how these might, or might not, translate into practical on-the-ground benefits for threatened species and ecosystems. Students explore the real issues that face managers and policy-makers when trying to weigh up the costs and benefits of conservation actions when there are multiple stakeholders and priorities at stake. Students learn the basic tools of conservation decision making including systematic conservation planning, population viability analysis and multi-criteria decision analysis, and apply these to complex conservation problems. In practice, effective biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of the social processes that drive change and the ways in which different people relate to the environment, understanding how decision-making principles are put into practice will enable students to make future conservation decisions that are more likely to have successful outcomes.
Students are able to (1) understand the concepts and principles underpinning conservation decision making; (2) understand the basics of existing guidelines, policy and legal frameworks that currently guide conservation decisions; (3) understand the complexities of conservation prioritisation based on market and non-market trade-offs and the diversity of viewpoints that informs multi-criteria decision making; (4) understand the influences that peak body groups and special interests groups have on conservation decision making by examining real-world problems and issues; and (5) analyse the effectiveness of conservation decisions from the viewpoint of multiple stakeholders.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) quantitative assessment of conservation planning; (2) written work (summaries and case study report); and (3) debates with students role-playing stakeholders. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Biological Sciences
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 2 hours per week
Unit Outline
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