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, so to does the pressure on the world's biodiversity. In an ideal world, there would be sufficient funding and resources to conserve all species but the reality is that the list of species at risk of imminent extinction is growing faster than our ability to conserve them. It is crucial that decisions made for biodiversity conservation are evidence-based and recommend actions that are cost-effective. ‘Decision Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation' focuses on the legislation, principles and practices underpinning effective decision making for the conservation of biodiversity and how these might, or might not, translate into practical on-the-ground benefits for ecosystems and their biodiversity. Students will consider the role of scientists in addressing decision-making for biodiversity conservation and engaging with the end-user of the research. 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 about the principals of decision-making for biodiversity conservation, case studies of the application of tools to assist decision-makers, and some of the barriers to implementation of recommendations into on-ground action.. Students will hear from scientists, policy-makers and other Government authorities, and peak body representatives. Students will gain an insight into the world of biodiversity conservation enabling them to make future conservation decisions that are more likely to have successful outcomes
Students are able to (1) understand the concepts and principles underpinning decision-making for the conservation of biodiversity including the role of science to inform evidence-based decisions; (2) understand the basics of existing legislation, policy and guidelines that currently guide conservation decisions at the international, national and state level; (3) basic understanding of some of the tools and frameworks available to guide practitioners through the complexities of decision making; and (4) understand the influences that peak body groups and special interests groups have on conservation decision making by examining real-world problems and issues.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) blog contribution; (2) interrogation of topics with strong 'opposing views' in biodiversity conservation, including team presentation and class discussion, and Individual essay ; and (3) class assessment including critiques of papers and other discussion topics. 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_tutorial: typically 2 sessions of 2 hours per week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.