Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and principles underpinning decision-making for the conservation of biodiversity including the role of science to inform evidence-based decisions; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the basics of existing legislation, policy and guidelines that currently guide conservation decisions at the international, national and state level; (3) show basic understanding of some of the tools and frameworks available to guide practitioners through the complexities of decision making; and (4) demonstrate an understanding of 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) opposing Views: Team Presentation and Individual Essay; and (3) class assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72520 Master of Biological Science
or 72530 Master of Environmental Science
Contact hours
2 interactive sessions of 2 hours per week
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.