701-0371-00L  Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersT. Crowther, L. Bialic-Murphy, J. Ghazoul
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


701-0371-00 GEcosystem Conservation and Restoration2 hrs
Thu/212:15-16:00NO E 39 »
T. Crowther, L. Bialic-Murphy, J. Ghazoul

Catalogue data

AbstractConservation and restoration are interdisciplinary sciences that nonetheless are founded on fundamental ecological concepts. The course will explore theoretical underpinnings of conservation and restoration science that inform planning and implementation, and consequent outcomes. New concepts and emerging technologies will be explored, alongside case studies that inform discussions.
ObjectiveThrough the course, students will:
● Understand the theoretical underpinnings of conservation and restoration science.
● Consider alternative conservation concepts and approaches, and the role of science and evidence in implementing these ideas in practice.
● Appraise different conservation strategies, drawing on case studies and examples from around the world.
● Explore new and emerging technologies that can be useful to guide responsible decision making in land management decisions.
● Evaluate the future direction of conservation science, in terms of new concepts (resilience, restoration, rewilding, natural capital, de-extinction) and emerging technologies (remote sensing, AI, genetics).
● Explore conservation and restoration science and practice in the context of current societal pressures, and the prospects for biodiversity conservation in coming decades.
● Understand how responsible restoration and conservation goals should integrate local practices, customs, cultures, and economic requirements.
In this course, students will:
● Learn about the historical development of thinking in conservation and restoration ecology
● Learn about the ecological theories underpinning conservation and restoration ecology
● Learn about emerging statistical and analytical tools to guide effectively responsible conservation and restoration initiatives
●Learn about the practical challenges and trade-offs in decision making that ultimately govern the success of conservation and restoration challenges around the world
●Understand, through the exploration of case studies and site visits, differing normative and management perspectives on landscape scale conservation and restoration
Content2021 marked the start of the UN Decade on ecosystem restoration, a global initiative to conserve and restore nature for the benefit or climate change, biodiversity and human wellbeing. As an emerging workforce enters this exponentially growing field, we hope that they will be armed with the fundamental principles that are necessary to enhance the likelihood of success.
Conservation and restoration science is a relatively young discipline, yet it has undergone substantial change in recent decades on account of changing environmental realities, new conceptual framings, and opportunities afforded by emerging technologies. As a rapidly evolving discipline, with considerable relevance and impact to environment, policy, and society, it is essential that environmental science students understand the role of science for conservation practice.
This course will explore how science and technology provides the conceptual structure and knowledge base for new approaches to conservation of biodiversity, habitats, and resources. The course will begin by examining the theoretical foundations of conservation science, and how these concepts have developed over the past century. It will examine alternative approaches to conservation ranging from traditional protected area and wildlife management systems, through to more recent concepts and approaches, including ecosystem services, natural capital, restoration, and rewilding. It will emphasize the role of new technological and analytical methods, including Earth observation, monitoring systems, AI, and genetics. Finally, the students will use a horizon scanning approach to determine the future opportunities, priorities, and constraints for conservation science and practice in our rapidly changing world.
Students will evaluate several general questions, including:
● What is conservation, and what do we want to conserve?
● What ecological theories frame conservation and restoration practice, and how can science guide conservation decisions?
● What new concepts (ecological, societal, economical) shape conservation and restoration theory and practice, and what conflicts do they engender?
● What prospects does technology offer for future conservation and restoration efforts?
Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration will provide an excellent foundation on how theoretical and applied natural and social sciences are, and can be, coupled to emerging technologies and data science to conserve and restore biodiversity and ecological functions in landscapes. For students wishing to acquire a deeper level of understanding of both science and practice in conservation and restoration, this course will serve as the prerequisite for a two-week Masters-level field course (tentatively titled Conservation, Restoration, and Landscape Management) to Scotland, being developed by the Ghazoul and Crowther labs and planned for 2023. The field course will challenge students to apply the conceptual and technical understanding gained from the Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration course, specifically by working with a variety of stakeholders involved in selected forest and landscape restoration processes in Scotland.
LiteratureCurrent literature will be provided in due course
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesfostered
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesfostered
Media and Digital Technologiesfostered
Project Managementassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Customer Orientationfostered
Leadership and Responsibilityfostered
Self-presentation and Social Influence fostered
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingfostered
Critical Thinkingfostered
Integrity and Work Ethicsfostered
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered
Self-direction and Self-management fostered

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits3 credits
ExaminersT. Crowther, L. Bialic-Murphy, J. Ghazoul
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places30 at the most
Waiting listuntil 29.09.2023

Offered in

Environmental Sciences BachelorEnvironmental BiologyWInformation