TRAINING COURSE

Training courses provide the opportunity for registered delegates to receive expert training on a topic relevant to conservation. Courses will take place before the start of the congress and will last one or two full days, depending on the course.

If you want to register to one or more training courses you can proceed by registering to the Conference. You will be able to choose the training courses after filling out the participant information and potential accompanying persons data.

All Training Courses will be on June 17th

Keywords: Social science, qualitative methods, introduction, interdisciplinary

Chair: Rebecca Jefferson (Human Nature, United Kingdom)

Length: Full Day Time: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm

Many conservation professionals arrive in the sector with little or no training in social science. This creates a considerable challenge for accessing and applying the expertise and evidence essential for taking action to conserve biodiversity. This training will build participant’s knowledge and confidence of conservation social science – allowing them to better understand what it is, how it is delivered and how they can integrate it into projects for greater conservation impact.
This will be a workshop style training. It will combine the lead organiser delivering content from slides, workshop discussions in small groups and plenary feedback. The training ethos is to create a supportive atmosphere to promote discussion and unearthing of attendees’ experiences, questions and curiosities. Attendees will be encouraged to identify how the content is relevant to their own work, and will all create an action plan of their next steps with conservation social science.
Attendees will be provided with a workbook with key workshop content and bibliography.
The structure of the training will be:

  1. Icebreaker – connecting the group and setting the foundations for the day
  2. Introducing conservation social science
    We define conservation social science, explore the many disciplines which form it, and discuss the ways it can contribute to conservation. We will dispel the common myth that social science is just the bit done at the end of a project in order to communicate the natural science results! (And other myths too.)
  3.  Data for conservation social science
    Qualitative data can be a scary prospect for those used to quantitative approaches. Here we will discuss the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative data in social science and examine the value each brings to understanding human dimensions of ecosystems.
  4. Conservation social science methods
    A key message in this section is to highlight the diversity of methods which exist in social science. We will also spend time investigating the commonly used methods of questionnaires, interviews and focus groups – how they can be used and some rules for their application. The principles of human ethics in social science research will be outlined.
  5. Integrating social science in conservation
    This final section will explore the barriers and enablers to integrating social science in conservation for organisations and individuals. Time will be given for attendees to develop their own action plan. Attendees will be encouraged to identify where they can continue to learn or apply social science in relevant ways in their own work.By the end of the course, the attendees will:
    – Have an appreciation for the breadth of social science disciplines and their place as a core component of conservation
    – Understand the range of methods applied in conservation social sciences and the types of data collected
    – Be empowered to integrate social science understanding into their current and future activities
    The course can run with 15 to 45 participants.

Bibliography:

Bennett, N. J. et al. 2017. Mainstreaming the social sciences in conservation. Conservation Biology 31(1): 56-66.

Bennett et al., 2017. Conservation social science: Understanding and integrating human dimensions to improve conservation. Biological Conservation, 205: 93-108

Gardener, C. 2020 Not teaching what we practice: undergraduate conservation training at UK universities lacks interdisciplinarity. Environmental Conservation 48 (1): 65-70.

Daniel C. Miller, Ivan R. Scales, Michael B. Mascia (Editors), 2023. Conservation Social Science: Understanding People, Conserving Biodiversity.

Newing, H. 2011. Conducting research in conservation: a social science perspective, published by Routledge.

Keywords: kobotoolbox, digital data collection, xlsforms

Chair(s):  Leejiah Jonathan Dorward (Bangor University, United Kingdom)

Length: Full Day

Conservation research and practice often entails the collection of complex data sets in a wide array of environments. KoBoToolbox offers a suite of free open-source applications designed for fast, efficient and secure paperless data collection in a range of environments. These tools allow for collection of an array of different types of data (text, multiple choice, GPS, audio, photos etc) using mobile phones, tablets or computers in online and offline environments. While primarily used for collecting questionnaire data, these tools are equally well suited to the recording of ecological data.
The course will cater for participants from a range of disciplines and is aimed at those with no prior experience of KoBoToolbox. Over one day, we will provide all the information required for attendees to start using these tools on their own. The course will cover: 1. How to write complex forms using KoboToolbox form builder and XLSForms; 2. Deploying forms to collect data online or offline with mobile devices, or via internet browsers; 3. Managing, accessing and downloading data from servers. There will also be time set aside to offer bespoke support and advice to participants with existing projects that they wish to use with KoBoToolbox.

Keywords: Spatial conservation prioritization, land-use planning, spatial planning, GIS

Chair(s): Joel Jalkanen (University of Helsinki, Finland), Thiago Cavalcante (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Length: Full Day

Systematic conservation planning (SCP) is a scientific framework of applying decision theory towards identifying where or what to do given all available information (data, parameters). This training course will introduce participants to the principles and techniques of systematic conservation planning. Together we will progress through typical stages of a SCP project from the design to the prioritization for identifying solutions to conservation problems.
During this course, the participants will receive basic understanding on the concepts of SCP and learn to use one of the two widely used applications, prioritizR or Zonation 5. Both can be used in SCP projects, however they have different philosophies, methodological approaches, and requirements in terms of existing skillsets.
Zonation is an openly available software for SCP analyses. It can use of up to thousands of GIS layers describing biodiversity (e.g. species, habitats, ecosystem services) to rank candidate locations based on their conservation benefit. Information about species-specific connectivity requirements, future or ongoing threats, and costs can also be accounted for. This course gives an introduction to the completely new version of the software, Zonation 5. Thanks to its completely renewed prioritization algorithm, Zonation 5 can compute prioritization analyses up to hundreds of times faster than its predecessor, making heavy analyses possible with a standard laptop.
The prioritizR suite is an R-package to facilitate the use of exact algorithms, e.g. integer programming, to derive solutions to specific conservation problems, such as where additional area-based conservation or restoration efforts are to be placed or where a biodiversity monitoring project is to be established. Prioritizr is freely available and runs on all operating systems able to run R (Windows, MacOs, Linux).
The course will provide participants with (a) a basic understanding of the principles of systematic conservation planning, (b) instructions how to prepare input data and parameters for a SCP project, (c) the use of two state-of-the art prioritization tools to derive solutions to planning problems, (d) explore different scenarios to account for example for connectivity and socio-economic factors, and (e) how to critically interrogate the solutions and derive performance indicators.
Ultimately the aim of the course is for users to obtain the knowledge base and confidence needed to start applying systematic conservation planning to your own work.
General course outline:

  1. Basics of systematic conservation planning and spatial prioritization: concepts, prerequisites, approaches, applications.
  2. Hands-on exercises in separate breakout groups: Zonation 5 OR prioritizR (majority of the course; incl. lunch).
  3. Joint reflection and comparison of the software.
  4. Q&A on own analysis questions.

Prerequisites:
– Own laptop (all participants)
– Understanding of spatial data formats (all participants)
– Basic skills in R, ideally pre-installation of Rstudio, prioritizR (https://prioritizr.net/) and the ‘highs’ R-package (prioritizR group)

Bibliography: Moilanen, A., Lehtinen, P., Kohonen, I., Jalkanen, J., Virtanen, E. A., & Kujala, H. (2022). Novel methods for spatial prioritization with applications in conservation, land use planning and ecological impact avoidance. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 13(5), 1062–1072. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13819

Keywords: cover letter, rebuttal letter, scientific publication

Chair(s): Moreno Di Marco (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy), Luca Santini (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)

Length: 2 h Time: 11:30 am – 01:00 pm

Publications are the mean by which research findings and ideas are disseminated to the broad scientific community. However, preparing a manuscript for submission can be a stressful exercise and preparing a resubmission after receiving reviews can be nerve-wracking. Overall, getting the paper accepted can take anywhere between 2 months and 2 years, having to convince co-authors, editors, and reviewers… often from multiple journals!
This training course is dedicated to the process of preparing the resubmission of a manuscript which has received editorial and review comments. We will present the process of preparing the resubmission, from cover letter to revised text, and strategies to address some of the most common types of review comments. We will discuss common mistakes that make editors and reviewers unhappy and will provide real-life examples of how controversial reviews were successfully addressed. Participants will be guided through practical exercises on: how to prepare a cover letter, how to respond to reviewers’ comments, how to rebut erroneus comments.
Eight versions of this course have been run since 2016 in one form or the other, both in SCB congresses (international, regional, and local chapters) and as extended courses for PhD students. The course has progressively changed over time to incorporate participant’s feedbacks and requests. The trainers have extensive experience with scientific publications, both serving in editorial roles (in Conservation Biology and Diversity & Distributions), having reviewed hundreds of articles for >40 scientific journals, and having authored articles in tens of journals in the subjects: ‘Biodiversity Conservation’, ‘Ecology’, ‘Environmental Sciences’, ‘Multidisciplinary Science’, ‘Biology’.
Structure of the course:

  • Brief introduction/recap of the publication process
  • Brief description of the manuscript revision process: who are the players? who do you have to convince? what material you have to prepare?
  • How to prepare a resubmission cover letter
  • How to prepare a rebuttal letter
  • Practical: responding to common types of review comments (from easy to hard)
  • Final recap of the key messages
  • Q/A and debate between trainers and participants will be open througout the event

The course is dedicated to early career researchers at their first publication experiences. The expected duration is 2 hours.

Keywords: adaptive management, conservation planning, evidence

Chair(s): TBD

Length: Full Day

Conservation work aims to address urgent and complex problems, and it is only through concerted and structured effort that we will see sustained conservation impact. This hands-on, interactive training hosted by the Conservation Measures Partnership will introduce participants to accessible and practical tools to support them in project planning, management, monitoring, and adaptation. It will also connect participants to the wider conservation planning and adaptive management community and share a library of tools to support real-world conservation work.
During the training, we will use the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (Conservation Standards) – a widely adopted set of practices and principles – to guide participants through an adaptive management framework. The training will use practical examples and focus on two key Conservation Standards tools: situation models (which lay out the current context of a project) and theories of change (which map assumptions about how priority strategies are expected to lead to conservation success). Through this training, participants will gain an understanding of how to support teams to develop a shared understanding of their conservation context, identify potential strategies, and clarify indicators to measure strategy effectiveness and conservation impact.
This training helps participants understand the importance of being clear about their assumptions, testing them, and using evidence to inform decision making. We also emphasise the value of collaborative tools and processes to support planning, monitoring, adapting, and sharing lessons and evidence with the broader conservation community. Participants will leave this training with increased knowledge that can help them improve their own efforts and establish the foundation for shared learning with the conservation community, now and into the future.
Ideal number of participants: 20-25 people

Bibliography:  Conservation Measures Partnership. (2020). Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. https://conservationstandards.org/download-cs/

Keywords: Conservation translocation, disease risk analysis, mitigation strategies

Chair(s): Claudia Carraro (Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom), Georgina Gerard (Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom)

Length: Half Day

Becoming biodiversity positive by 2030 means reversing the current declines in biodiversity, so that species and ecosystems begin to recover. Conservation translocations can be an effective way of restoring ecosystem function and rebuilding food webs (for example by reintroducing top predators such as white-tailed eagles Haliaeetus albicilla), as well as providing valuable ecosystem services and helping people to feel empowered and reconnected with nature. Wildlife reintroductions and other conservation translocations are now common practice around the globe. International best practice guidance has been produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and, based on these established international standards, some countries have then developed their specific codes and guidance; the Scottish and English codes are an example. A common theme in these guidelines is the recognition and appreciation of the risks associated with any conservation translocation, with the threat from disease being one of these. Disease outbreaks may arise from conservation translocations, posing a threat not only to the translocated animals, but also to other individuals of the same species at the release site, or even other species including domestic animals and humans, threatening the ecosystem and biodiversity. A disease risk analysis is an important evaluation that should precede any conservation translocation because of the potential threat from disease. This workshop therefore aims to provide conservation professionals with the knowledge and tools to support their wildlife conservation projects across the world and work towards advancing scientific solutions to protect animals. We aim to provide conservation professionals, researchers, and students with an insight into the risk analysis of disease threats associated with conservation translocations, and to increase their knowledge on current best practice management options to mitigate those threats. Our framework has been developed over many years of experience and scientific research and has contributed to the IUCN Guidelines for Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis. Participants (minimum 6, maximum 12) will be provided an overview of the theory of the disease risk analysis and then undertake a practical session, splitting into small groups, which will tackle real conservation translocation scenarios drawn from current conservation projects to gain an understanding of how the disease risk analysis method is applied, of any possible pitfall arising during the risk analysis process and how to address them. In doing so, participants will be facilitated by tutors with expertise in assessing risk from disease in conservation projects in various species, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. No prior knowledge of disease risk analysis is required. The course promotes conservation by improving the understanding of disease as a potential substantial threat in any conservation program. The course emphasizes the importance of disease risk analysis as a reasoned, open, and transparent method to assess the risk and provide efficient and cost-effective mitigation strategies to reduce it. Through the group work open discussion is promoted such that all points of view are heard.

Keywords: Biocultural diversity, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Sacred Natural Sites, Cultural Landscapes

Chair(s): Radhika Borde (University of Leeds, United Kingdom), Bas Verschuuren (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), Josep-Maria Mallarach (Silene Association, Spain), Guoyu Cheng (University of Leeds, United Kingdom)

Length: Half Day

This training-course enables participants to learn about the multiple ways in which the cultural and spiritual significance of nature is relevant to nature conservation and biodiversity positive futures.
It builds on the work that the organizers have done in relation to authoring and editing a set of IUCN Guidelines on the ‘cultural and spiritual significance of nature’: https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/PAG-032-En.pdf
Participants will learn to make the cultural and spiritual significance of nature relevant to their own work whether they are conservation students/scientists, conservation managers on the ground, or policy makers at the local, national or global level.
The course is based on three elements that will mutually reinforce each other; 1) conservation science, 2) area-based conservation practices and 3) current conservation policy developments such as the Global Biodiversity Program and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The course will promote making the conservation of biological diversity in Europe more socially just, inclusive, and effective by moving beyond trans-disciplinary approaches. Making multiple values across cultural and religious perspectives part of conservation allows the participants to understand, practice and debate nature and biodiversity conservation in many new ways.
Applying innovative relational and reflexive learning approaches the participants own experience is continuously central to the learning process. Examples of tools that will be applied are value analysis, arts-based methods, inter-species ethnography, practice based-learning as well as walking talks and nature meditation. This overall creative approach continuously weaves different points of view into new understandings of nature and conservation and makes these relevant to current practices and debates in nature and biodiversity conservation.
The course is proposed by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas.
Training course fit with the topics of the Congress: The plurality of values and concepts of nature is relevant to all that work on the interface of nature conservation science, practice and policy. Participants will learn to make the cultural and spiritual significance of nature relevant to a biodiversity positive future in their own work.

Bibliography:

  • Borde, R., Ormsby, A., Awoyemi, S. and Gosler, A. (Eds.) (2022) Religion and Nature Conservation: Global Case Studies. Routledge. London.
  • Verschuuren, B., Mallarach, J.-M., Bernbaum, E., Spoon, J., Brown, S., Borde, R., Brown, J., Calamia, M., Mitchell, N., Infield, M. and Lee, E. (2021) Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature: Guidance for Protected and Conserved Area Governance and Management. IUCN: Gland.
  • Verschuuren, B. and Brown, S. (Eds.) Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in Protected Areas: Governance, Management and Policy. Routledge: London.
  • Verschuuren, B. and Furuta, N. (Eds.) Asian Sacred Natural Sites: Philosophy and practice in protected area conservation. Routledge: London.

Keywords: Adaptive management, conservation planning, expert elicitation, structured decision making

Chair(s): Stefano Canessa (Universita degli Studi di Milano; University of Bern, Switzerland), John Ewen (Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society London), Thalassa McMurdo Hamilton (Zoological Society London), Bethany Smith (Zoological Society London), Caio Kenup (Zoological Society London)

Length: Full Day Time: 09:00 am – 04:00 pm

Scientists and managers working to preserve biodiversity constantly need to make and advise management decisions, often with conflicting objectives, time pressure, limited resources and incomplete knowledge. Recognizing this complexity, conservation increasingly uses a range of principles and tools to make rational decisions in difficult situations.
This one-day course provides a quick primer in decision analysis for conservation. It is aimed at practitioners, researchers and students who wish or need to make or advise conservation decisions, independently or interacting with others. It combines introductory lectures, a practical session, and a small-group activity to enable application to real-world conservation challenges. By the end of the course, participants should understand the key principles of decision analysis, and apply simple methods to their own conservation planning or to assess/advise others.
All speakers are conservation experts with years of experience in delivering training to future and current scientists and practitioners. No specific skills are required, other than experience or interest in managing or advising conservation translocations, and an open mind.

Course structure

    • 8:30-9:00 Introductions and welcome
    • 9:00-9:30 Case study: decision analysis in (conservation) action
    • 9:30-10:30 Lecture: framing conservation decisions
    • 10:30-10:45 Coffee break
    • 10:45-11:45 Lecture: choosing the right option
    • 11:45-12:30 Practical session: multi-criteria decision analysis
    • 12:30-13:30 Lunch break
    • 13:30-14:30 Practical session: expert elicitation
    • 14:30-16:30 Small group session: build your first rapid prototype
    • 16:30-17:00 Feedback and closure

–> How will the proposed session contribute to the central theme of the conference: Biodiversity Positive by 2030?
Designing biodiversity strategies, and achieving biodiversity objectives, are as much about science as about values, trade-offs and choices. Decision analysis is increasingly used in conservation planning to deal with these multiple aspects, at the local, regional and global scale. Our course provides the conservationists of today and tomorrow with a primer on the decision-analytic toolset, a field typically outside the traditional skills of conservation biologists.
–> How will the proposed session ensure a creative approach or accommodate for different points-of-view about a topic?
The course promotes conservation by improving rational planning and ensuring the best possible integration between science and management. It presents tools and principles for planning conservation actions that accommodate biological, logistical, and social challenges. We place particular emphasis on open and diverse group processes, including suggestions for expert consultation and considering different objectives.
–> Minimum-maximum number of participants:
8-20. If a selection is needed, we will aim to ensure equal representation across groups (gender, nationality, background, professional area).