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

Location: Fondazione Golinelli, Via Paolo Nanni Costa, 14
To reach this venue from Bologna Centrale railway station you can take:
– From the exit Piazza delle Medaglie d’Oro: bus 35, 81, 91
– From the Autostazione (piazza XX Settembre, 6): 576, 651, 87, 92

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

Chair(s): Joel Jalkan (University of Helsinki, Finland), Thiago Cavalcante (University of Helsinki, Finland), Martin Jung, (IIASA), Louise O’Connor (IIASA)

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.

– Own laptop (all participants)
– Understanding of spatial data formats (all participants)
– Basic skills in R, ideally pre-installation of Rstudio, prioritizR ( 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.

Location: Room A East – Via Irnerio 42, 40126, Bologna, Italy

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.

Location: Room A West- Via Irnerio 42, 40126, Bologna, Italy

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.

Location: Room C – Via Irnerio 42, 40126, Bologna, Italy

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).