Conservation curriculum materials development: please forward!

Daniel Brumbaugh brumba at
Thu Jun 7 17:51:26 EDT 2001

Apologies for the cross-postings.  Please forward to anyone who might 
be interested.  Thanks.

Development of Integrated Conservation Biology Curriculum Materials 
for Tropical Countries

A largely unappreciated dimension of the biodiversity crisis is that 
in tropical countries, where most of the world's biota resides, 
comprehensive training opportunities for conservation biologists are 
limited.  An important root of the problem is a lack of relevant 
training materials in an appropriate language of instruction, 
particularly at the university level.

To address the issue, we are undertaking an effort to develop an 
integrated set of conservation biology training materials useful at 
the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels for universities 
in tropical countries. This collective effort is being overseen by 
the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum 
of Natural History, in cooperation with the Education Committee of 
the Society for Conservation Biology. The goal is to generate for 
each of a broad range of topics in conservation biology:

(1) an expert summary of a topic or an annotated bibliography of 
relevant summaries;
(2) a collection of the original scientific literature for each topic;
(3) a set of easily modified visual presentations for use in lectures; and
(4) an extensive problem-solving exercise.

Materials will be translated into the language of instruction for a 
particular locale, starting with Spanish, French, Vietnamese, and 
English.  All materials will be freely available to any party via the 
internet and will be distributed as needed in other formats for 
people not currently able to gain access to the internet.  We will 
regularly upload new modules to the web site, which will be designed 
in an interactive format that allows teachers using the modules to 
make comments or modifications based on their experiences in the 
classroom.  For more information on the materials, please see our 
preliminary web site:

Most conservation biologists have at some point in their careers 
developed or encountered non-copyrighted materials that could 
contribute to this effort. Those working in conservation agencies as 
well as educators in particular may have useful materials.  After 
looking over the preliminary list of topics assembled below, might 
you have something to contribute? 

We are specifically looking for course materials, written exercises, 
lectures and presentations, and other source material that could be 
adapted, with your permission and preferably with your assistance and 
guidance, to become a component of this integrated curriculum effort. 
Premium materials will be those already piloted and implemented in 
developing countries.

If you have comments, contributions, or suggestions, please email us 
at: biodiversity2 at 




Human evolutionary history
Human consumption of natural resources
Human population growth
Population and consumption: interactions and inequalities
Human health and biodiversity
Indigenous knowledge/Ethnobiology
Envisioning the future: depicting alternative scenarios
Land tenure/ownership


What is biological diversity?
How many species are there?
Where is the world's biodiversity?
Historical perspectives on extinction and the current situation
Ecological consequences of extinctions
Valuing biodiversity
The history and philosophy of conservation biology and definition of terms
Microevolutionary processes: genetic drift, natural selection and 
local divergence
Macroevolution: essentials of systematics and taxonomy
Animal demography
Plant demography
Small population phenomena
Harvested populations
Synergies and species linkages
Natural communities in space and time
Processes and functions of ecological systems
Landscape ecology


Overview of threats to biodiversity
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation
Biological invasions
Climate change


Defining goals and objectives
Designing successful research projects
Elements of sampling
Sampling to determine presence/absence
Estimating population size: plots
Estimating population size: incomplete counts
Estimating species diversity
Estimating survival and reproductive rates
Statistics and hypotheses
Designing experiments to identify causes of declines
Studying interactions and identifying synergisms
Applying deterministic population models
Applying stochastic population models
Delineating ecosystems
Monitoring and adaptive management
Landscape modeling: integrating ecological and economic processes
Conservation genetics


Measuring habitat requirements
Measuring diets
Collecting plants
Collecting vertebrates
Collecting invertebrates
Monitoring herbaceous plants
Monitoring trees
Monitoring birds
Monitoring mammals
Monitoring reptiles and amphibians
Monitoring fishes
Monitoring invertebrates
Monitoring the physical environment
Monitoring human activities
Monitoring landscapes and ecological processes


Planning at different scales
Defining goals and objectives
Defining the political context
Defining the social context
Understanding the historical context
Prioritizing species
Prioritizing ecosystems
Prioritizing sites
Prioritizing across scales
Creating a reserve system: Zoning and land-use planning
Conservation options for non-protected areas
Environmental impact assessment
Writing a site management plan
Writing a species recovery plan
Integrated monitoring for program assessment
Ecological economics


Management decisions in a context of uncertainty
Elements of adaptive management
Threats assessment
Threat abatement
Prioritizing scarce resources
Local community involvement in planning
Enforcement of conservation laws
Endangered species management
Animal reintroductions
Plant reintroductions
Controlling exotic animals
Controlling exotic plants
Managing disease
Controlling habitat fragmentation
Managing ecotourism
Zoos, aquaria, and captive management
Botanical gardens and arboreta
Seed banks


Wetland management and restoration
Lake management and restoration
Stream management and restoration
Reef/coastal management and restoration
Marine and coastal management and restoration
Deepwater marine systems
Dry forest management and restoration
Wet forest management and restoration
Alpine zone management and restoration
Grassland and shrubland management and restoration


Estimating sustainable harvest for animals
Estimating sustainable harvest for plants
Sustainable natural resource management
Natural resource accounting


How to find useful technical information
How to write a scientific paper or report
How to write a proposal for a research grant
Useful translations of conservation terminology
How to give a technical lecture
How to make a useful identification guide
How to give an effective presentation
Understanding maps, scales and figures


Educating consumers about their implications for society and ecology
Mobility and erosion of a sense of place
Discussing human reproduction and its implications for biodiversity 
and society Communicating the value of biodiversity
Mentoring and assessment
Community outreach/extension
Partnering with educators to enhance conservation education


Conservation organizations: who they are and what they do
Elements of effective conservation organizations
Managing personnel
Ethics and professionalism
Strategic planning
How to hold productive meetings
Raising funds
Managing funds
Generating publicity
Building capacity
Program evaluation


International agreements pertaining to biodiversity
Historical precedents for conservation
Trends in trade and resource use change
Managing the 'commons'
Country-specific laws pertaining to biodiversity
Elements of effective regulations
Economic instruments
Modes of governance
Conflict resolution
Organizing stakeholders
Property rights
Politics of community resource management


Guidelines for effective use of these modules
Student-active/inquiry-driven/participatory teaching techniques
Classroom assessment techniques

Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York, NY 10024
E-mail: biodiversity2 at

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