Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity Conservation

Strategies to support biodiversity conservation are as unique as the organisms they aim to protect, and they are inherently tied to sociocultural and economic variables from local to global scales.

In order to conceptualize and contribute to biodiversity conservation within the broader context of global environmental change, we must link organisms to ecosystems, and ecosystems to social systems. SFS students examine critical environmental issues like biodiversity conservation within the rich local context that surrounds each of our Centers. Students gain transferable skills, coupled with a deep understanding of the complexity of problem-solving, that can be applied anywhere their careers may take them.



We examine the impacts of habitat fragmentation, invasive species, historic selective logging and climate change on threatened species, and how these affect faunal biodiversity and ecological processes in a rainforest, particularly on the Atherton Tablelands. We also focus on the management of landscapes to restore biodiversity and learn appropriate field research techniques to reconnect isolated patches of rainforest and prevent further loss of ecosystem function.


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The issues of biodiversity conservation and loss of biodiversity are central to conservation practice in Cambodia and are closely linked to livelihood transitions. Our coursework examines the issues of deforestation and fragmentation, loss of breeding habitat, poaching and wildlife trafficking, and agricultural expansion. Students also explore conservation projects in Cambodia to understand solutions for and approaches to biodiversity conservation. Students meet with groups involved in conservation projects and have guest lectures on this topic.


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Some of the most unique New World flora and fauna inhabit far-southern Chile. The camelid Guanaco forage on the Patagonia steppe adjacent to flightless Rhea birds. Coastal ecosystems are home to a dozen whale species and five species of penguin. Myriad mosses and lichens hold fast to trees in slow-growth forests where century-old trees sometimes struggle to grow more than a few meters tall. Almost everything in Patagonia is both hearty and fragile. We will explore the full range of biodiversity and seek to understand ways of protecting these natural treasures.


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A leader in biodiversity conservation, Costa Rica supports more than five percent of the world’s species, over 9,000 different plant species, and boasts over 230 protected areas—about 26 percent of the land area of the country. Students examine biodiversity conservation strategies through visits to cloud forests, dry forests, volcanoes, lowland rainforests, farms, and plantations.


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Africa’s charismatic wildlife – lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras – along with the fascinating flora of the savanna, makes up a mosaic of biodiversity unlike anywhere else in the world. We study the issues facing Kenyan species, from habitat loss and competition with invasive species to the impacts of tourism, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.


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We evaluate the effectiveness of diverse approaches to biodiversity conservation and learn about the role of community-based conservation. Students examine the multiple trade-offs associated with wildlife conservation as it relates to rural livelihoods and cultural traditions among tribal communities. We study long-term biodiversity trends in the ecosystem, especially in relation to changing land-use patterns.


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