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Due to human land use and climate change, the world around us is changing rapidly. Natural vegetation and wildlife are challenged to adapt to these changes, but in many areas biodiversity is declining. The loss of biodiversity has been put forward as an underestimated driver of global change. The repercussions of these losses for ecosystem functioning and human well-being may be enormous.
At the same time, many areas are experiencing a rewilding in terms of both natural vegetation as well as wildlife. Both declining as well as increasing biodiversity create huge global challenges but also opportunities. Challenges arise when, for example, increasing numbers of wildlife enter the human-environment interface, creating conflicts with agriculture and forestry, increasing zoonotic disease risk, and disease transmission between wild and domestic animals. On the contrary, biodiversity may provide opportunities in the form of ecosystem services, such as pollination, meat from hunting, recreation and income-generating opportunities through eco-tourism. Research on conservation should be focused on finding ways to mitigate conflicts and to promote opportunities.
Traditionally, major advancements have been made in the field of ecology, but conservation research has increasingly acknowledged the importance of economic and social dimensions in determining the trajectory of human-biodiversity interaction. The complexity of human-wildlife interaction raises a fundamental question: How do we balance healthy and diverse vegetation and wildlife with the requirement of social and economic sustainability? This question is central to this course on the science of conservation.
|Level||No prior knowledge is required|
|Intended credits||4 ECTS|
|Course organisation||The C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation (PE&RC)|
|More information||Course website|