Practical Wildlife Conservation

Module code: BS3058

Module co-ordinator: Dr Rob Hammond

This module will develop your appreciation of how ecological understanding is used to inform decision-making for biodiversity conservation management as part of our society's overall objectives. You will also learn how to evaluate the conflicting demands between conservation and other forms of land use and the conflicts as global society moves towards achieving 'sustainability' in its resource uses.

Part of this module is a field course, studying the management of the ecosystems (and the habitats and species within them) of lowland Britain from the edge of the sea to agricultural landscapes. There will be an introductory day in Leicester followed by an eight-day residential field course at Dunton in North Norfolk. The ecosystems we will explore are:

  • Coastal (salt marsh, sand dunes)
  • Semi-natural terrestrial (wet pasture, mesotrophic grassland, lowland heath, parkland, woodland)
  • Freshwater (rivers, lakes, alkaline fens)
  • Agricultural (Loddington experimental farm and the Cambridgeshire Fens)
  • Water supply and wildlife conservation (Rutland Water)

Topics covered

  • 'Ecosystem services' and their valuation
  • 'Global change'
  • Effects of climate change
  • Sustainability
  • Major global initiatives and conventions relating to conservation and sustainability
  • Introduction to each ecosystem (prior to the visit); its habitats and species
  • Field instruction in each ecosystem: identification of key species and the management processes to maintain or change its habitat structure
  • Political and legal framework of biodiversity conservation
  • Basic ecological theory; scientific principles of geology and soils; Pleistocene and Holocene history


  • 10 one-hour lectures
  • 12 one-hour seminars
  • 48 hours of fieldwork


  • Exam, 2 hours (50%)
  • Field course learning log (20%).
  • Seminar presentations (10%)
  • Essay (20%)