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Biodiversity and Society


Admission requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course. This course gives access to 300-level courses in Sustainability, Global Citizenship, Human Interaction, and International Development.


The Biodiversity and Society course will provide knowledge and insights in the ecological, cultural and economic backgrounds of conservation biology. The key questions are related to the question: why should we conserve nature and biodiversity? The subjects to be covered are principles, values and ethics of nature and biodiversity conservation, conservation policy, co-management, ecological economics and economic valuation of nature. To this end a selection of highly qualified researchers from different research groups and civil society will give a contribution to the course. Most contributions will be interactive of nature. So students should be keen on participation in discussions etc.

Course objectives

After completion of the course students will be able to: – think holistically about nature and biodiversity conservation – qualify and quantify factors that impact on nature and biodiversity – identify best strategies towards management of nature and biodiversity – make and present a poster for raising awareness on nature and biodiversity issues

After completion of the course students will know: – the characteristics of biodiversity and related ecological concepts – the economic valuation of nature and biodiversity – the societal mechanisms and processes that have an impact on biodiversity and nature – examples of on-the–ground approaches towards management and conservation of nature and biodiversity – (inter-)national policy strategies and approaches to control the societal impact on nature and biodiversity


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

Each week of the course a specific biodiversity-and-nature theme will be addressed, so 7 themes in total. The theme of the week is covered twice: once in the two-hour plenary lectures on Tuesdays and then addressed again, but in a different form (student presentation, video presentation, critical review and debate, poster assignment preparation, etc.) during the two-hour seminar sessions on Thursdays.

The themes that have been selected for the Biodiversity & Society course (but some may still be subject to change depending on availability of lecturers) include 1) introduction to biodiversity, 2) biodiversity and ecosystems, 3) nature conservation in temperate and tropical areas, 4) business and biodiversity: policy, practice and future? , 5) economic valuation of biodiversity, 6) biodiversity and civilization, and 7) biodiversity and indigenous people

The seminars are composed of different activities in alternating plenary and group work sessions related to the weekly themes. Activities during the weekly seminars include:

  • preparation of a poster on a specific nature and biodiversity theme

  • construction of a wiki page on nature and biodiversity conservation

  • peer-review of an assignment in progress prepared by another student

  • oral presentation of the Wiki page and/or poster

  • preparation and conduct of a multi-stakeholder debate (e.g. on the basis of a film or documentary)

  • making a critical review on two controversial conflicting articles related to nature and biodiversity conservation.

Assessment method

  1. ability to debate, exchange views and think holistically about nature and biodiversity conservation (debating skills): assessed through Participation in discussions and performance during seminars including the multi-stakeholder debate
    (individual assessments; 20% of final grade, of which 10% for multistake-holder debate): Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7
  2. comprehension of scientific information from literature and resources and translation into a coherent presentation; critically assessing the scientific information related to the content of the course: assessed in Oral presentation of maximum of 20 minutes (individual assessment: 20% of final grade: Weeks 1 – 7, Each week, 1 – 4 students will give a presentation (depending on class size)
  3. working towards approaches and strategies for nature and biodiversity conservation; comprehensive scientific and public writing (assessment /analysis & scientific writing skills): assessed in (2) Assignments in the form of
    • a short critical report (max of 2750 words)
    • design and compilation of a poster,
    • compilation of wiki pages on nature and biodiversity conservation (max of 5 pages): (30% of final grade): Weeks 3 and 6
  4. build up knowledge of main processes on system earth and the societal mechanisms affecting the earth’s environment (knowledge skills): assessed in open book exam (through black board, open for answering for at least 1 week up to 4 June; 30% of final grade): Final week (June 4, 2012)


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

Required literature:

Navjot S. Sodhi and Paul R. Ehrlich 2010. Conservation biology for all . Oxford University Press. Freely available on internet:

Other recommended literature:

Richard B Primack 2010. Essentials of conservation biology. 5th Edition. More info see:

Martha J Groom, Gary K Meffe and C Ronald Carroll 2006. Principles of conservation biology. More info see:


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information


Weekly Overview

Week 1: Introduction to biodiversity
Week 2: Biodiversity and ecosystems services
Week 3: Nature Conservation in temperate and tropical areas
Week 4: Business and biodiversity: policy, practice and future?
Week 5: Economic valuation of biodiversity
Week 6: Biodiversity and civilization
Week 7: Biodiversity and indigenous people