Society for Conservation Biology

A global community of conservation professionals

  • Member Login
  • Contact
Forgot Password?
Join Contribute Jobs
working-groups image

SSWG Short Courses

The SSWG develops short courses to build technical expertise in the conservation social sciences.


2009 SCB Annual Meeting - Beijing, China

  • A full description of the short courses offered in Beijing can be found here.

2008 SCB Annual Meeting - Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

  • A full description of the short courses offered in Chattanooga can be found here.

2007 SCB Annual Meeting - Port Elizabeth, South Africa

What Do the Social Sciences Have to Offer? Multiple Social Science Perspectives for Conservation Planning

Instructors: Professors Tara Teel and Michael Manfredo, Colorado State University; Dr. Michael Mascia, Social Science Working Group (SCB)

Successful biodiversity conservation efforts require understanding not only of the natural environment but the needs, interests, and capacities of stakeholders. These social considerations are critical to ensuring conservation decisions adequately address challenges and opportunities associated with human factors. The reality, however, is that priority is still largely directed at biological research to inform decisions. This is in part due to a limited understanding among conservation practitioners of the social sciences. Our short course will be directed at building capacity among practitioners and young scientists by offering them a framework for thinking about the role of the social sciences in helping to address conservation challenges. We will overview the contributions of different social science disciplines in the context of an interdisciplinary planning structure and use case studies to illustrate application at a practical level. Participants will also be given an opportunity to think through and discuss local conservation challenges and how the social sciences might be applied to assist with those challenges. In addition to the described training, our short course is intended to strengthen professional networks by linking practitioners with social science experts from around the world and helping to create a community of practice among conservationists working in Africa.

2006 SCB Annual Meeting - San Jose, California, United States

Economic tools for conservation

Instructors: John Reid, Conservation Strategy Fund and Nejem Raheem, University of New Mexico (

We will begin with a brief introduction of the role of economics in protecting nature. An interactive market simulation will follow to introduce microeconomic theory. Participants will learn how markets function and how they often fail to capture environmental values. Afternoon sessions will cover basic natural resource economics and how the time value of money affects natural resource exploitation. The day will close with an exploration of the potential and limitations of using valuation techniques to incorporate environmental goods and services into economic analyses. Opportunities and limitations of market-based conservation solutions also will be explored.

Participants will leave the course with a better understanding of economic concepts and opportunities for incorporating these approaches into their work. Specifically, participants will learn aspects of

  • Microeconomic theory
  • The failure of markets to incorporate environmental values
  • Natural resource and environmental economics
  • Potential of environmental markets
  • Practical applications of economics to conservation

 How to catalyze and carry out successful community conservation projects

Instructors: Robert Horwich, Community Conservation and Scott Bernstein, Land Resources Program, Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (

The course includes six lectures interspersed with discussion and hands-on activities. First, the course will introduce participants to projects carried out over the past 21 years in nine countries. Second, it will discuss ten phases in catalyzing a community conservation project from initiation to termination of the catalyzing agent's role. Next, a method for project evaluation with 27 benchmarks as important objectives for a successful community conservation project will be discussed. A fourth topic will contrast major differences between small-scale community conservation projects and large integrated conservation and development projects. Contrasting the two will direct participants toward philosophies and concepts that will lead to better probability for success. Examples from Belize, the United States, and India will point out how small projects working at the community level can effect regional change from the bottom up. Finally, the course will discuss types of training needed for community groups to manage their own conservation projects. The course is for an audience with experience or interest in working with community conservation projects who want to make a difference using their conservation biology knowledge as active conservationists. It will provide the rudiments for how to initiate, carry out, monitor, and terminate one's role in a successful community conservation project.