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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2690 Managing Biodiversity

10 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: David Williams

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

This module assumes a basic knowledge of ecology (AS-level Biology or equivalent)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Biodiversity is the variation of life on earth. In this module we will explore what biodiversity is, why it is important, how it is changing, and what we can do about it. By the end of the module, you should have a clear overview of the major threats to biodiversity, from direct mechanisms to ultimate drivers; what the consequences of biodiversity declines could be for people; and how different practical, economic, and political strategies can be used to slow or reverse these declines. We will combine ecology, economics, qualitative social sciences, and politics to build an interdisciplinary understanding of these issues. A particular emphasis is using this interdisciplinary perspective to critically analyse issues, explore trade-offs, and critically assess management plans for conserving biodiversity and the benefits it provides.


By the end of the module, students will be better able to:

1. Understand the concept of biodiversity and its importance to people
2. Understand why biodiversity is changing across the world, and what the consequences of these changes could be.

3. Assess different conservation responses to biodiversity problems, from international policy/legislation to local protected areas.

4. Critically evaluate different ways we may prioritise conservation responses and actions, and how conservation can lead to trade-offs and conflicts.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will be better able to:

1. Describe the concept of biodiversity and its importance to people
2. Understand key theories from conservation ecology in relation to biodiversity management
3. Assess the key challenges to biodiversity and the potential consequences of biodiversity loss
4. Critically evaluate the interaction of agreements, policy and legislation on biodiversity at international to local scale
5. Understand and critically evaluate management strategies within biodiversity conservation

Skills outcomes
This module puts considerable emphasis on:

Taking a broad perspective on environmental issues, not just focusing on the primary objective, but also examining secondary and unintended consequences

Being able to critically assess biodiversity management plans and actions: understanding the real-world pressure that decision makers are under, why they make the choices they do, and whether these are justified or not

Understanding how different actors at different scales use different approaches to managing biodiversity, from international agreements to local management plans, and how these scales interact.


1. What biodiversity is
2. The importance of biodiversity to humans
3. Threats to biodiversity and consequences of biodiversity change
4. Possible conservation/management responses, how to prioritise these, and their potential to lead to conflict between actors
5. An understanding of biodiversity management plan development and assessment

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours85.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

12 hours: watching pre-recorded videos in preparation for lectures (12 x 1 hour)
12 hours: background reading for lectures (12 x 1 hour)
1 hours: background reading for fieldwork
60 hours: preparation and completion of portfolio

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Continuous feedback will be provided through interactive lecture sessions—students should take on board informal feedback from both lecturers and fellow students during these sessions! Formal feedback on student work will be available following submission of both summative assessments: a poster and an essay. Students will also be able to get feedback from lecturers after lectures and during office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PortfolioCould include group and/or individual work; oral and / or written components.100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/05/2024


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