Conservation Science and the Importance of Biodiversity

Programme Descriptions:

Biodiversity is an essential part of our lives, not only enriching it (for example through the provision of cultural services) but filtering water, stabilising soil, providing pest control for crop pests and disease vectors, and providing crucial services such as pollination and seed dispersal. Here we will first discuss what is biodiversity, how native species enrich our lives, and why they are important for providing these key services, which are crucial to food security and various other facets of human life. We will then discuss why biodiversity is threatened, and what the implications of the loss of diversity means for us, including how it may alter the probability of extreme events (i.e. tsunamis), and the likelihood of zoonotic spillover and thus future epidemics and pandemics. We then discuss integrated solutions that can balance human needs and conservation, enabling more efficient management to provide a more secure and biosecure future. In the process of these discussions we will touch on various facets of human life, food systems, energy systems, development, and explore the consequences of unsustainable management as well as solutions to better manage these systems to effect better outcomes for all. We will also cover “Nature-based solutions” as an approach to dealing with many of the many societal challenges of today.

Moderate homework exercises will be expected to ensure components are understood and can be interpreted correctly.

Learning Objectives

After taking this program, participants should be able to:

  • Understand how humans rely on biodiversity, and the importance of ecosystem resilience.
  • Understand how unsustainable management has major implications economically as well as environmentally
  • Determine how different sectors have different risks and vulnerabilities associated with sustainable management
  • Be able to develop appropriate solutions to optimise sustainability and apply new tools to provide better outcomes, including nature-based solutions

Programme Key topics:

  • Biodiversity and sustainability
  • Biodiversity threats
  • Supply-chain tracking, sustainable agriculture, ecological civilisation, integrative conservation
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Sustainable development

Apply now:
https://summerinstitute.hku.hk/hs-programmes/siss2212/