Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to provide the basis of knowledge on problems that afflict both biological diversity and ecosystems, and provide the most recent tools for their conservation and management.
It is necessary to have obtained basic knowledge of Botany, Ecology, Genetics, Zoology.
Course contents summary
Biological conservation concepts
The value of biological diversity
Threats to biological diversity
Conservation at the population level
Conservation at the community/ecosystem level
Part I: Introduction
Populations, resources, deterioration of the environment and pollution
Cultural changes, Sustainable development and biological diversity
Part II: Biological conservation concepts
Biological conservation, biological diversity
Conservation and evolution: the extinction process
Part III: The value of biological diversity
Direct and indirect economic values of diversity
The ethical value of biological diversity
Part IV: Threats to biological diversity
Loss of biological diversity: past rates of extinction, human-caused extinctions, island
biogeography and modern extinction rates, local extinctions
Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation
Forest fragmentation and conservation of biological diversity
Habitat fragmentation in the temperate zone
Exotic species introdutions, disease, and overexploitation
Endemic species, the legal status of rare species
Vulnerability to extinction
Part V: Conservation at the population level
The problems of small populations: loss of genetic variability, demographic variation,
environmental variation, extinction vortices
Population biology of endangered species
Ex situ conservation strategies
Establishing new populations
Part VI: Conservation at the community/ecosystem
Methods for establishing, designing, and managing protected areas
Conservation and human societies: current state of species and habitats protection
Lecture notes of the teacher. The teacher suggests also the following books:
Miller G.T., 1997. Ambiente, Risorse, Sostenibilità. Piccin, Padova.
Primack R.B., 2003. Conservazione della natura. Zanichelli, Bologna.
Lectures with the aid of video projections; exercises and examples.
Assessment methods and criteria
Two written tests consisting of 15 questions each of parts of the program carried out or, at the student's choice, only final written test of 15 questions on the entire course program. The questions require open answers, free. The time left for each test is set at 1 hour.