Global priorities for developing capacity in biodiversity conservation
I'm working with several collaborators to assess the global status and future priorities of higher education in biodiversity conservation (university courses and degree programs). The goal of the project is to understand where and how this capacity can be improved, in order to advance the science and practice of conservation where it is most needed.
The highest priorities for improving education in biodiversity conservation will be those countries that have high conservation value but relatively little current capacity in conservation education. To limit the scope of the survey, we are focusing only on countries that meet all of the following criteria:
1. Fall within the top 33% of all countries in per-country bird species richness (data from BirdLife International here) OR contain within its border at least 33% of the total area of one of the 35 biodiversity hotspots (described here);
2. Fall below the top 33% but above the bottom 10% of all countries in the UNDP Education Index (described here) AND fall above the bottom 10% of proportional government expenditure on education (data from The World Bank here);
3. Do not have any institutions of higher education listed among the top-200 most productive affiliations for publications in the discipline (based on a Web of Science topic search for “biodiversity conservation” covering the past 10 years).
Given the above criteria, we have selected 48 countries on which to focus this project. Using a Qualtrics online survey tool, we are in the process of surveying select university faculty and conservation professionals in each focal country, to better understand the current landscape and future needs in conservation education. Stay tuned to learn more about our results soon...