Building capacity in biodiversity conservation, ecosystems services and climate change

Links in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change: teaching materials and building capacity

  Teaching Materials (11 chapters):


Ecosystems provide numerous benefits -ecosystem services- which are underpinned by biodiversity. Climate change has increased vulnerability and reduced resilience of ecosystems globally with potentially far reaching impacts on human well-being. There is therefore a need to foster a greater understanding of the links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change to enhance leadership at a local and global scale.

The Project

To foster a greater understanding of the links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change, this project aims to develop training materials and tools to effectively bridge the knowledge gap of early- and mid-career conservation practitioners and business leaders with the potential to facilitate change at a local level, where the greatest impacts of climate change are felt. Training topics focus on climate change impacts on ecosystem services and natural solutions to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Project objectives:

  1. Produce a generic resource pack of training materials for various target groups, including early-career conservation practitioners, mid-career conservation practitioners and private sector leaders.
  2. Target different groups within Cambridge Conservation Initiative's (CCI) ambit to increase awareness and knowledge of the links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change by delivering training courses on the topic and training 60 individuals over the life of the project.
  3. Facilitate ongoing learning, knowledge sharing and networking among each of the applicant organisations.


“The workshop strategically linked Biodiversity conservation in relation to impacts of climate mate change and Ecosystem-services. The programme has not only taught/introduced us both theoretical knowledge about ecosystem-services-impact of climate change on biodiversity, and climate change adaptation, it has strengthened my understanding of these issues through learning international and national case studies, Climate Change Adaptation project tools and adaptation case studies.” Basam, workshop attendee from Tibet, China.


How this project came about

The conservation organisations involved in the project are all directly or indirectly involved in capacity building. The experience borne on the subject matters is diverse working with varied target groups. There was a common recognition of a steady debate and information accumulation at the international scene on climate change, ecosystem services and how they are linked or impact on biodiversity conservation. Although this was steadily building up at the international level there was far less support at the local, sub-national or national level. These aided a common desire to design capacity building materials for the target groups working in the biodiversity conservation front-line to use at site level. This will empower them to engage with local stakeholders at various levels informed by well synthesised materials easy to comprehend and toned-down from the jargon often found on literature used at international scene.



  1. Expanded pool of experts involved in the development of the synopsis framework from thirteen to twenty-two from the nine institutions involved in the project.
  2. A synopsis framework on links between subject matters was developed identifying 10 key technical topics for the target groups.
  3. Talk delivered on the project is contributions to capacity building on ecosystem services to a CCI forum that brought together projects funded under the auspices of the collaborative funds and working on the subject.
  4. Workshop training materials on 10 key technical topics developed on subject matters for target groups.
  5. Training workshop on ‘understanding and valuing ecosystem services’ delivered to conservation practioners in Africa at Arusha, Tanzania on 18th to 22nd June 2011 by Tropical Biology Association.
  6. Training of Trainers workshop on the ‘links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change’ delivered to 16 early and mid-career conservation practitioners in Kunming, China on 2nd to 5th May 2012 by the Conservation Leadership Programme.



  1. Greater understanding of how the conservation practitioners work at a local scale (site level) is connected to national studies on climate change and ecosystem services.
  2. Trainees to the two national workshops in Africa and Asia developed new skills on using freely available tools to test for climate change vulnerability, valuing ecosystem services, designing climate change adaptation plans within for conservation projects and evaluating national adaptation plans for biodiversity relevance.
  3. Collaboration amongst Chinese conservation scientists started to investigate if climate change is a factor influencing the east-wards range expansion into China for the Asian Open-billed Stork (Anastomus oscitans) since 2006.
  4. Some participants to the trainings have passed on the learning from the workshops to their peers.
  5. Some training participants are in the process of designing human and biodiversity adaptation plans on their conservation projects and initiatives.
  6. Workshop participants were exposed to national climate related data that can inform in designing biodiversity related research linked to ecosystem services and or climate change.

1. Introduction to
teaching materials


2. Biodiversity


3. Ecosystem services


4. Climate change


5. Valuing nature


6. Interactions


7. Impacts


8. Reducing impacts


9. Ecosystem-based


10. Forest-based

11. Policy



Partners – CCI

BirdLife International : BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote sustainability in the use of natural resources.

Fauna & Flora International : Fauna & Flora International (FFI) acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, delivering global and regional programmes of conservation and community projects.


Tropical Biology Association : Tropical Biology Association is dedicated to building the capacity and expertise of people and institutions to conserve and manage biodiversity in tropical regions. Its network spans 40 countries.


UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre : The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental environmental organisation. The Centre delivers scientific analyses to the UN, multi-lateral environmental agreements, national governments, organisations and companies to use in the development and implementation of their policies and decisions.


Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (University of Cambridge) : The Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) works with business, government and civil society to build the capacity of leaders to address global sustainability challenges. Seminars, leadership groups and partnerships aim to transform public and private sector policies and practices and build greater understanding of our interdependence with the natural world.


Department of Geography (University of Cambridge) : The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate change. The department provides the Masters Programme in Conservation Leadership. The department also hosts the Scott Polar Research Institute.


Partners – non-CCI


Conservation International : Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people.


Wildlife Conservation Society : The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild lands through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks. These activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in sustainable interaction on both a local and a global scale. WCS is committed to this work because they believe it essential to the integrity of life on Earth.


Conservation Leadership Programme : The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership of four conservation organisations (BirdLife International, Conservation International, Flora & Fauna International, Wildlife Conservation Society) and BP plc working to promote the development of future biodiversity conservation leaders by providing a range of awards, training and mentoring support via an active international network of practitioners.


CIESM - The Mediterranean Science Commission : The Commission was created to promote international research in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. CIESM acts as a focus for the exchange of ideas, the communication of scientific information and the development of scientific standards across the Basin.

Funded by:

Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) : The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK.


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Photos: Main: Ajith, U.; 1: Community Centred Conservation (C3). 2: Espadarana Andina & Aldemar Acevedo. 3: Michael Foley Photography; 4: Danilo Rizzuti; 5: baswallet; 6: David Thomas. 7: Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 8: whologwhy; 9: Burung Indonesia. 10: CIFOR; 11: Anirban Dutta Gupta.

Webpages: Shaun Hurrell.