Study Conservation issues and learn how to manage natural environments

Develop a foundation for managing conservation of different environments. It reviews basic ecology and environmental problems such as pollution and land degradation before considering varying aspects of conservation.

People are more environmentally aware than ever before in human history. We understand our environment better (both man made and natural), but the environment is also more degraded, and being exploited at a faster rate than ever before.

Most people agree that the environment needs to be conserved and managed better; but that intention is very often at odds with the economic desire to exploit natural resources.

A lot of people do work in environmental management; but these jobs are clearly not making the impact upon environmental conservation and restoration that we might hope for.

This course provides a foundation for working at jobs that probably have not yet been conceived, but because of the current state of the environment; this is a highly probable area of employment growth.

 Something needs to change!

  • We may need more people working on environmental management 
  • We may need to a greater understanding of environmental management
  •  Those who manage the environment may need to manage it differently, if current strategies are not working. 

It is likely that environmental awareness will continue to increase and environmental degradation will also continue increasing; until finally we reach a point at which the need to change becomes greater than the need to exploit. As we approach that point, the way we manage the environment is likely to keep changing, and the quantity and nature of jobs available in this industry will increase and change.


There are 8 lessons as follows:

1. An Introduction To Ecology

  • Spaceship Earth
  • Conservation; Use of Resources, ecological value, economic value, genetic diversity
  • Overkill
  • Urbanisation
  • Basic Ecology
  • The Ecosystem
  • Constituents for the Ecosystem
  • Ecological Concepts
  • The Web of Life; climate, producers, consumers, decomposers
  • The Food Web
  • Habitat and Niche
  • Humans in the Environment
  • Energy Flow
  • Imbalances
  • The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
  • Climate Change
  • El Nino
  • International Efforts to Counter Climate Change; IPCC, UNFCC, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Summit, Worldwatch Institute, etc
  • Terminology

2. A Perspective On Environmental Problems

  • History of Conservation
  • Natural Resources; Renewable, Non Renewable
  • Goals of Conservation
  • History from Industrial Revolution to WWII
  • WW2 and Post War Period
  • International Conservation
  • Deforestation
  • Loss of Agricultural Land
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Endangered Water Supplies
  • Exhaustion of Non Renewable Resources
  • Political and Economic Issues of Conservation
  • Environmental Damage in Free Economies
  • Pollution in Planned Economies
  • Supply of Resources
  • Limits to Growth

3. Pollution and Industry Effects On The Environment

  • Nature and Scope of Pollution
  • Industrial Pollution
  • Types of Pollutants
  • Effects of Pollution
  • Nuclear Pollution
  • Sick Building Syndrome
  • Asbestos Fibre
  • Urbanisation
  • Energy Alternatives
  • Deforestation
  • Nuclear Energy, Hydro Power, Solar Energy, Wind, Waste Power

4. Water and Soil

  • Introduction
  • Dams
  • River Catchments
  • Wetlands
  • Water Pollution
  • Recycling
  • Desalination
  • Water Environments
  • The Hydrological Cycle; Infiltration, Rainfall, Evaporation, Effective Rainfall, etc
  • Water and Plant Growth
  • Keeping Water Clean
  • Sewerage Treatment
  • Soil; pH, texture, structure
  • Land and Soil Degradation;
  • Loss of soil fertility
  • Erosion
  • Salinity
  • Soil compaction
  • Soil acidification
  • Build up of dangerous chemicals

5. Vegetation Conservation and Management

  • Value of Trees
  • Commercial Value of Trees
  • Rain forests
  • Forest Systems and Biomass
  • Forest Conservation
  • Trees and the Environment
  • Environmental consequences of Deforestation
  • Afforestation
  • Classification of Forests
  • Desertification
  • Acid Rain
  • Environmental Weeds
  • Strategies for Preservation of Native Grasslands

6. Animal Conservation & Management

  • The Human Animal
  • Urbanisation
  • Wildlife
  • Threatened Species
  • Invasive Species
  • Wildlife Management; approaches, preservation, conservation, goals
  • Wildlife Habitats
  • Water Management for Wildlife
  • Wildlife Surveys

7. Marine Conservation and Management

  • Estuaries
  • Fisheries; stock management, assessment, biomass, stock management methods
  • Conservation of Sandy Shores

8. The Future

  • Tourism and the Environment
  • Ecotourism
  • Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • Framework for ESD

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Course Duration: 100 hours of self paced study


What you will do in this Course

Here are some examples of what you may do:

  • Describe ecological processes and associated sustainable management techniques.
  • Investigate a specific environmental problem and provide possible solutions.
  • Evaluate the relationship between industry and pollution.
  • Discuss principles of water and soil management.
  • Select a specific type of plant that is endangered or an environmental problem and submit a case study.
  • Explain animal conservation strategies, including protection legislation, breeding programs and habitat conservation.
  • Discuss a specific issue that applies to marine conservation.
  • Develop profiles of three different conservation and/or environment lobby group organisations and procedures used in promoting their cause.


Conservation is the wise use of resources of the earth, in order that they will be able to support or sustain, the generations that are yet to come. This can be done in many ways and in different situations. For example:

  • National Parks - The protection of the ecosystems, including endangered species of flora and fauna.
  • Agriculture - Sustainable techniques such as the management of soil erosion and water catchment areas.
  • Industry - Pollution control measures should be used.
  • People - Every person should help to collect and recycle waste.

These examples show that conservation involves the use of resources so that the environment is protected and maintained, and that the ecosystems are rehabilitated and restored.


Ecological Value

Ecology is the study of the interactions and relationships among all living and non-living things on earth. Ecology teaches us that there is an independence among all living and non-living things.

All things are connected, similar to the blood that unites one family. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

The ecological reasons for conservation show the need for caring for the life support systems of the planet. For example, the greenhouse effect, gives one instance of the breakdown in a planet life support system. This is the maintenance of the carbon dioxide balance in the atmosphere of the earth. The increased combustion of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, gas and petroleum has caused an alarming increase in the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The effect of this has been made worse by deforestation that has taken place all over the planet. The overall effect is an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This causes a retention of heat in the earth's atmosphere, which, in turn, results in an escalation of the ambient temperatures.


Economic Value

Many world economic structures depend on natural resources. Industries such as tourism, forestry, fishing and agriculture rely on the healthy functioning of the natural environment, There is hardly a productive industry that does not rely upon a natural resource.


Healthy Ecosystems

If a natural resource is damaged in any way, industries that rely on it will suffer, For example, over- fishing of fish stocks in many areas has dramatically affected the fishing industry. This has caused dramatic drops in fish populations, reduced harvesting of fish, and major drops in incomes. This has provided less spending money for the fisherman, which in turn, affected the other suppliers of goods and materials to this industry. One action can trigger off a chain of undesirable effects. Therefore, the health of a whole ecosystem, rather than of just a resource within it, must be considered.


Genetic Diversity

Flora and fauna contain an untapped source of genetic diversity. This may be valuable in plant and animal breeding programs, or in the very survival of the species in the wild. Plants are also chemical factories which can manufacture many complex and unusual substances. Many of these substances are potential medicines which can benefit mankind. A few examples of existing drugs that are based on plants are:

  • Quinine - An anti-malarial medicine. It is made from a substance which is contained in the yellow cinchona tree.
  • Aspirin - A common drug which has been developed from a substance supplied from the bark of a willow tree.
  • The Rosy Periwinkle - This plant produces substances which have proved to be effective in treating Leukemia.
  • Aesthetic Value - Not only are there economic and ecological values to the conservation of resources, but nature also provides the beauty and peacefulness of the mountains, the sea, and the bush. Nature provides these areas where people can enjoy their recreational time, and become revitalised.




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Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

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