Conservation Economics Initiative

Conservation Strategy Fund and Duke University have launched a collaborative partnership to create a Conservation Economics Initiative, thanks to generous grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation. The Initiative will make economics training more readily available to conservation professionals around the world by combining the academic capabilities of a university leader in the environmental field with CSF’s agility and experience in delivering training to conservation practitioners.

The initiative will improve the quality and quantity of training currently available, develop new course content, and connect Duke faculty and students with environmental practitioners in developing countries.

The Conservation Economics Initiative will:

• Develop cutting edge curriculum for conservation economics.
• Build online teaching capabilities to fulfill the growing demand for economics training by conservation professionals in developing countries.
• Create an online repository of syllabi, lectures, exercises, simulation materials, readings, evaluation forms, sample schedules, an instructor directory, photos, videos, testimonials and how-to guides for course implementation. These resources will be accessible to training teams from anywhere in the world.
• Develop a Training Partnership Network to scale up and replicate CSF’s training model in other regions of the world.
• Foster collaboration between developed country academics and conservation professionals, economists, and regional organizations in developing countries.
• Provide hands-on learning opportunities that link university students and faculty with decision-makers facing real-world conservation challenges. Internships and post-doctoral opportunities will connect young economists to people and places where they can make a tangible difference and will build local capacity in developing countries.
• Create a “core” faculty familiar with the needs of course participants coming from diverse backgrounds and skill sets.

Progress to Date

In 2014, we successfully delivered two CSF Training Partner Network courses in Mexico and Bhutan, two countries not currently served by CSF offices. The one-week Bhutan course, Analysis of Infrastructure from a Conservation Economics Perspective, was delivered from May 12-16, 2014 in Bumthang, Bhutan with our Training Partner the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for the Environment (UWICE), and hosted 22 participants from Bhutan, Nepal and India. The two-week Mexico course, Herramientas económicas para la conservación de la Naturaleza en México y Sistema Arrecifal Mesoamericano, took place from June 9–20, 2014 at the Mexico City campus of our Training Partner the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and brought together 32 participants from throughout Mexico.

CSF has been working with Duke faculty from the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions to develop the strategy, model, curriculum and pedagogy for an online Coastal Conservation Economics course. The course will be offered between January and May 2015, and will include a combination of recorded lectures, online video lessons, webinars, experimental games, exercises, readings, interactive web conference discussion sessions, quizzes and exams. Students who successfully finish the course will be awarded a certificate of completion from CSF and >a href="">Duke’s Environmental Leadership Program (DEL).

As an extension of our distance learning efforts, we have also developed a bi-monthly webinar series with Duke University's Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership. In addition, we have developed online video lessons on key environmental economics topics, and these are forming a key part of our online distance learning strategy.

The CEI online Training Resource Hub is in development, and will contain resources in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French for CSF training partner teams. The Administrative Hub will house standardized templates and how-to guides to assist CSF staff and partners around the world with course planning, implementation and follow-up, and the Curriculum Hub will contain a curated set of CSF course lectures, exercises, interactive games, quizzes, and reading materials.