Five students currently reading for the degree of M.Sc. in Natural Environment and Resources Management (NERM) with the Institute of Earth Systems participated in a field trip to several conservation areas in Tuscany, Italy between 7 to 13 September 2021. The students were accompanied by members of the Institute’s academic and technical staff.
The field trip forms part of an elective thematic area focusing on biodiversity conservation. Through working at a number of different protected sites, the students were able to examine the application in practice of theories and approaches to conservation management which were discussed during the earlier part of the course.
The group visited the coastal Parco Regionale della Maremma, the marine/coastal Parco dell ‘ Arcipelago Toscano, a UNESCO Geopark (Parco delle Colline Metallifere Grossetane), as well as a former protected area (Parco di Montioni) that has recently lost its protected status. This allowed the students to observe a range of conservation challenges, and to identify and assess the management issues being experienced and the strategies being employed in each particular context. Among the specific topics covered were the effects of climate change on protected areas, the need to find a balance between accommodating visitors and safeguarding sensitive habitats, and the concepts of wildlife corridors and ecological networks as mechanisms to protect regional biodiversity.
The field trip’s intensive programme included lecturer briefings, meetings with local park personnel, hands-on fieldwork, guided tours, as well as a number of student-led presentation and discussion sessions.
The M.Sc. in Natural Environment and Resources Management is an intensive 3-semester programme offered by the Institute of Earth Systems. Anyone interested in applying for this degree in 2022 or in other programmes offered by the Institute is invited to contact us for further information.