German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Module 3: Conservation management in a spatial context

Habitat loss and degradation are major causes of biodiversity loss. Habitat conservation within protected areas and spatial planning for sustainable use of the entire landscape are therefore key approaches which conservation professionals need to know to address the loss of biodiversity.

The third module of the Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme will address this need by dealing with conservation management in protected areas and beyond, integrated land use planning, ecological networks, and also leadership skills.

The module familiarizes the participants with international standards for protected areas, best practice for protected area management and methods to measure and improve the effectiveness of protected areas. As designating protected areas is often only a first step, but not in itself sufficient to effectively conserve biodiversity, the group will take a closer look at governance and stakeholder participation as important emerging themes in the protected area field. Protected areas need to be joined into wider protected area systems and ecological networks in order to conserve viable populations of target species, safeguard ecosystem services, and ensure resilience to local disturbances and global environmental shifts. In other words, conservationists need to look beyond individual protected areas, and ultimately beyond protected areas in general, in order to take effective conservation action. Module 3 therefore also introduces approaches and methods to plan protected area systems and ecological networks in a systematic way, and to use landscape planning to integrate conservation objectives into the planning and management of 100% of the landscape.

During the third module participants have the opportunity to

  • Familiarize themselves with basic terms, concepts and international best practice tools for the design, planning and participatory management of protected areas and national protected area systems.
  • Acquire knowledge about the use of spatial planning tools to support sustainable landscape management and biodiversity conservation outside and between protected areas.
  • Practice the application of international best practice tools to their working environments and identify opportunities for the application of protected area and spatial planning tools in their home countries.
  • Understand the importance of leadership in conservation and improve their leadership skills.
  • Continue developing and improving their transfer projects, based on feedback to the work plans already elaborated and exchange with other fellows.

Technical training areas

  • Basic concepts and terms, history, designations and IUCN categories of protected areas.
  • Protected area management planning using the IUCN management planning guidelines.
  • Protected area governance and participation of stakeholders in protected area management.
  • Assessing and improving the management effectiveness of protected areas, including an introduction to key tools, such as the METT and RAPPAM tools for assessing management effectiveness.
  • National protected area system design, planning and development.
  • Application of spatial and landscape planning to support sustainable ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation throughout the entire landscape.

Management training areas

  • Leadership skills.


During Module 3, fellows will presumably visit the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, which is also part of a trans-boundary protected area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a Ramsar site, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and a Marine Protected Area. The support of the administration of the National Park to the programme is gratefully acknowledged. Additional shorter excursions will take the participants to South East Rugen Biosphere Reserve.

Photo: S. Bücs

Logo of the Klaus-Toepfer-Fellowship-Programme

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