November 2013

(Latest update: 20th January 2014)


Reducing Risks:  An Ecosystems Approach for Biodiversity and Human well-being

3-day UK training course, 4th – 6th February 2014

Snowdonia National Park, Wales


Course aims:

To advance understanding of ecosystems and the services they provide to the economy and to society so that participants are better equipped to contribute to decision making that maximises biodiversity and ecosystem benefits while efficiently delivering their own priorities.


  • Explore the relevance of biodiversity and ecosystems to our economy and society.
  • Examine how ecosystem services can be addressed within non-environment areas, especially economic development, social development, and public health.
  • Explore new approaches to managing land, water and living resources that benefit business and communities and help meet the UK's obligations under EU and UN and other global agreements.
  • To empower participants with the confidence for putting what you have learnt into practice in the work place.

Who should attend:

The course is aimed at students, scientists, policy makers and practitioners in environment, economics, public health, landscape management / land use planning, urban design, water management and related areas.


It is now widely recognised amongst scientists, economists and policy makers that the key global challenges of the 21st century are closely interlinked.  Recent years have seen mounting crises in public health, water and food security, energy, climate change, poverty, species loss and global economic stability.  They have also seen a change in how these issues are viewed, with a major shift in attitudes on sustainable development.  Increasingly, biological diversity – the sum total of Earth’s living natural resources - is recognised as a thread that ties all of these challenges together.


For many Western nations such as the UK and Ireland, these issues are closely related to land use planning – both in terms of how land, water and living resources are valued, and in how they are utilised. The conservation of natural habitats and sensitive landscapes is increasingly seen as a form of resource utilisation – ensuring that the important benefits which communities and economies derive from the natural world are preserved or enhanced, and used wisely.


Now in its sixth year, this three day training course will provide a general overview of the links between biodiversity, ecosystem services, land use and human health and well-being, with particular focus on case studies from around the UK and from Ireland. The course is open to anyone working in relevant areas of public policy, science, civil society and private enterprise in the UK and Ireland.


Lectures by experts in biodiversity science and policy, green infrastructure, public health management, land use planning and environmental economics will explore key issues and provide practical examples as to how they can be addressed from within various fields of work.  Working groups will provide an opportunity for participants to network and to explore how these areas might be addressed within their own fields of activity.  The theory aspects will be supported by a field trip to visit sites highlighting key issues within Wales.


The course is organised by Natural Resources Wales, the Wales Environment Research Hub and the COHAB Initiative Secretariat, with additional support from the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Snowdonia National Park Authority. 


Click here for further details of the course, venue and programme.

Course fee: UK STG £275  (approximtely EUR €330)  -  inclusive of overnight accommodation, breakfast, lunches, tea / coffee breaks and dinners.

Bookings: To secure a place on the cpurse, please contact Ms. Beth Cluer at the training centre:

Tel: +44 (0)1766 772600;  Fax: +44 (0)1766 772609;   Email:   plas (at)

Draft programme - 26th November 2013 (this is a draft programme for information only and is subject to change; please check back regularly for updates)

Day 1 – Tuesday 4th February

09:15   Overview – New perspectives on sustainable development (Conor Kretsch, COHAB Initiative Secretariat)

09:45   The evidence base – ecosystem and well being in the UK (Shaun Russell, Wales Environment Research Hub)

10:15   Question and answer session

10:30   Coffee

11:00   The Ecosystem Approach - Why it makes sense for governments (Sue Christie, Northern Ireland Environment Link)

11:30   Case Study: From Research to Action – the Skirling Project (Zoe Kemp, Scottish Natural Heritage)

12:00   Question and answer session

12:15    Lunch

13:15   Biodiversity, ecosystems and human well being in the UK (Conor Kretsch, COHAB Initiative Secretariat)

14:00   Case Study (public health):  The NHS Forest - a case study in sustanable healthcare (Ambra Burls, UNESCO UK Man and the Biosphere Urban Forum)

14:20   Case Study (mental health & well-being): Ecosystems and mental health in the UK (Ambra Burls, UNESCO UK Man and the Biosphere Urban Forum)

14:40   Question and Answer session

15:00   Tea

15:30   Workshop

17:00   Finish

Evening Session – Cultural services from ecosystems

Day 2 – Wednesday 5th February - Field visit

Visit to Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake, part of the River Dee catchment) - Exploring water management &regulation / forestry / agriculture / biodiversity / recreation / community well-being / public health

Day 3 – Thursday 6th February

09:00   The relationship between economics and ecosystems  (Conor Kretsch, COHAB Initiative Secretariat)

09:30   The importance of ecosystem resilience to ecosystems services (Jim Latham, Natural Resources Wales)

09:50   Green infrastructure and urban design  (Gary Grant, Independent Consultant)

10:10   Question and Answer session

10:30   Coffee

11:00   Case Study (Rural) - The Sustainable Catchment Management Programme (SCaMP) (Philip Austin, United Utilities)

11:30   Case Study (Urban) - Rainscapes  (Fergus O'Brien, Dwr Cymru)

12:00   Case Study (Economics) - Payments for Ecosystem Services: The River Fowey Improvement Auction (Ruth Welters Valuing Nature Network)

12:30   Mapping ecosystem services  (Tim Pagella, University of Bangor)

13:00   Summing up

13:15   Lunch and leave

For further details on the programme, please contact Ms. Anna Maria Palacios at the COHAB Secretariat (annamaria (dot) palacios (at)  or Ms. Julia Korn at Natural Resources Wales (Julia (dot) Korn (at)


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