MCCS 521: Conservation for Development Professionals: Strategies for Implementing Biodiversity Action Plans for the Private Sector

Development in Canada   Photo by F. Dallmeier


The Center for Conservation and Sustainability (CCS) of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute conducts research and monitoring to study, understand, predict, and integrate biodiversity conservation needs with development priorities of large infrastructure projects striving to be leaders in their areas of operation.

The CCS Biodiversity Action Plan Course focuses on implementing best practices in biodiversity management for the private sector.  The participants will be introduced to key concepts in managing biodiversity-related impacts from industry, such as biodiversity assessments, impact analysis, mitigation through the lens of the ‘mitigation hierarchy’, biodiversity offsets, biodiversity monitoring and management plans.  Concepts in biodiversity management will be tied together through the development of Biodiversity Actions Plans (BAPs), which provide a framework for carrying out mitigation, monitoring and management actions at any stage of project development.  The usage of the term “BAP” varies considerably between industry sectors and also between the private and public sectors.  For this course, participants will focus on the development of the BAP for private sector projects and how it could be used to provide a framework for delivering conservation actions on-the-ground.

Participants will also be introduced to the business case for biodiversity and why biodiversity and ecosystem services matter to companies as well as the changing trends in this field as development organizations, conservation organizations, IUCN and even the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are shifting focus and recognizing the role that industry could play in managing and protecting biodiversity across landscapes.  Participants will be introduced to biodiversity-related impacts and mitigation practices through case studies.

Other important aspects of the course include the definition of mitigations through the ‘mitigation hierarchy’, which prioritizes avoidance of impacts, followed by minimization, restoration and offsets.  Biodiversity offsets are becoming a major focus of some extractive industries, and the course will offer the latest perspectives on best practices on offsets, most notably in the context of developing countries.  Given that offsets comprise a set of conservation outcomes to be delivered over the long-term, BAPs are particularly important in this context.

The course, taught by Francisco Dallmeier, will include guest speakers who have demonstrated experience in their field including scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and policy leaders at financial institutions such as the International Finance Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank.



August 8-12, 2016


Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, USA

Application Procedure

The Biodiversity Action Plan course is offered through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation as a professional training course for 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Applications should be submitted using our Online Application Page. Before beginning our online application, please have .pdf or .doc versions of your updated CV, a Personal Statement of Interest and Qualifications (maximum 350 words), and a letter of recommendation from someone familiar with your academic/professional work. You’ll be asked to attach these with your application.

For first consideration, apply before June 15, 2016

Course Costs

The total cost for this course is $2282 (course fee of $1700, single-room housing and dining package of $582).  If you opt for housing in a shared double room, total cost = $2081. This price includes:
• Registration fees
• Instruction, course manual, textbooks and other course materials
• Pick-up and drop-off at Dulles International airport, and transportation for course activities
• Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons – Dining begins with dinner on Sunday, August 7 and ends with brunch on Saturday, August 13.
• Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared or single room with bathroom.  Lodging begins Sunday night, August 7 and check out is Saturday, August 13.


Local participants may elect to stay off campus, waive the housing and dining package, and commute to this course. Meals in the Dining Commons can be purchased individually as needed.

For more information