International Economic Tools for Conservation Course - 2018

Location (address)
Berkeley, California

Region & Country
1 week 5 days
Course Type
Two-Week International Course

Our 20th annual international Economic Tools for Conservation course was held from July 2-13, 2018 at the University of California Berkeley. We were proud to host 25 conservation professionals from 20 different institutions in 23 countries.

“I feel like I learned more practical knowledge and skills from this two week course than I did over the course of 4 micro and resource economics classes at the university level." -Alice Thomas-Smyth, Environmental Defense Fund, USA




Conservation Strategy Fund is offering its annual international training course, Economic Tools for Conservation from July 2-13, 2018 at the University of California Berkeley. CSF’s Economic Tools courses are regarded as the premier training events in applied economics for environmental professionals. We are proud to partner with the University of California Berkeley, widely recognized as the top public university in the world and a leader in applying environmental science and policy to conservation and development challenges. Our program is hosted by the International and Executive Programs at UC Berkeley.

During the comprehensive two-week session, participants learn to use economics to be more strategic and successful in their work, and experience a transformational shift in how they view environmental issues. The course covers economic fundamentals, natural resource economics, valuation of ecosystem services, environmental policies, communication and negotiation techniques, and hands-on experience with cost-benefit analysis of projects and policies. These skills are crucial at a time when global-scale environmental changes are being driven by a diversity of economic factors, and when conservation leaders are striving to harness opportunities to reward the preservation of ecosystem services.

“The experience from this course is immeasurable and definitely leaves me in a better position to make a significant contribution to environmental management in Uganda and the world at large. The knowledge and skills imparted by CSF have really transformed my thinking about environmental economics and how it relates to development programs. I, now more than ever, believe that it's time for environmentalists to work closely with other professionals and economists to create the impact that we all desire - a clean and healthy environment.” – Carol Kagaba Kairumba, Uganda, 2016 Course Graduate

Click here to APPLY.


Information for Participants

This course is for people at the forefront of conservation challenges, including managers of conservation programs and protected areas, directors of non-governmental organizations, and representatives of government agencies. Applicants from a variety of disciplines such as biology, forestry, law, anthropology, or economics are encouraged to apply. Previous training in economics is beneficial, but not essential. Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English.

Year after year, participants give CSF’s Economic Tools for Conservation course highest marks in terms of content, instructors, staff and the overall course experience. Our courses also create significant and lasting impacts. Alumni report that:

The course influenced how I approach my conservation work – 95%

The training was one of the most useful short courses I have attended – 92%

I continue to benefit from my CSF training – 90%

"I enjoyed the course tremendously. The content was great and I really enjoyed how it progressed from fundamentals to applied examples. The teaching was excellent and the other students were also great - lots of fun and a good networking opportunity." – Laura Whitford, Australia, 2017 Course Graduate


Participants gain:

  • An essential foundation in basic economic concepts and language.
  • Insight into the drivers of environmental problems, including market and institutional failures.
  • Skills to evaluate the costs and benefits of natural resource management and development decisions, including values of ecosystem services.
  • The ability to formulate more effective strategies and policies for conservation.
  • Invaluable practice using communication and negotiation techniques to articulate environmental values in a language that communities, businesses, and governments can understand.
  • A close network with fellow conservation professionals through the unique CSF Residence Program on the Berkeley campus.

“I got exactly what I hoped for - a better understanding of economics and how we can apply this knowledge to conservation and social justice goals.” – Denise Louie, USA, 2017 Course Graduate


The total cost for the two-week program is $5000 per participant. This fee covers the following:

  • Instruction by economic experts
  • CSF course facilitators and residential staff
  • All course materials and supplies
  • Exclusive access to CSF online workspace with course reading and materials
  • 13 nights lodging in residential housing on the UC Berkeley campus
  • All meals and coffee breaks during course
  • Field trip
  • Travel health insurance, if not provided by employer
  • Lifetime membership in CSF’s global Alumni Network

Accepted applicants are responsible for seeking their own funding from employers, government, sponsors or other funding sources to cover their course fees and travel expenses.

Please review our training program payment policies.

“The course is definitely the most cost effective way of making environmentalists literate in economics.” – Mohamed Bakarr, USA/Sierra Leone, 2016 Course Graduate

For information about grant opportunities, click here.


Click here to see a sample course schedule.


  • Market theory: Supply, demand, market equilibrium, and competition.
  • Externalities, market failures and public goods: Why markets are inefficient when it comes to environmental protection.

Natural Resource Economics

  • Capital theory: The time value of money, interest rates and how they influence the use of natural resources.
  • Market and institutional failures related to open access, public goods and property rights
  • Forestry and fishery economics, optimal harvesting and policy options.
  • Economic solutions to natural resource management challenges including taxes, incentives, and establishing property rights (private or communal) for open access resources.
  • Exercises and instruction focused on game theory and forest policy negotiation skills.

Environmental Policy

  • An overview of various environmental policies to correct the problems of externalities, public goods and market failures.
  • An overview of the role of environmental policies such as command and control legislation versus economic instruments for conservation such as taxes, subsidies, and tradable permit systems.

Environmental Valuation and Ecosystem Services

  • Overview of links between ecosystems services and human benefits
  • Environmental values, the methods used to calculate them, and how these methods are best used in various countries.
  • Exercises to identify relevant ecosystem services and appropriate valuation methods.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Case studies evaluating the economic feasibility of small-scale and large-scale projects, including incorporation of externalities and sensitivity analysis.
  • Effective strategies for presenting economic analysis results.

“The delivery mix of the course is outstanding - case studies, lectures, and group exercises. The facilitators are extremely well grounded and have a very diverse background which added a lot of depth to the course.” – Amos Thiongo, Kenya, 2017 Course Graduate


Experts in environmental economics with extensive field experience and an understanding of real-world conservation challenges join CSF each year to teach Economic Tools for Conservation. Our instructors are drawn from CSF staff as well as leading academic and international institutions such as University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Hawai’i, University of Brasilia, the World Bank and our partner, UC Berkeley. Links to individual instructor profiles are provided at the bottom of this page.

"For non-economists, this course provides very useful hands-on concepts, and for economists and finance professionals, it helps build a bridge between numbers and nature.” – Daniela Pogliani, Peru, 2017 Course Graduate


The course is held on the University of California’s flagship campus in the heart of Berkeley, California. Situated in the East Bay Area near San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the beautiful 1,232-acre campus includes world-renowned research facilities, a large ecological reserve, and botanical gardens.

Participants enjoy a “back to university” experience in the residential facilities on the UC Berkeley campus. CSF staff will facilitate evening programs in our own lounge area to work on course exercises and case studies, and help participants give presentations about their work and home countries. The residence hall is walking distance to classes, dining facilities, and campus attractions.


Participants should also budget for the following expenses:

  • International and regional travel to and from UC Berkeley.
  • U.S. visa fees - usually around $140. Please apply for a B1 business visa, as our short training course is considered as a professional conference or workshop.
  • Airport transportation to and from Berkeley - about $35 each way from either the San Francisco or San Jose airport.
  • Accommodation before and after the course. 
  • Transportation and lunch during day off - approximately $50.
  • Other incidentals - $100.

“As a scientist, I have the social responsibility to provide the best scientific information available to stakeholders and decision-makers, so they can make informed decisions about the management of natural resources. The CSF course provided me with new economic tools to evaluate the costs and benefits that human actions could have on nature and society.” – Mauricio Castrejón, Mexico/Ecuador, 2017 Course Graduate

Apply today!

Another Training Opportunity from our Partners at IEP

If you are interested in the CSF Economic Tools course, you might also want to check out the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), organized by IEP at UC Berkeley. For the last 16 years, Beahrs ELP has provided state-of-the-art training in environmental and natural resource science, policy, and leadership to strengthen the capacities of environmental practitioners worldwide. Patricipants will benefit from the opportunity to interact with Berkelely faculty as well as their global peers to access new information and tools, share practical experiences, and develop collaborative leadership skills. Please visit the program website for more information.


UCB International & Executive Programs

IEP is a part of UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, and was founded to provide leaders the tools necessary to address environmental and natural resource challenges. IEP has specialized programs designed for professionals to stimulate discussion on topics related to the work of the College of Natural Resources.

Application deadline