Skip to main content

Ecological Monitoring

About This Course

Ecological monitoring is an essential component of protected areas’ adaptive management. It consists of monitoring the environment and systematically gathering information over time to answer one or more specific questions. It can also compare data on the protected area with predetermined and specifics standards or with a state of reference (number of animals of a given species at a specific time for instance) or a desired state (what would be the climax state of the vegetation in the absence of pressure?).

Ecological monitoring requires precise knowledge, techniques and data processing methods. All this can be explained, learned and applied.

Following this 4-module MOOC, you will acquire a good basis on what monitoring is and how it should be conducted. What is it meant for, which methods and techniques should be chosen, why, how to implement them? What are the statistical tools that you should know about to implement a good monitoring? Finally, the course provides practical examples of monitoring conducted in different environments and targeting different species, going from theory to practice.

In order to follow the course properly, you should expect to invest about 5 hours per week/module.


There are no prerequisites for this course. However, depending on your knowledge and experience, we recommend that you you follow the MOOC on  Protected Areas Management in Africa before enrolling for this MOOC.

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Geoffroy Mauvais

Geoffroy Mauvais is a veterinarian specialized in the development and management of protected areas in Africa. He has been coordinating the Program on African Protected Areas & Conservation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Papaco) since 2006. After 6 years in Ouagadougou and 3 in Nairobi, he is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Papaco's objective is to improve the governance and management of the continent's protected areas, in order to contribute to better conservation of biodiversity. It is therefore aimed both at preserving species and at maintaining ecosystems and all their functions. It also focuses on the sustainable use of this biodiversity, when it strengthens conservation and is possible to achieve in a sustainable manner. Therefore, it seeks to promote a reasonable use of natural resources adressing the best balance between conservation and valorisation, and a fair distribution of benefits, whatever they may be, at the local level, national level or further. To achieve this, Papaco works primarily on sites and networks assessments, technical support and information for managers, and training of staff and partners in parks and reserves. He joined EPFL in the course of 2015 to develop MOOC programs and other scientific activities in this area.

Course Staff Image #2

Béatrice Chataigner

Béatrice Chataigner is a veterinarian and joined IUCN-Papaco in 2009. After 5 years in West Africa, she now lives in Kenya where she is, between other things, in charge of Protected Areas management effectiveness assessments, in particular of the Green List in Africa. She teaches various courses of the University Diploma and the Master developed by Papaco.

Course Staff Image #2

Victor M. Panaretos

Professor Victor M. Panaretos holds the Chair of Mathematical Statistics at the EPFL. He completed his undergraduate studies in mathematics and statistics in Athens and Dublin. He then received his PhD in 2007 from the University of California at Berkeley, for which he was awarded the Erich Lehmann Award. He is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant Award, and a member of the editorial board of several journals.

Course Staff Image #2

Emmanuel Midibahaye Hema

Emmanuel Midibahaye HEMA is a water and forestry engineer, has a PhD in applied sciences of animal biology and ecology. He is a researcher at the Centre Universitaire Polytechnique de Dédougou/Université Ouaga 1 J. KI-ZERBO in Burkina Faso, a visiting professor at Senghor University of Alexandria and an associate researcher at the Institute for Development, Ecology, Conservation and Cooperation (IDECC, in Italy). Dr. HEMA now has 17 years of field experience in both forest and savannah and in the West African Sahel. He participated to the training of many students and professionals in the conservation and management of PAs in Africa and is the author of nearly 40 articles and reports on scientific research, in particular in the field of ecological monitoring of fauna in protected areas.

Course Staff Image #2

Inza Koné

Inza Koné is a Primate Conservation Biologist. He is a Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Biosciences of the University Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Director of Research and Development at the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire. He is the coordinator of the Work Group on ecological biomonitoring in the protected areas of Côte d’Ivoire. His current work focuses on the management of natural resources and the conservation of large mammal species, especially primates in a transdisciplinary approach.