Protected Areas


PAPACO has been running Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for professionals dedicated to protected areas and conservation since 2015. The four MOOCs available have already reached over 18,000 participants! All courses are open to all, for free and successful participants will receive a certificate.

What are MOOCs?

By definition, a MOOC is a course taking place entirely online, it is free of charge and anybody can participate, whether you are a professional or merely interested in one of the topics covered by the courses.

Find out more about the MOOC Conservation here.



MOOC: Protected area management in Africa

This is a general course on protected area management. It covers the basics of what protected area management entails, and gives you an overview of the different aspects involved in this practice. This course will help you learn about conservation challenges in Africa and how protected areas can help face them, from a local to international levels. These topics are explored using best practices from the WCPA, and case studies from the field coming from all over the African continent.

MOOC: Ecological monitoring in protected areas

This course is about ecological monitoring, which is at the heart of protected areas management. Through this course, 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? Finally, the course provides some examples of monitoring conducted in different environments and targeting different species, going from theory to practice.

MOOC: Law enforcement in protected areas

Law and regulations enforcement is one of the key aspects of protected area management. It relies on the implementation of specific processes that reduce or eliminate threats to protected area values. Law enforcement requires understanding, learning and applying specific knowledge and techniques. What are laws?  How to enforce them? What are the traps to avoid? What are their limits and strengths? How to avoid corruption? How is anti-poaching conducted on the ground? These are just some of the questions that will be addressed in this MOOC.

MOOC: Species conservation in protected areas

Species - animal or plant - conservation is a major objective of protected area management. It is often included as a goal when planning activities, and is central when monitoring the obtained results and the impacts generated on the field. This MOOC’s goal is therefore to introduce the notion of species, to describe what they represent within a protected area's heritage and how managers conserve them, what the best conditions are, the limits, the opportunities, how can they be used to improve PA results, to think about ex situ conservation and so on.

MOOC: Valorisation of PA resources and sustainable tourism

The main goal of this course is to introduce some of the commonly-used ways to sustainably valorise protected areas (and their resources), thereby contributing to their long-term conservation. It will focus on two complementary approaches: the first part of the MOOC will cover the benefits (direct or indirect) provided by natural resources in protected areas, while the second part will focus on sustainable tourism and its benefits, costs, opportunities and threats. 

MOOC: New technologies for protected areas

As the field of new technologies is booming and connectivity is more and more available, it is important that protected areas take advantage of the digital revolution. The MOOC TECH will introduce the context of these technologies applied to conservation, existing techniques, prerequisites for their implementation, their scientific and / or technical basis, their opportunities and limitations, their uses in the field etc. Some basics in regards to communications, data storage, software and energy availability will be explained, and new developments such as blockchain will be presented along with examples from the field.


Visit PAPACO’s webpage for more information on the programme, news and trainings. And for any enquiry, please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more timely information regarding our different activities.

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