Train the Trainers

Please see this page for an overview and frequently asked questions about Marxan and PacMARA’s capacity-building program.

This 1.5 day course (preceded by Trainers acting as TAs at an Intro to Marxan training) was designed for users with have extensive Marxan experience and a desire to lead future trainings. The first course was taught in July 2010 by Lindsay Kircher from the University of Queensland, one of the leading Marxan trainers.

Course Description

Trainers in training must attend and act as teaching assistants in an Introduction to Marxan course. In this follow-up training, the new teaching manual will be reviewed with open discussion about teaching techniques, tips and pitfalls to be avoided. At the end of this course, instructors will be recognized by the University of Queensland Ecology Center and PacMARA as trained to teach entry level Marxan courses.

Those wishing to become Marxan trainers must:

  • Have completed at least one Marxan-based project from start to finish
  • Know how to construct Marxan databases in several different ways
  • Be very proficient in ArcGIS and MS Excel
  • Be familiar with the systematic conservation planning literature

Please contact us if this sounds like you!

About Marxan

Marxan (Ian Ball and Hugh Possingham, 2000) is a software program used to support the design of marine and terrestrial reserves worldwide. Using Marxan, conservation planners can identify an efficient system of conservation sites that include a suite of biodiversity targets at a minimal cost. Marxan provides a unique method for designing reserves that is systematic and repeatable.

It is the most utilized conservation planning tool worldwide; over 60 countries, 1100 users, and 600 organizations use Marxan to support the design of terrestrial and marine reserves. For example, it has been used to help zone the Great Barrier Marine Park, design marine reserves in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and set spatial priorities in the Romanian Carpathians to protect large carnivores. Marxan is available at no charge from The Spatial Ecology Lab: Download Marxan Software.

Current Course Instructors

Leif Olson works with O2 Planning and Design, specializing in systematic land-use planning and multivariate decision-making processes, using spatial, statistical, and graphical methods to explore complex and wide-ranging social and environmental issues, guiding decision-makers towards more effective solutions. His recent work involves the use of Marxan with Zones to inform land-use planning in southern Alberta, bringing together stakeholders with a variety of competing objectives to develop land-use scenarios which achieve the broadest range of objectives at a minimal cost to all.

He is a certified trainer for the Marxan land-use optimization software, teaching hands-on workshops and courses around the world. Leif holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology from the University of Calgary, and a doctorate in Conservation Ecology from Carleton University’s Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Lab, focusing on multi-objective conservation planning at the regional scale to prioritize protected area designation. His thesis work assessed the potential impacts of climate change on conservation reserve design success, the impacts of spatiotemporal analysis design on the outcomes of Marxan analysis, and the confounding factors which influence the perception of biodiversity patterning.

Dan Farr is a consulting ecologist that has been bridging the gap between environmental science and policy for over 20 years. He discovered systematic conservation planning in 2009, and wondered where it had been all his life. Environmental decisions require clear objectives, transparent assumptions, and relevant data – tools like Marxan help scientists and planners work together and help everyone be accountable for their decisions. Since taking PacMara’s Introduction to Marxan course in Vancouver and Train the Trainer in Ottawa, Danhas taught intro courses in Edmonton and England. In his consulting work Dan’s recent clients include Alberta’s Land Use Secretariat, Environment Canada, Integrated Landscape Management Chair and Institute for Land Use Innovation at the University of Alberta, and Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. He has a B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba (1985), M.Sc. from the University of Victoria (1988) and Ph.D. from the University of Alberta (1995), where he was Adjunct Professor from 1999–2004.

Past Course Instructors

Lindsay Kircher is a member of the Spatial Ecology Lab at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has co-taught numerous Introduction to Marxan and Advanced Marxan courses over the last few years. Her master’s group thesis from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California at Santa Barbara involved the use of Marxan to help inform the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative in California. She has been actively involved in Marxan research and applied projects, working with NGOs and government. Currently she is part of a Spatial Ecology lab team supporting (through training and database construction) the Australian government in their use of Marxan as a tool to inform the designation of marine parks in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Australia.