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Biodiversity & Conservation in Bali & Borneo

Examine biodiversity, conservation, resource-use patterns, and the restoration of wildlife on the exotic islands of Bali and Borneo.

At a Glance





Courses taught in



Jun 2 – Jul 14

Program Countries


Program Base

Utu, Bali

Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Development & Inequality


Why study abroad in Indonesia?

One of the world’s recognized “megadiverse” countries, Indonesia is known for its primeval rainforests and wealth of natural resources including some15,000 plant species. Take a journey through villages and volcanic landscapes, plantations and lushly forested conservation areas, as well as the stunning coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, and seagrass beds of this ecologically rich pocket of the world. Starting in Bali, on the grounds of an ancient palace complex, explore grassroots conservation focused on habitat restoration, community sustainability, and endangered species management. Witness extreme threats to animal and plant life posed by rapid growth in tourism and the palm oil industry. Learn from conservationists dedicated to protecting national parks in Java and Borneo, and observe the diverse community of primates and other large fauna. There will be opportunities to snorkel among the coral reefs and manta rays, hike in tropical forests, and visit conservation projects aimed at protecting the Bali myna, Bornean orangutan, and other endangered species.


  • Study “endemic” plants and wildlife that exist in only one part of the world.
  • Undertake extensive fieldwork, from land to sea, exploring forests and reefs.
  • Learn Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of the vast Indonesian archipelago.
  • Examine the challenges of human-dominated, yet unique, tropical ecosystems.



program map


Nusa Penida

Study marine ecology and conservation on this small island neighboring Nusa Penida. The highly diverse reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds around these islands have recently been declared a marine protected area (MPA). As part of this trip, discover and practice the field techniques used to monitor MPAs, including methods for surveying corals, fishes, and some of the significant megafauna such as manta rays. You will also learn from one of the most successful community-based conservation organizations for bird protection, which has successfully re-introduced the Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi) to the wild after more than 25 years of trials by many parties including government, local and international NGOs.

West, Central, and North Bali

West Bali
Learn about the lowland forests of West Bali National Park and the challenges that they have. You will assess the application of conservation principles and their efficacy in managing West Bali National Park.

Central Bali
Stay in simple accommodation with magnificent rice terraces and mountains at Besikalung Wildlife Sanctuary. This is not only a community-based conservation area, it is also a cultural UNESCO World Heritage site for a traditional rice farming practice known as subak. Learn about wildlife conservation and local culture, as well as the main causes of forest conversion in Bali and other challenges. You will have a a chance to live with a farmer family and experience aspects of their daily lives.

North Bali
Examine coral reef conservation, fisheries management, and conservation of species in agricultural landscapes. Visit two important sites to learn about a Biorock coral restoration project and one of the best sustainable fish and coral reef harvesting activities for commercial purpose. Learn how local fisherman maintin their income by restoring and protecting the fish habitat and sustainably harvesting the fish.

East Java

On the easternmost part of Java, encounter some of the island’s largest forest remnants in a patchwork of conservation areas surrounded by intensively used farmlands. Here, the potential for biodiversity conservation is tightly linked to the community’s needs for space, food security, and opportunities to engage in the flourishing tourism sector, as well as invasive species control.

Kalimantan (Borneo)

Take a seven-day excursion into conservation areas of the Tanjung Puting National Park, site of the famous long-term study of orangutan ecology and conservation, and home to a diverse community of primates and other large fauna. Observe primates in the park and other wildlife and stay at the Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF) conservation center, where the restoration of habitat on degraded land is a key project. In the surrounding plantations, mainly of oil palm, witness the precious value of habitat remnants and the ongoing pressure on them.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Describe how geography and physical environment act as determinants of biodiversity and endemism in flora and fauna including how Bali’s original habitats and wildlife evolved, and the key environmental features that maintain diversity. 
  • Evaluate how human settlement and resource-use patterns have led to habitat loss and fragmentation, species endangerment and ongoing threats to terrestrial and marine biodiversity. 
  • Communicate principles and practices of conservation biology, with a particular focus on habitat fragmentation and management of threatened species and populations. 
  • Assess conservation strategies to ameliorate habitat loss and population reduction, including tropical forest restoration, captive breeding and release programs, protected area management, and community conservation approaches. 
  • Apply economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability to create solutions to the problems posed by population growth, environmental exploitation and tourism, among others. 
  • Synthesize the learning acquired on the program to develop a field-based independent project. 
  • Enhance or advance your conversational and communicative skills in Bahasa. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Conservation strategies for habitats in human-dominated landscapes
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  • Principles and practices of sustainability and conservation biology
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  • Dynamics of habitat fragmentation in tropical ecosystems
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  • Restoration strategies for marine and terrestrial ecosystems
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  • The double-edged sword of tourism within a conservation strategy

Biodiversity and Natural Resource Conservation

Biodiversity and Natural Resource Conservation – syllabus
(ENVI3010 / 3 credits)

This course focuses on biodiversity conservation in the ecological context of tropical Asian reef and rainforest systems. Against a backdrop of historical and contemporary patterns of natural resource use patterns in Indonesia and particularly Bali, students examine the responses of the biota to large-scale habitat loss and fragmentation, extraction of resources (for example timber and fishes), and changes to hydrological and nutrient dynamics that accompany conversion of the landscape to agricultural dominance. Understanding the processes and patterns of change gives students insight into potential solutions, which may include government-initiated programs, privately funded ventures, and community-based approaches. Students examine these different models by means of social, economic, and environmental indicators of success, looking in particular at integration of these aspects and potential for long-term, sustainable solutions.

Biodiversity and Conservation Field Study Project

Biodiversity and Conservation Field Study Project – syllabus
(ENVI3060 / 3 credits)

In this course, students engage in research on a topic of relevance to biodiversity and conservation in Bali. The emphasis in this project is on building a solid framework for facilitating field research, including development of appropriate research questions and methodology, use of literature and other resources to construct a strong context for proposed project work, and cultivation of sound primary data collection skills (including interview and laboratory-based skills as well as fieldwork in a narrower sense). Each student conducts research with a field component and produces an original academic paper whose contents are also presented orally to student peers. This course gives students the opportunity to engage in more detail with one of the themes examined in the seminar and to develop their research skills.


Tabanan Village

You will have a three- to four-day homestay in a Tabanan village, which will introduce you to a Balinese home and the predominant Hindu culture. The homestay also gives you an opportunity to practice some Indonesian language skills.

Excursion & Orientation Accommodations

Other accommodations on the program include hostels and small hotels.

Faculty & Staff

Indonesia: Biodiversity & Conservation in Bali & Borneo

I Gede Nyoman Bayu Wirayudha, DVM bio link
I Gede Nyoman Bayu Wirayudha, DVM
Academic Director
Cokorda Istri Puspawati Nindhia bio link
Cokorda Istri Puspawati Nindhia
Program Assistant

Discover the Possibilities

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