Spatial Conservation Planning with Marxan

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General information

Marxan (Ian Ball and Hugh Possingham, 2000) is a software program used to support the design of marine and terrestrial reserves worldwide. Using Marxan, 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 used 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 University of Queensland.

The increasing complexity of spatial planning problems has led to the development of Marxan with Zones and Marxan with Probability, new software programs that extend the capabilities of Marxan. MarZone incorporates new functionalities to support spatial planning with multiple zones, multiple costs and multiple objectives. Using MarZone, practitioners in natural resource management can identify configurations of sites that contribute to a range of management objectives. These sites can be clumped into zones to accommodate different types of activities. This makes MarZone well placed to support local and regional planning where the objective is often to achieve a balance across a range of competing uses.

This course will provide participants with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to use Marxan in the context of a marine conservation planning exercise. Course time will be split between lecture (~30 %) and hands-on exercises (~70 %). The following topics are covered in the Introduction to Marxan:

- Key concepts in systematic conservation planning.
- Creation of planning units.
- Creation of essential Marxan input files with GIS software.
- Parameter setting in Marxan.
- Understanding and using Marxan results.
- Zonae Cogito (front-end software to support Marxan).
- Using the cloud system.
- Advanced planning using Marxan with Zones.
- Incorporating uncertainty using Marxan with Probability.

This course is equivalent to 3.5 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


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Venue: Transmitting Science
Barcelona , Spain

The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona. The exact location is at the premises of Sabadell of the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP), C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23, 08201 Sabadell, Barcelona. How to arrive.


  • Reduced registration fee: 695 € (until March 15)
  • Full registration fee: 925 €

The fees include course material, coffee breaks and lunches.


Experience with MS Excel is a prerequisite, and experience with GIS software is helpful. All participants must bring their own personal laptop (Windows).

Application Procedure:

Please complete and submit the Registration Form; Your acceptance will be confirmed by e-mail. Places are limited to 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order. This course will be held if at least 50 % of the places are filled.

If you do not receive any e-mail confirmation, please contact:

Grant Opportunities:

Unfortunately there are no internal grants available for this course. However some discounts are offered to people belonging to some of the Associations, Institutions or Universities listed here. If you want to apply to this discount please state the name of your Association, Institution or University in the “Comments” field of the Registration Form.

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the current course fee. Spanish unemployed scientists, as well as Spanish PhD students without any grant to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.



Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
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