Studentinformatie

Trends in Forest and Nature Conservation, REG-31306

The course TRENDS in Forest and Nature Conservation addresses the current challenges and trends in conservation and ecosystem management from ecological and social perspectives.

Conservation attitudes, targets and strategies have changed notoriously in the last decades, shifting from a valuation of landscapes with low human influence towards a pragmatic acceptance of disturbance and a utilitarian value of nature as provider of services; from targeting particular populations or communities to complex interlinked ecosystems, from single disciplines approaches to a growing awareness that guidelines for conservation and management need to be evidence-based and that inter-disciplinarity is key to understand these socio-ecological systems.

These trends are analyzed during the course through a combination of classical lectures, group discussions of scientific papers, plenary debates and essay writing. The course is developed by the four chair-groups (REG, NCP, FNP and FEM) teaching the Master Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) program and some external invited speakers. Read more in study handbook.

For whom?

For all MSc students Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN)

By whom?

Presented by the four main chair groups of the study:

  • REG Resource Ecology Group
  • FEM Forest Ecology and Forest Management
  • FNP  Forest and Nature Conservation Policy
  • PEN Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation
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Download the Course Guide

Learning objectives

After the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Analyse emerging trends in conservation science using ecological and social sciences.
  • Evaluate the scientific evidence underlying a conservation approach.
  • Assess scientific papers critically.
  • Write a scientific essay that analyses an emergent trend in conservation.
  • Communicate current ideas on conservation to a broad public.

The principal themes of the course

Conservation attitudes, targets and strategies have changed notoriously in the last decades, shifting from an understanding of nature embodied by landscapes with low human influence towards a pragmatic acceptance of disturbance and a utilitarian value of nature as provider of services; from targeting particular populations or ecological communities to complex interlinked ecosystems, from single disciplinary approaches to a growing awareness that guidelines for conservation and management need to be evidence-based and that inter-disciplinarity is key to understand these socio-ecological systems. Scientists are also increasingly aware of the need of communicating effectively with broad audiences and starting to work more closely with artists on joint projects. In this course, these trends will be presented and discussed.

The trends can be grouped in five main themes:
- Resilience of Socio-Ecological Systems
- Ecosystem approach
- Protect / Manage
- Intrinsic value / Valuation
- Manifesting science

Download the 2017 programme

Working forms

The course uses a combination of working forms:

  • Lectures
  • Group discussions: paper discussions in small groups (Assignment 1)
  • Individual essay writing (Assignment 2)
  • Group communication assignment (Assignment 3)

Evaluation

Students will be evaluated through 4 assignments:

  • Assignment 1: Reading critically (10 %)

  • Assignment 2: Individual essay (45 %)

  • Assignment 3: Communicating with society (15 %)

  • Assignment 4: Final exam (30 %)

Assignments

  • Assignment 1: Reading Critically

The papers listed below are used for the group discussions and Assignment 1. They are available through our university digital library.

  • Assignment 2: Individual Essay
  • Assignment 3: Communicating Conservation Science (15 %)

Lecturers

All lectures you can find on MyPortal, course REG31306

Federico Alice-Guier
Frans Bongers
Rob Buiter
Femke Hilderink
Milena Holmgren
Verina Ingram
Leon Lamers
Rik Leemans
Juul Limpens
John Liu
Renzo Martens
Marielos Peña-Claros
Joop Schaminee Marten Scheffer Mathijs Schouten
Rene Verburg
Philippine Vergeer
Simon Vink
Wietse van der Werf
Pieter Zuidema