FEM-11306 Introduction to Forest and Nature Conservation

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Lecture13
Tutorial54
Group work2
Excursion (one day)12
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. L Poorter
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
dr. E Turnhout
ir. JN van Laar
dr. ir. BHM Elands
prof. dr. ir. L Poorter
dr. ir. MA Hoogstra-Klein
prof. dr. ir. D Kleijn
ir. MA Zijp
dr. B Verschuuren
dr. M de Jong
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. L Poorter

Language of instruction:

Dutch, with an English reader and a Dutch exam

Contents:

Environmental problems and solutions, including those related to forests and biodiversity, are inherently complex, and require an interdisciplinary approach to integrate the different disciplines that are needed to solve the problem. For that, an integrated conceptual framework and common tools are needed.

Here we provide a first interdisciplinary and integrative course right at the very start of the study. By co-organizing this course by teaching staff from social and ecological sciences, we want to create awareness, openness, appreciation and the right attitude by students that both disciplines are needed to really solve resource management problems.

We want to present the rationale for an interdisciplinary approach and use social-ecological systems (including the landscape approach) as a common conceptual framework. A diagram of this conceptual framework can be used as a common line throughout the BSc, in which each course indicates where it is positioned within the framework. This creates coherence of the study programme, and clarity amongst the students how the course will contribute to the overall learning goals of their study.

The course will focus on ecosystem services, because these provide the link between ecological and social systems. Ecosystem services make human life possible and contribute to human well-being, while at the same time humans affect the ecological system through (1) external effects of consumption and production, thus negatively affecting ecosystems; and (2)  management interventions, thus trying to improve and optimize the services.

Because during your studies you will use many software packages, we will bring everybody up to date, by including an information technology module, where you acquire skills in using these packages.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the concept of mono- multi- and interdisciplinary research;
- understand why an interdisciplinary approach is needed to solve problems in the field of forest and nature conservation;
- have an open attitude towards the broadness of the working field, understand the relevance of an integrated approach, and have respect for the different disciplines and viewpoints involved;
- know the characteristics of three main land use types in the Netherlands (nature, forestry, agriculture) and their past, present and potential future;
- understand basic concepts of social-ecological systems (SES) and analyse landscapes in terms of these (i.e., land use types, actors, ecosystem services, and their interrelationships);
- use scenario analysis to analyse how ecological and socio-economic drivers may affect land use types, the ecosystem services they provide, the actors, and the social-ecological system of the future;
- have skills to read primary literature (understanding, reflection, synthesizing, and summarizing);
- have skills to use MS Office tools.

Activities:

Lectures, tutorials, excursions, group work.

Examination:

The final mark is based on the individual essay (15%), final group presentation (40%), examinations on this introduction to forest and nature conservation (35%) and on the computers, communication and information (CCI) module (10%). The individual essay is an essay of two pages about a primary research paper. The essay should be written in the student’s own words, and is evaluated based on writing style (clarity, conciseness) and content (understanding and critical reflection of the paper). The group presentation is based on the scenario analysis of the social-ecological system. The presentation is evaluated based on presentation style (clarity and structure of the presentation, verbal presentation skills), the content (analysis) and answers to the questions. The examination is about the reader, lectures and powerpoint presentations of the lectures, and consists of multiple choice questions. The examination on the CCI module is an individual computer examination.

Literature:

- a reader in English. Each class is described in a section of ca. 5 pages and contains the following standard elements: learning goals, key concepts and conceptual diagrams,  questions. Definitions are provided in a glossary;

- Powerpoint presentations of lectures;

- two primary research articles;

- practical handbook with the description of the excursions and the assignments.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Compulsory for: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc1AF