FEM-11306 Introduction to Forest and Nature Conservation


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Group work2
Excursion (one day)12
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. L Poorter
dr. M de Jong
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
dr. ir. J den Ouden
ir. MA Zijp
JP van der Sleen
dr. ir. MA Hoogstra-Klein
dr. ir. BHM Elands
dr. M de Jong
dr. E Turnhout
prof. dr. ir. D Kleijn
ir. JN van Laar
drs. MB Goris
prof. dr. ir. L Poorter
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. L Poorter

Language of instruction:

NL and/or EN


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 scienceswe 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.


Lectures, tutorials, excursions, group work.


The final mark is based on the individual essay (15%), final group presentation (35%), exam on this introduction to forest and nature conservation (30%), and the exam on the computers, communication and information (CCI) module (20%). To pass the course, the minimum threshold for each of these four components is a 5.5. Individual marks for each of the components are maximum valid for 4 years. The individual essay is an essay of two pages about a primary research paper. The essay should be written in own words, and is evaluated based on writing style (clarity, conciseness) and contents (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 contents (analysis) and answers to the questions. The exam on introduction to forest nature conservation is about the reader, lectures, and powerpoint presentations of the lectures, and consists of multiple choice questions. The exam on the CCI module is an individual computer exam. 


- 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. The reader also contains practical handbook with the description of the excursions and the assignments.
- powerpoint presentations of lectures;
- two primary research articles;

Compulsory for: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc1AF