FEM-30806 Resource Dynamics and Sustainable Utilization


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical10
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. PA Zuidema
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. FJJM Bongers
JP van der Sleen
dr. ir. PA Patrick Jansen
Dr.ir. R Sikkema
prof. dr. PA Zuidema
LA König
prof. dr. ir. GJ Nabuurs
AE Vos
dr. M Peña Claros
Examiner(s)prof. dr. PA Zuidema

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Bachelor in Biology, Forest and Nature Conservation, Plant Science or similar.

Continuation courses:

Thesis Forest Ecology and Forest Management


This course deals with the extraction of resources from natural ecosystems. Resource use includes the exploitation of timber, the collection of fruits and resin, the extraction of wood for biomass production, hunting of animals. Ideally such resources are exploited in a sustainable way, but how should that be defined? And how is sustainable resource use quantified? Or, how does resource availability fluctuate over time? In this course, these and other questions will be treated. Students will get hands-on experience in quantifying effects of resource utilization on future resource availability and ecosystem characteristics.
In this course we will treat the following topics:
- status of resources exploited from natural ecosystems worldwide: timber, non-timber, wildlife;
- exploitation as a conservation strategy;
- quantification of resource availability for timber, non-timber products, wildlife;
- analysis of the natural dynamics of populations or ecosystems providing resources;
- effects of exploitation on future resource availability.
During the course students will learn to use simple modelling tools to evaluate the dynamics of resources and the effects of exploitation. They will then apply these tools to study real-life cases of resource use, quantify the effects of exploitation and define sustainable extraction levels. 

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the status of natural resource use and the concept of exploitation in conservation;
- analyse the availability, variability and value of natural resources using inventory data;
- apply simple modelling tools to evaluate resource dynamics, effects of resource use and future resource availability;
- evaluate the sustainability of a resource use system and provide advice on management options;
- reflect on the concept of sustainability and the role of science and scientists in evaluating this.


The course includes a variety of working forms:
- lectures;
- tutorials: discuss and critically reflect on scientific papers in groups;
- fieldwork: conduct forest inventory;
- computer practicals: resource inventory, matrix models and systems analysis;
- group work: case study to evaluate resource exploitation for a real-world case;
- oral presentation: of case study results;
- report writing: of case study results and recommendations;
- peer-review: of case-study reports.


Students will be evaluated in three ways:
- individual assignment: individual report on one of papers read and discussed (10%);
- group assignment : written report and oral presentation of case study (50%);
- written examination: the final exam is a computer exam, treating all study materials (40%).
All components need to be completed with a minimum mark of 5.5.


A variety of text book chapter, lecture notes and papers. 

Restricted Optional for: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Spec. B - Management2AF
MBSBiobased SciencesMScA: Spec. A - Biomass Production and Carbon Capture2AF