PEN-30806 Restoration Ecology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Excursion (one day)12
Course coordinator(s)Dr. Ir. JA Scheper
Lecturer(s)JG van Paassen
dr. M de Jong
dr. ir. MMPD Heijmans
prof. dr. PA Zuidema
Dr. Ir. JA Scheper
prof. dr. FJJM Bongers
dr. ir. ETHM Peeters
Examiner(s)Dr. Ir. JA Scheper

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic understanding in (soil) chemistry (PEN-22806, AEW-21306) and general ecological theory (PEN-21803, FEM-20909). Familiarity with the Dutch flora and the environmental indication of plant species (PEN-22303, PEN-30306) is an advantage.

Continuation courses:

PEN Thesis.


The course comprises 3.5 weeks of lectures, 3 excursions and targeted case-studies and is meant for students who are interested in a future of nature management or in general applied ecology. The first day introduces restoration ecology as a science and indicates the focus of the course (bottlenecks in restoration). It gives a general theoretical framework that we systematically apply in the case-studies. The afternoon we devote to showing how to interpret and use different kinds of information that will be offered in the coming case studies and tutorials.
The first part of the course focuses on abiotic bottlenecks in restoration. We discuss N and P pollution, the interaction with hydrology (water quality & -quantity) and SO4-availability and their consequences for vegetation & fauna of dry and wet heaths and groundwater-dependent grasslands. With the second part we continue with biotic bottlenecks in restoration. Here the focus is on restoration of shallow lakes and the interactions between fish and algae populations and P-availability. The third part deals with a combination of social and biotic bottle necks in restoration of tropical forests, whereas the fourth part deals with (a lack of) disturbance dynamics in combination with abiotic bottlenecks in restoring floral diversity of riverine grasslands. The last part of the course focuses on applying the knowledge gained to other ecosystems and on the ethical sides of restoring ecosystems. In a final lecture we shortly dwell on what we have learned.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- recognize deficiencies in the key processes and functioning of different ecosystems at different spatiotemporal scales;
- apply general ecological principles, such as competition, meta-population theory, alternative stable states and nutrient cycling, to actual ecosystem restoration projects;
- explain advantages and disadvantages of restoration measures across ecosystems and species groups;
- analyse data on chemistry, hydrology and position in the landscape of an ecosystem to come up with abiotic and biotic thresholds for successful restoration;
- evaluate restoration projects and come up with alternative approaches.


- lectures;
- reading scientific papers;
- excursions;
- case studies;
- tutorials.


-  group work case study analysis;
-  written examination.


14 scientific papers, made available in Brightspace at the start of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Spec. B - Management4WD