SLM-32306 Sustainable Land Management Policies


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work26
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. CA Kessler
Lecturer(s)D Stoltenborg, MSc
dr. ir. CA Kessler
dr. ir. JHM Peerlings
dr. SISE Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JHM Peerlings
dr. ir. CA Kessler

Language of instruction:



Land degradation is widely recognized as a major threat to local development and food production. Sustainable land management (SLM) deals with the preservation of the productive capabilities of the land, through arresting and reversing land degradation. Farmers' decisions are crucial for safeguarding land productivity for the future. However, decisions at the farm level to invest in SLM and foster spreading of practices towards village level and beyond is strongly influenced by regional, national and global policies. Adequate policies might create an enabling environment for investing in SLM, but institutional factors (governance) often greatly limit the final impact of land related policies. In this course students learn about the reciprocal influence of farmers' land management decisions and land related policies, based on practical case studies from the field (using key-experts). Decision-making at different scales is analysed in weekly cases, with collaboration between these scales being determent for the final impact of policies on SLM. The course is divided in three blocks, focusing on:
1) Olive farming in Mediterranean countries (impact of agri-environmental measures);
2) National Action Plans for combating desertification (impact of UNCCD Policies);
3) Multilevel governance of agrochemicals (and possible policy changes for SLM).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the factors that play a role in policy-making, and that influence how land related policies are formulated under different settings and institutional arrangements;
- assess the impact of land policies on farmers' decision-making and sustainable land management, considering collaboration and tensions between different institutional scales;
- analyse in case studies how land policies and governance limit or enhance sustainable land management, and judge their efficacy based on clear criteria;
- judge the limitations and preconditions for effective and adequate land policies under different conditions, and retrieve concise conclusions from this judgment;
- formulate adequate questionnaires for retrieving information from key-expert interviews, either face-to-face or by means of skype/video conferences;
- write and present an individual (policy-)paper in a concise and convincing manner, with clear and policy-sensitive recommendations based on theoretical and practical insights.


- weekly lectures with theoretical and background information about the cases;
- group work to make an in-depth analysis of the weekly case;
- interviewing (face-to-face or by video-conference) of key experts;
- write short policy-papers for policy-makers in the different case-study countries;
- give oral presentations and attend group sessions for giving and receiving feedback.


Based on demonstrated efforts, and the quality of policy-papers and presentations.


Will be provided at the start of each block.

Restricted Optional for: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScA: Sustainable Land Management3WD