Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) / MSc


The central themes within the MSc programme Forest and Nature Conservation are conservation, sustainable management, and policy and society aspects of forest and nature. Forest and nature are complex, often multifunctional land use systems in a context of increasing social and economical pressure on natural resources. This pressure leads to deforestation, ecological degradation, disturbance of biotic and a biotic cycles, erosion and flooding. In addition to this, global change leads to large-scale changes in environmental conditions for forest and nature management. Within the Forest and Nature Conservation programme, constructive approaches are developed such as sustainable natural resource management accounting for biodiversity conservation, silviculture, social forestry and agro forestry, as well as management strategies for nature reserves and development of large scale ecological networks.
These approaches are based on thorough understanding of both ecological functioning of ecosystems, including interactions between vegetation and herbivores, as well as on the analysis of socio-economic and cultural functions of forest and nature. Through integration of ecological and socio-economic aspects, the programme on Forest and Nature Conservation provides an integrated approach to natural resource management. The programme is unique in its multi-disciplinary character, with integration of forest and nature in and outside Europe. Students may specialize in one of the three specializations: policy and society; management and ecology. A special track in the programme is European Forestry, offered by six universities in Europe including Wageningen.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- analyse the functioning of forests and natural areas within their social-ecological context at different temporal and spatial scales;
- evaluate social and policy practices with regard to the use, management and conservation of forest and natural areas (specialisation policy and society);
- design and asses realistic and feasible management options for forests and natural areas, based on specific knowledge and understanding of wildlife management, management of forests or other terrestrial vegetations (specialisation management);
- create and asses new contributions to the knowledge of ecological processes and functioning in terrestrial ecosystems (specialisation ecology);
- can formulate and execute research in the field of forest and nature conservation in accordance with academic standards;
- communicate clearly - both orally and in writing - the project outcomes and discuss these with specialists and non-specialists;
- can function effectively in international multidisciplinary teams and are able to contribute from their expertise towards multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary issues;
- recognise, understand and apply new concepts and approaches in the field of forest and nature conservation as they emerge;
- demonstrate understanding of the moral and ethical dimensions of scientific research and its applications, and the importance of intellectual integrity;
- can critically reflect on their own performance and results, as well as on those of colleagues;
- design a learning path, and developing personal competences, with a balance between domain knowledge and preparation for career opportunities.


- Policy and Society;
- Management;
- Ecology.

Programme Director

Dr G.F. Epema
Phone: 0317-(4)80063

Study Adviser(s)

Dr W.G. Braakhekke
Phone: 0317-(4)82608

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr ir J. den Ouden
Secretary: B. van Beek


Study Association

WSBV De Wageningse Studenten Bos- en Natuurbeheer Vereniging Sylvatica