INF-31806 Models for Forest and Nature Conservation


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised24
Practical intensively supervised40
Problem-based learning10
Course coordinator(s)ir. MA Zijp
Lecturer(s)dr. HM Scholten
dr. ir. PA Leffelaar
Examiner(s)dr. HM Scholten
dr. ir. PA Leffelaar

Language of instruction:



Systems approaches are widely used in education, research and management to understand, analyse and manage systems with the help of simulation models.
The first topic is related to the content of simulation models of eco-environmental systems and the associated (agro)ecological, chemical and physical processes.
The second topic introduces a Good Modelling Practice approach, i.e. how to design, build, analyse, and use simulation models to solve certain aspects of problems. Good Modelling Practice facilitates the (re)construction of a model based management study, which allows others to audit and evaluate the overall quality of these studies.
Furthermore, attention will be paid to apply a complex existing model to solve real-world problems in the domain of Forest and Nature Conservation, and to learn judge such models.
Finally, students will develop their own so-called mini-model that are simplified versions of the complex case models. In both the complex case models and the mini-models students will apply what they learned on model content and on Good Modelling Practice

Learning outcomes:

After thoroughly studying the course materials (syllabus, blackboard), preparing and critically following the lectures, performing the practicals and actively participating in the group-work, you should be able to demonstrate:
- how to apply elementary concepts such as feedback, time coefficient, relational diagram, state variables, rate variables and driving variables, analysis of units, and numerical integration methods;
- that you can develop and use mathematical formulations of some elementary (agro)ecological, chemical and physical processes;
- that you can judge data accuracies and the adequacy of models;
- that you can solve simple problems by building, analyzing and applying simulation models;
- that you can apply the principles of Good Modelling Practice including problem analysis, data requirement, conceptual models, mathematical models (consisting of algebraic and differential equations), numerical integration, model analysis, model application, interpretation of results, and activities to enable re-use of models;
- that you can solve in a scientific way a real-life complex problem for the domain(s) of Forest and Nature Conservation in multidisciplinary groups.


Classroom lectures (25%), mini-models (15%), practical training (30%), problem oriented education (30%).


Written exam, group work, presentations.


Reader and course outline available, see

Compulsory for: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScC: Ecology3WD
Restricted Optional for: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Management3WD
MGIGeo-Information ScienceMSc3WD