Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) / MSc


The central themes within the MSc programme Forest and Nature Conservation are conservation, sustainable management, and policy 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 a truly integrated approach to natural resource management. The programme is unique in its multi-disciplinary character, with true integration of forest and nature elements, based on specific knowledge of forests and nature in and outside Europe. A special programme is the European Master of Forestry, offered by six universities in Europe including Wageningen. It responds to the needs of companies and organizations that require graduates with an international forestry background. This programme can be followed as a special track in the MFN programme.

Learning Outcomes

After succesful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- carry out research in the field of forest and nature conservation by formulating a research proposal, using adequate approaches and techniques and having communication abilities;
- evaluate, develop, coordinate and communicate strategic planning options and management options in forest and nature as a starting programme manager or adviser;
- apply and expand the knowledge of ecological and social economic processes in forest and nature in planning, management and research;
- apply and develop present concepts, different approaches and methodology in ecology, management and policy of forest and nature;
- critically review and:
* (Specialization Policy and Society) make contributions to the entire policy cycle (formulation, design, implementation and evaluation of policies and plans) for the conservation and sustainable management based on knowledge of governance (= the dynamics between people, organizations and institutions in processes of policy making and policy innovation);
* (Specialization Management) develop realistic and feasible management options for nature, including wildlife resource management and forest management ;
* (Specialization Ecology) make contributions to the knowledge of ecological processes in habitats determining the structure, composition and functioning of forests and natural areas.

The MSc graduates are expected to have very good academic competencies for basic and applied research and other academic careers. The MSc graduates are also expected to be able to formulate policies for forest and nature, to advise on issues related to forest and nature, and to design and coordinate at academic level.


- 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