Forest and Nature Conservation (BBN) / BSc


The point of departure for the Forest and Nature Conservation programme is the strong conviction that ecological and social sciences are equally important for optimal conservation, protection and management of natural resources and species populations. Students need to achieve both a profound understanding of the ecological functioning of ecosystems and populations, as well of the social, economic and political context in which these systems and populations exist. Our programme provides a thorough academic training, focusing on theories related to the ecology and biology of natural and semi-natural ecosystems and populations, and the social and political forces that ultimately lead to decisions in their use and management.
Forest and Nature Conservation, both as a scientific and professional activity is at the centre of the three core areas of the Wageningen UR domain: Natural Resources and Living Environment; Society and Well-being; Food, Feed and Biobased Production. Resource use and conservation affects people's livelihoods and the provision of food, biomass and other ecosystem services, and ultimately the quality of life.
Students study in an increasingly international academic setting, and acquire a basic understanding of the characteristics and functioning of ecosystems and social systems. Students develop knowledge and skills that prepare them for the next stage of their academic career; the master's programme or, depending on the minor, the professional field. Students can follow a major within one of two subdomains: Ecology and Conservation, or Policy and Society. Within each major, explicit attention is paid to the inherent multidisciplinarity of the domain of Forest and Nature Conservation.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain the functioning of forests and natural areas as social-ecological systems at different temporal and spatial scales;
- analyse the major biotic and abiotic components of terrestrial ecosystems and identify the most important dominant and indicator species from North-Western Europe;
- analyse the different actors and institutions related to forests and natural areas;
- analyse the process of decision-making and the effects of actions and interventions on the main ecosystem processes and components;
- analyse concepts, approaches and methods and reflect upon scientific literature, with special reference to the resource use of natural and semi-natural ecosystems;
- analyse a problem in the field of forest and nature conservation by applying elementary skills in research planning, collecting, processing and interpreting data and scientific literature and placing results in a wider context;
- evaluate management decisions incorporating ecological, economic and social aspects in resource use;
- present results of scientific analyses to experts and non-experts both orally and in writing, and demonstrate the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team;
- explain the relationships between science and practice and reflect on the role of science in society, including a reflection upon own thinking and work;
- design and plan their own learning path (under supervision);
- (Major Policy and Society) assess the key components of social systems in relation to forests and natural areas;
- (Major Ecology and Conservation) assess and apply ecological theories, using understanding of plant and animal biology, and environmental interactions.


A - Policy and Society;
B - Ecology and Conservation.

Programme Director

G. Elkhuizen  MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)82176

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir. L.M.A. Spoelstra
Phone: 0317-(4)82796
- M.B. Kool, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4)88322

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr. B.H.M. Elands
Secretary: B. van Beek


Study Association

WSBV De Wageningse Studenten Bos- en Natuurbeheer Vereniging

Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MAM Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management;
MCL Climate Studies;
MDR Development and Rural Innovation;
MFN Forest and Nature Conservation;
MGI Geo-information Science;
MTO Tourism, Society and Environment.