Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) / MSc


The MSc programme Forest and Nature Conservation focuses on theories related to the ecology and biology of natural or semi-natural ecosystems and populations, and the social and political forces that lead to decisions in natural resource use and management. As a point of departure for the curriculum, we have the strong conviction that, in order to conserve, protect and manage natural resources and species populations, both a profound understanding of the ecological functioning of ecosystems and populations is required, as well as of the social, economic and political context in which these systems and populations exist. 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 international academic and scientific setting, and acquire a broad understanding of the characteristics and functioning of ecosystems and/or social systems.
The programme prepares them to function as academics in a professional environment. With their knowledge and skills, they can develop nature conservation schemes, design sustainable management options for natural resource use, or play an effective role in policy development related to conservation or resource use. Students specialize in one of three subdomains: Ecology, Management, or Policy and Society. These specializations are thesis-oriented, preparing students for their role as academics in a professional environment or in a PhD programme. Within the Policy and Society specialization students can follow the Sustainable Development Diplomacy track. Within each individual curriculum, explicit attention is paid to the multidisciplinary nature inherent to the domain of Forest and Nature Conservation.

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 (specialization 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 (specialization management);
- create and asses new contributions to the knowledge of ecological processes and functioning in terrestrial ecosystems (specialization ecology);
- 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;
- function effectively in international multidisciplinary teams and 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.


A - Policy and Society;
B - Management;
C - Ecology.

Programme Director

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

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir. C.M. van Hulten
Phone: 0317-(4)82796
- Drs. G.A. Sanders
Phone: 0317-(4)89802

Programme Committee

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


Study Association

WSBV De Wageningse Studenten Bos- en Natuurbeheer Vereniging Sylvatica