FNP-32306 Decision-Making in Forest and Nature Management: Theory and Practice


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper1
Group work12
Excursion (one day)8
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MA Hoogstra-Klein
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. MA Hoogstra-Klein
dr. KAJ Arts
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MA Hoogstra-Klein
dr. KAJ Arts

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

FNP-21306 Management of Forest and Nature Organisations.

Continuation courses:

Thesis Forest and Nature Conservation Policy.


At every moment in time, people dealing with forest and nature have to make choices about the use, management and/or conservation of forest and nature areas. They face a multitude of possibilities to choose from and need to select a course of action. The importance of the decision process is immense, as that what forest and nature eventually becomes, is a consequence of the decisions made. This course offers a deeper insight into the theoretical field of both individual and collective decision-making in forest and nature management and its practical applications. In this course the central focus will be on the analysis, understanding and application of human decision-making with regard to the use, management and conservation of nature and forests.
This course, first and foremost, focuses on the understanding of individual and group decision-making and decision-making processes. In this course, we explore three types of decision-making, always in relation to forest and nature (the object of our course). Differences between the types of decision-making lie in the subject(s) of decision-making:
- the simplest case, called individual decision-making, assumes a single decision-maker who makes decisions, unimpeded by other people.
- in competitive decision-making, the situation is different from the one above in that the decision of the individual decision-maker depends on the interaction with and decisions made by other people This type of decision-making can be either cooperative (a certain decision means a win situation for both actor A and actor B) or strategic (the gain of actor A is the loss of actor B and vice versa).
- the third case, group decision-making, is a situation faced when individuals collectively (have to) make a choice from the alternatives available.
Because decision-making situations differ (e.g. resource type, available information, presence of conflicting views), different types of decision situations in forest and nature management will be discussed. The possibilities and limitations of the different decision-making approaches in the different decision situations will be investigated. Different topics from forest and nature conservation will be used as examples to reflect on related theory and practice. The course will not be limited to a certain region, thus including Dutch/European/global applications and examples.
This is a course for students with an interest in decision-making and applications for forest and nature conservation and management. Lectures are taught at an advanced level, and experientially (e.g., in-class experiments) and expect interaction and exchange between those participating in the course.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe decision-making and the main theoretical approaches to decision-making (including individual, competitive, group and political decision approaches)
- critically assess and evaluate the main theoretical approaches to decision-making and how they relate to forest and nature management;
- analyse the complexity and uncertainty within which decisions in forest and nature management are made;
- think critically and reflectively on theoretical, empirical and applied issues of decision-making and their inter-relationships in forest and nature management;
- design a strategy to influence decision-making in an actual situation in forest and nature management.


The course includes different learning activities:
- preparing for, attendance of, and reflection on lectures;
self-study and preparation for examination;
- several small individual and group assignments;
- individual reflection.


The extent to which the student reached the learning objectives will be tested by (1) a 3-hour written exam,  (2) several smaller assignments, and an (3) an individual reflection. The final exam will count 60% and the individual reflection 40% towards the final grade. The smaller assignments do not count towards the final mark, but have to be graded with a sufficient mark (5.5 or above) to pass the course. Students also need to have a minimum partial grade of 5.5 for both the exam and the individual reflection, and should have participated in the mandatory elements of the course.


More information about the course will become available through the internet-site of the course.

Keuze voor: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Spec. B - Management5MO
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScA: Spec. A - Policy and Society5MO