REG-31306 Trends in Forest and Nature Conservation


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper2
Course coordinator(s)dr. M Holmgren
Lecturer(s)dr. M Holmgren
dr. P Vergeer
prof. dr. PA Zuidema
Examiner(s)dr. M Holmgren
prof. dr. PA Zuidema
dr. P Vergeer

Language of instruction:



TRENDS in Forest and Nature Conservation is developed by the four chair-groups (WEC, PEN, FNP and FEM) teaching the Master Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) programme and some external invited speakers.

The course reflects on five major trends in conservation science from ecological and social perspectives. The course uses a workshop format with a diverse selection of speakers to present current approaches in conservation and management within each of the five major trends in conservation science. The five main themes and trends analysed during the course are:

1) Resilience of Socio-Ecological Systems
Trend: Increasing awareness of the potential persistence of alternative states in socio-ecological systems

2) Protect-Manage-Fight (Spare vs. Share)
Trend: Increasing recognition that most nature is not pristine and value conservation also in managed ecosystems

3) Conservation Science vs. Practice
Trend: Recognition of the cultural plurality in visions of nature and knowledge on ecological systems including indigenous people and different ways of governing nature and their effectiveness.

4) Ecosystem Approach and Teleconnections
Trend: Recognition of the importance of interactions between ecological systems (at different spatial and temporal scales) for maintaining the structure, functioning and biodiversity of ecosystems.

5) Communicating for Conservation Success
Trend: Environmental scientists and practitioners are increasingly aware of the need to communicate conservation goals and results more effectively with broad and diverse audiences.

The course combines classical lectures, group discussions of scientific papers and individual writing assignments. During the course students practice how to critically evaluate a scientific paper and how to write an essay that discusses the scientific evidence behind a chosen trend in conservation and management.

The course is directed to first year students from the Master in Forest and Nature Conservation (MFN) programme and complemented with students from other master programs.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- analyse emerging trends in conservation science using ecological and social sciences;
- evaluate the scientific evidence underlying a conservation approach;
- assess scientific papers critically;
- write a scientific essay that analyses an emergent trend in conservation.


The course combines different working forms:
- lectures;
- group discussions: paper discussions in small groups (Assignment 1);
- individual essay writing (Assignment 2).
Instructions for the reading and writing assignments are available through Brightspace. Examples of exam questions are also available through Brightspace.


Students are evaluated through 2 assignments and a final exam:
- assignment 1: Reading critically (15%);
- assignment 2: Individual essay (45%);
- final exam (40%).


Course outline and reader are provided online.

Keuze voor: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMSc1AF