Wageningen University, Forestry groups

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Wageningen University, Forestry groups


Department of Environmental Sciences,
Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group
Droevendaalsesteeg 3
P.O.Box 47
6700 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands

Phone +31 317 486 192
Fax +31 317 419 000 

E-mail: frits.mohren email.jpg wur.nl / bas.arts email.jpg wur.nl

Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group: http://www.fem.wur.nl/UK/
Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group: http://www.fnp.wur.nl/UK/

Research priorities

  • Forest Biodiversity
  • Forest Ecology
  • Forest Ecosystem Management
  • Forest Policy and Conservation
  • International Forest and Nature Policy Processes
  • Sustainable Forest Management

International activities in the fields of

  • Forest ecosystem dynamics, forest biodiversity
  • Effects of climate change on forest ecosystems
  • Forest carbon budgets and carbon sequestration
  • Water relations of trees and forests
  • Adaptive silviculture
  • Secondary forests and restoration of degraded forest lands
  • Sustainable integrated forest management
  • Community forestry

Institute description

Wageningen University (WU) was founded in 1918. In recent decades, it has evolved into one of the world's leading education and research centres in natural resources and land use.

Natural resource management has changed rapidly in the last few decades. All over the world, agriculture is becoming more and more market-driven, while pressures on the environment are increasing and conservation and sustainable management of natural resources have become dominant features. Wageningen University has therefore formulated its mission as follows: "Wageningen University wishes to develop and diseminate the scientific knowledge needed to a sustainable supply of society's demand for sufficient, healthy food and a good environment for humans, animals and plants".

The Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) is one of five Departments of Wageningen University. DES covers and co-ordinates the activities of twenty chairs and their accompanying research groups, which provide academic education and fundamental and strategic research activities at university level. The DES chairs and their research groups focus on a broad range of environmental issues such as atmosphere, environment, geo-information systems, landscape and land use planning, nature conservation and management and sustainable use of natural resources such as forests, soil and water.

The Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group (Prof. G.M.J. Mohren) as well as the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (Prof. H. Schanz) are amongst the full chairgroups of the Department of Environmental Sciences.

The Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group of Wageningen University deals with fundamental and applied ecological issues such as forest ecosystem dynamics, environmental influences on tree growth and forest development, and sustainable silvicultural systems. Based on sound understanding of growth and development of forest ecosystems, and of the ecological processes underlying forest ecosystem dynamics in relation to species properties and environmental conditions, guidelines for sustainable forest resource management are derived.

The main objective of the group is to study and provide understanding of tree growth and forest ecosystem dynamics in relation to site conditions, the role of forest ecosystems in vegetation-atmosphere interactions and in cycles of carbon, water and nutrients, and sustainable silvicultural systems for natural resource management. Ongoing research includes a.o. partners from most European countries as well as from China, Russia, Indonesia, Eritrea, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Surinam, Costa Rica, Mexico, USA and Canada.

The focus is on forest ecosystems worldwide, with emphasis on Dutch forestry, European forest resources, and tropical rainforest conservation. Teaching takes place within the MSc programme on Forest and Nature Conservation and amongst others comprises of courses in forest ecosystem analysis, forest resources and sustainable management, and silvicultural systems. As part of the Forest and Nature Conservation curriculum, MSc specialisations on tropical forestry are offered.

The Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group at Wageningen University focuses in research and teaching on political processes underlying the various relations between forests, nature and people. Political processes are thereby understood in a broad sense as the constrained use of social power in decision-making processes of governmental, managerial or interest bodies from local to international level.

Central departure is taken from the fact that forests and nature mean different things to different people. Meaning is ascribed by people and only relative to human use does meaning arise. Representations of forests and nature in political processes, therefore, change from setting to setting and over time with changing preferences of people. The many actions and interactions of people relative to forest and nature issues are shaping respectively a huge variety of understandings of forestry and nature conservation. And the other way round, the socially created understandings underpin the political processes relative to forestry and nature conservation issues.

The research mission in general and education of the WU Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group is to provide insights in the dynamics of how people, organisations, and societies understand and interact as expressed in political processes relative to forestry and nature conservation issues in time and space.

Through theoretically solid and methodologically sound research, our objectives are to develop improved conceptualisations of important or neglected aspects of forest and nature conservation policies, constructive critiques of, and inputs into, nature conservation and forest policy processes, suitable forest and nature conservation policy tools as well as methods.