Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Conflicting demands in European Forests - a wicked problem?

Date: 24 June 2018 - 02 July 2018
Location: Wageningen University

All across Europe we see examples of areas in which various stakeholders try to use or even exploit the land such that it optimises their demands. Often times, these demands conflict between stakeholders. For instance, nature conservationists may attempt to maintain the area in a natural state, while local industry (forestry, mining, agriculture) may try to exploit the land maximally. The tourism sector, on the other hand, may wish to use the area for recreational purposes, potentially pressurizing the environment. And of course, the local community has its demands for land use.

More and more, decision makers are confronted with such conflicting demands when trying to develop sustainable land-use strategies. This may lead to a so-called wicked problem; a complex issue that defies complete definition, for which there can be no final solutions, since any resolution generates further issues, and where solutions are not true or false or good or bad, but the best that can be done at the time.

Scientists working on these wicked problems need to be trained to work in trans-, multi- and interdisciplinary teams of experts with various different scientific backgrounds, such as ecologists, economists, political, and social scientists. This course aims to teach them the skills they need for working in diverse teams, by means of a real-life case.

The idea of this course is to bring PhD candidates and postdocs from various countries and cultural backgrounds, and working in different scientific disciplines but related to European forests, together in a professional on-site training course. As multidisciplinary teams, we will introduce them to the various stakeholders, and allow them to collect necessary data that can help them to ultimately present a sustainable, long-term land-use strategy for the case study area or for a representative area elsewhere in Europe.

Course FrequencyOnce every two years
Prior knowledgeNo specific prior knowledge required
Intended credits3 ECTS
Course organisationThe C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation (PE&RC)
More informationCourse website

Former occurrences of this course