Nature Perception - Theories and Methods for Investigation

Course content

Want to work professionally with a variety of stakeholders in nature projects?

In this problem and knowledge based course you will learn about how nature conflicts are embedded in different nature views and values, and how to analyse various stakeholders nature perception in theory and exercises. By applied theory and discussion, the course explores people’s visions, ideas and values related to real-life cases of nature and landscape management. Visions, ideas and values of the involved stakeholders, e.g. full time farmers, hobby farmers, foresters, culture heritage managers, biologists, locals, and visitors to the countryside might serve as examples of different and often conflicting interests in the same area. Knowledge on such stakeholders’ nature perception and nature values are central to sustainability thinking. The course relates to problem areas addressed in the following sustainability development goals: 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land).

In lectures you will be introduced to different methods, approaches and frameworks for analysing perceptions of nature, i.e. visions, concepts, images or views of nature. We will study frameworks from environmental psychology, anthropology, sociology, environmental ethics, human geography, and landscape research. Concepts such as rewilding; value orientations; environmental framing; social representations; place attachment; myth of nature; faking nature; human-nature relationships; nature connectedness, and cultural ecosystem services are addressed. Further, values of selected groups of people are presented and discussed. Based on introductory lectures the use of different frameworks for investigations of perceptions of nature are exercised based on real life cases.


MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
MSc Programme in Nature Management

Learning outcome

The course has two overall goals: to make the students aware of their personal biases in relation to nature values; and to enable them to identify, analyze and compare the meanings of nature of different stakeholders in order to generate appropriate solutions to problems and/or conflicts regarding nature and landscape. 

Knowledge: Present examples of different theories and methodologies for analyzing meanings of nature and describe and compare their content 

Skills: Ability to select and use methods and theories for analyses and comparison of nature perception in concrete cases. 

Competences: Ability to present and discuss similarities and differences of nature perception based on theories and empery.

Fundamental theoretical understanding of different perceptions of nature are presented in lectures and obtained through individual readings. Practical knowledge is acquired through exercises and field trips. Personal skills of analysis, interpretation and presentation are developed through student presentations, group work, and plenary discussions.

Please see Absalon.

Bacelor degree in Natural Resource Management, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Biology, Environmental Sciences or similar is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Type of assessment details
An individual written synopsis on a self-selected case is handed in before the oral exam.

In the oral exam, the written synopsis is elaborated by the student in an oral presentation (10 minutes), followed by a discussion with teachers and censor (15 minutes).

Weight: Written synopsis 30%, oral examination 70%.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

The assessment is based on the intended learning outcomes and syllabus

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 133
  • Exercises
  • 21
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Anton Stahl Olafsson   (4-67797572466f6d7434717b346a71)
  • Sandra Gentin   (7-776b6972786d72446d6b72326f7932686f)

Anton Stahl Olafsson, Sandra Gentin and more

Saved on the 28-02-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students