LNAK10081U Nature Perception - Theories and Methods for Investigation

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Nature Management
MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
The perspectives of full time and hobby farmers, foresters, biologists or visitors to the countryside might serve as examples of different and often conflicting interests in the same areas. In lectures the students will be introduced to different methods (from semiotics, anthropology, hermeneutics, human geography, questionnaires, GIS  etc.) for analyses of perceptions of nature. Further, values of selected groups of people will be presented and discussed.
Based on introductory lectures the use of different methods for investigations of perceptions of nature will be excersised.
Learning Outcome
The course has two overall goals: to make the students aware of their personal biases in relation to landscape 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 in the countryside.

Knowledge: Present examples of different theories and methodologies for analyzing meanings of nature and describe and compare their content; demonstrate overview of Danish outdoor recreation, nature interpretation, and the history of western countries' philosophies of nature.

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.

Litterature will be accessible from KUnet
Arler, F. (2011). Landscape Democracy in a Globalizing World: The Case of TangeLake. Landscape Research 36(4): 487-507.

Buijs, A. (2009). Historical views on nature in Buijs, A. Public natures: Social representations of nature and local practices, Alterra, Wageningen, pp. 50-59. 

Buijs A, Pedroli B, Luginbühl Y. (2006). From Hiking Through Farmland to Farming in a Leisure Landscape: Changing Social Perceptions of the European Landscape. Landscape Ecology 21(3):375-89.

Byg A , Salick J. (2009). Local perspectives on a global phenomenon - climate change in eastern tibetan villages. Global Environmental Change, 19(2):156-166.

Caspersen, OH. & Olafsson, AS (2010).  Recreational mapping and planning for enlargement of the green structure in greater Copenhagen. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, vol 9/2, pp. 101-112.

Douglas, M. (1996): “Four Cultural Types”. In Douglas, M. Thought Styles. Critical Essays on Good Taste. Sage Publications,London,Thousand Oaks,New Delhi, pp. 83-92.

Gamborg C. & Sandøe P. (2004): Beavers and biodiversity: The ethics of ecological restoration, in Oksanen, M. & J.Pietarinen (eds.) Philosophy and Biodiversity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, pp. 217-236.

Gentin, S. (2011). Outdoor recreation and ethnicity inEurope– a review. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 10, pp. 153-161.

Gjerris M (2012): The willed blindness of humans: animal welfare and beyond, in Potthas T & Meisch S: Climate change and sustainable development. Ethical perspectives on land use and food production. Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp. 35-40.

Hansen-Møller, J. (2008): Natursyns model: A conceptual framework and method for analysing andcomparing views of nature, Landscape and Urban Planning,89(3-4): 65-74

Manning, R.E. (2011). Outdoor Recreation Places. Emotional and Symbolic Meanings. In: Manning, R.E. (ed): Studies in Outdoor Recreation. Search and Research for Satisfaction. Chapter 12, pp. 256-272.ThirdEd.OreganStateUniversityPress.

Olafsson, A.S. et al. (manuscript) Comparison of GIS-based recreation experience mapping and visitor participatory mapping.

Selman, P. (2006). People and Landscapes. In: P. Selman (ed): Planning at the landscape scale. Routledge, London, PP. 51-68.

Teel, T.L.; Manfredo, M.J.; Jensen, F.S.; Buijs, A.E.; Fischer, A.; Riepe, C.; Arlinghaus, R.; Jacobs, M.H. (2010). Understanding the cognitive basis for human-wildlife relationships as a key to successful protected-area management. International Journal of Sociology 40/3, pp. 104 – 123.


Bacelor degree in Natural Resource Management, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Biology or something similar
Fundamental theoretical understanding of the different perceptions of nature now and in other historical epochs are presented in lectures and obtained through individual readings. Practical knowledge is acquired through exercises, field trips and visits to relevant institutions/​organizations. Personal skills of analysis, interpretation and presentation are developed through plenary discussions.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 146
  • Project work
  • 1
  • Theory exercises
  • 5
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 25 min.
Written synopsis. The written synopsis is elaborated by the student in 10 minutes, followed by 15 minutes oral examination.

Weight: Written synopsis 30%, oral examination 70%.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
See learning outcome (målbeskrivelse).