Environmental collaboration and conflict resolution: The crossroads of forestry, ecosystem services and wildlife

Credits: 5 ECTS
Teaching language: English
Level: PhD
Max. number of attendees: 30
Time: 20-24 August 2018 
Place: University of Eastern Finland, Aurora building room AU205, Yliopistokatu 2, FI-80100 Joensuu
Course fee: Course is free of charge
Forms of study: Lectures, course diary, literature, group works. All students need to participate 80% of course sessions as well as actively carry out writing and reading outside of course sessions. If you cannot fully participate in all these course requirements, you cannot complete the course and get the ECTS credits.
Responsible teachers: Dr. Prof. Irmeli Mustalahti, Dr. Antti Erkkilä, Dr. Prof. Lasse Peltonen, Dr. Jukka Tikkanen, Dr. Prof. Teppo Hujala, Dr. Prof. Jens Emborg (University of Copenhagen), Dr. Prof. Mikaela Vasström (University of Agder)
Experts during the excursion to Ilomantsi: Dr. Prof. Ismo Pölönen, Professor of Environmental Law (Bioeconomy and Natural Resources Law), Dr. Hilkka Heinonen, PhD in Environmental Law, Dr. Timo J. Hokkanen, PhD in Forest Ecology, Adjunct professor Tero Mustonen, PhD in Geography
Contact: Dr. Antti Erkkilä antti.erkkila (at) uef.fi

Target audience

This course is targeted to PhD students with research interest in natural resource management and conflict resolution in particular. We can also take MSc students who are interested in the topic and have a suitable background.

A suitable participant has Bachelor level studies in field of e.g. environmental politics, forest policy and economics, environmental issues, natural resources governance; or has practical experience in environmental conflict situations.

Content and learning outcomes

The course seeks to further the understanding of environmental conflicts and the possibilities of resolving them through collaborative management, mediation and participatory interventions. The course is both academic and practice-driven. Detailed programme of the course will be sent to participants.

After completing the course, the student has

  • an understanding of environmental conflicts
  • developed skills to create collaborative management and participatory interventions
  • learned theoretical underpinnings and conflict analysis perspectives
  • devoped practice-oriented skills in assessments and interventions in conflict situations. 

The course will address natural resource conflicts that are familiar and topical for the course participants. These cases provide a real-world context for the course contents and development of practical skills. The themes include natural resource conflicts in the fields of forestry, nature conservation, mining and land use conflicts more generally. Students are expected to work with concrete conflict cases along the course program; they will special focus a case related e.g. to land use and forest management.

The course is constructed around a framework of environmental collaboration and conflict resolution, drawing from a spectrum of different possible interventions. It starts with introduction of collaborative management and participatory methods and continues with the theory and practice of collaboration, mediation and consensus building. It includes elements of interest-based negotiation theory at its core, and builds on the collaborative model of consensus building. 

After the course students will have skills to 

  • analyse conflict situations; 
  • understand types of intervention and their preconditions, and; 
  • match environmental conflict situations with appropriate response strategies; 
  • understand the principles of meditated negotiation as a conflict resolution strategy; 
  • participate effectively in collaborative multi-party processes.

Study materials

Pre-course reading materials will be available for the students. Please, read the pre-course reading materials before the course. Those articles will help you to understand and follow the course. Students are expected to carry out literature search related to course topics. Lecturers will provide additional lists of literature. The deadline for final course diary will be one month after the course. In end of the final course diary, remember to evaluate your own course participation (credit 1-5) as well as reflect how you could use course learning in your future activities (max 1 page).

Evaluation criteria

Numeric evaluation scale ECTS 0-5, based mainly on the course diary, group works but also active participation during the lectures.

Additional information

The course language is English. Write reflections after each course day (max 1000 words) and mainly discuss some key points as well as your reflections to these key issues discussed during the course sessions and in the material given by the teachers and search by yourself. The deadline for final course diary including all reflections written during the course will be one month after the course. In end of the final course diary, remember to evaluate your own course participation (credit 1-5) as well as reflect how you could use course knowledge in future (max 1 page).



Strategic research

NOVA Univeristy Network


Each student is responsible for booking and paying for the accommodation. Here are some suggestions for budget accommodation close to the course venue at UEF Joensuu Campus. We advise you to book your accommodation in the earliest convenience, in August, the town is full of new students and it will be very difficult to find a room in a short notice.

Partiotalo - budget accommodation in shared rooms, dormitories, and studios. Price per night vary between 11-40 EUR/person/night. We have reserved some rooms for you, please use UEF NOVA code when booking.

ISLO - Finnhostel close to the campus. We have reserved some double rooms for you, 33 EUR/person/night, including breakfast, please use UEF NOVA code when booking.

Green Star - budget hotel in town centre, 1,5 km from campus, for discount use code: NovaUEF.

Linnunlahti camping apartments - close to the campus Linnunlahti apartments are suitable for small groups of 1-6 persons.

Arriving in Joensuu

Following courses

Environmental collaboration and conflict resolution is a series of four courses, that receive funding from the NOVA University Network. Although the four courses constitute a continuum, each course is an individual event and can be completed irregardless of the other courses.

The 2016 course was held at the the University of Eastern Finland and dealt with a forest conflict; involving indigenous people in San Pedro, Oaxaca, Mexico. The 2017 course in Denmark/KU-SCIENCE focused on a Kenyan case; partners being the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI) at the University of Nairobi.

After the 2018 at the UEF, there will be one more course. The course in 2019 will be organized by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and held at the University of Agder in Norway. Information on the up-coming courses will be announced on NOVA website.