Abstract: Graduates of university programs addressing sustainable resource management are likely to shape strategies for natural resource use in the future. Their academic training needs to foster student knowledge of the multiple dimensions of natural resource management. This paper investigates university student understanding of such challenges. We differentiated situational, conceptual, and procedural types of knowledge, and three domains of knowledge (ecological, socio-economic and institutional knowledge), and sampled beginners (third semester) and seniors (seventh semester) of seven natural resource related programs at the leading Indonesian institution of higher education in the field of natural resource management (IPB Bogor; n = 882). The questionnaire consisted of multiple choice and rating scale items covering ‘locally’ relevant open-access resource use issues. With a confirmatory tau-equivalent LISREL model, construct validity was assessed. The ability to extract relevant information from problem descriptions provided (situational knowledge) did not differ between third and seventh semester students. While it was high for ecological and socio-economic items, it was markedly lower for institutional knowledge. Knowledge of relevant scientific concepts (conceptual knowledge) increased in the ecological and socio-economic domains but the effect was small. Conceptual knowledge in the socio-economical and institutional domains tended to be lower than ecological knowledge. Although there was certain improvement, student judgments on the efficacy of resource management options (procedural knowledge) differed strongly from expert judgments for beginners as well as for senior students. We conclude that many of the university students in the sampled programs displayed substantial gaps in their capacity to solve complex, real-world natural resource management problems. Specifically, the socio-economic and institutional knowledge domains—and their integration with ecological knowledge—may require attention by educational planners.
Keywords: education for sustainable development; environmental education; higher education; Indonesia; knowledge; sustainable resource management; natural resource management
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Koch, S.; Barkmann, J.; Strack, M.; Sundawati, L.; Bögeholz, S. Knowledge of Indonesian University Students on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1443-1460.
Koch S, Barkmann J, Strack M, Sundawati L, Bögeholz S. Knowledge of Indonesian University Students on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Sustainability. 2013; 5(4):1443-1460.
Koch, Sebastian; Barkmann, Jan; Strack, Micha; Sundawati, Leti; Bögeholz, Susanne. 2013. "Knowledge of Indonesian University Students on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources." Sustainability 5, no. 4: 1443-1460.