Koen Arts is a part-time Lecturer at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He focusses on human dimensions of nature conservation and often works from a political ecology perspective on topics such as: human-wildlife interaction and conflict; community-based conservation; applications of digital technologies; wild nature recreation; rewilding; and cultural aspects of conservation.

He has worked in various places around the world, including India, Scotland and Brazil. His work features in prominent journals in the field. Koen has edited an Ambio Special Issue on Digital Conservation, given frequent presentations for peers, policy makers and practitioners at international venues, authored various other professional publications, and has peer-reviewed for more than twenty different scientific journals. 

He teaches in the BSc course Forest, Nature, Society (FNP-11806), and in the MSc courses Communities, Conservation and Development (FNP-31306) and Decision-making in Forest and Nature Management (FNP-32306). He supervises several BSc and MSc thesis students every year.


Academic biography

  • 2015-   Lecturer Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

  • 2015-2016   Research Fellowship (Science without borders, CNPq) 'Digital conservation in the Pantanal: Developing new political ecology perspectives on digital applications in natural resource conservation'. Pantanal Research Centre, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, Brazil.

  • 2012-2014   Research Fellowship Natural Resource Conservation group, dot.rural, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

  • 2008-2012   PhD in Biological Sciences (passed with no corrections required), University of Aberdeen and The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom. Supervisors: Prof. Anke Fischer and Prof. René van der Wal. External examiner: Prof. Bill Adams, University of Cambridge.

  • 2002-2008   BA and MA (cum laude) in Philosophy. Specialisation: social and political philosophy. Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

  • 2003-2005   Interdisciplinary Honours Programme Certificate, extracurricular evening programme. Specialisation: theory of literature. Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

  • 2001-2007   BSc and MSc (cum laude) in Forest and Nature Conservation. Specialisation: policy and management. Wageningen University, the Netherlands.


Professional publications

Arts K, Melero Y, Webster G, Sharma N, Tintarev N, Tait E, Mellish C, Sripada S, MacMaster A, Sutherland H, Horrill C, Lambin X, Van der Wal R. 2020. On the merits and pitfalls of introducing a digital platform to aid conservation management: Volunteer data submission and the mediating role of volunteer coordinators. Journal of Environmental Management, 265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110497


Dekker L, Arts K, Turnhout E. 2020. From rationalities to practices: Understanding unintended consequences of CBNRM. Conservation and Society. https://doi.org/10.4103/cs.cs_19_29


Arts K, Macleod C, Ioris A, Han X, Sripada S, Braga J, Maffey G, Jekjantuk N, Zeng C, Van der Wal R. 2019. Towards more effective online environmental information provision through tailored natural language generation: Profiles of Scottish river user groups and an evaluative experiment. Science of the Total Environment, 673, 643-655.         https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.440


Mooij M, Mendonça S, Arts K. 2018. Conserving biocultural diversity through community-government interaction: A practice-based approach in a Brazilian extractive reserve. Sustainability, 11 (1), 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010032


Arts K, Rabelo M, Figueiredo D, Maffey G, Ioris A, Girard P. 2018. Online and offline representations of biocultural diversity: A political ecology perspective on nature-based tourism and indigenous communities in the Brazilian Pantanal. Sustainability, 10 (10), 3643. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103643


Arts K, Fischer A, Van der Wal R. 2016. Boundaries of the wolf and the wild: A conceptual examination of the relationship between rewilding and animal reintroduction. Restoration Ecology, 24 (1), 27-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rec.12309


Arts K, Ioris A, Macleod CJ, Han X, Sripada SG, Braga JF, Van der Wal R. 2016. Environmental communication in the Information Age: Institutional barriers and opportunities in the provision of river data to the general public. Environmental Science and Policy, 55 (1), 47-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2015.08.011


Arts K, Van der Wal R, Adams WM. 2015. Digital technology and the conservation of nature. Ambio, 44 (Suppl. 4), 661-673. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0705-1


Maffey G, Homans H, Banks K, Arts K. 2015. Digital technology and human development: A charter for conservation. Ambio, 44 (Suppl. 4), 527-537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0703-3


Van der Wal R, Arts K. 2015. Digital Conservation: An introduction. Ambio,  44 (Suppl. 4), 517-521. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0701-5


Arts K, Ioris A, Macleod C, Han X, Sripada Y, Braga J, Van der Wal R. 2015. Supply of online environmental information to unknown demand: The importance of interpretation and liability related to a national network of river level data. Scottish Geographical Journal, 131 (3-4: The Rural Digital Economy), 245-252. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14702541.2014.978809


Arts K, Fischer A, Van der Wal R. 2014. Political decision-making, governance shifts and Scottish animals reintroductions: Are democratic principles at stake? Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 57 (4), 612-628. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2012.758627


Arts K, Webster G, Sharma N, Melero Y, Mellish C, Lambin X, Van der Wal R. 2013. Capturing mink and data: Interacting with a small and dispersed environmental initiative over the introduction of digital innovation. Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT. http://responsible-innovation.org.uk/resource-detail/1059


Arts K and Maffey G. 2013. Trump’s golf course - society’s nature: The death and resurrection of nature conservation. ECOS, 34 (1), 49-58. https://www.ecos.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ECOS-34-1-49-Trumps-golf-course.pdf


Arts K, Fischer A, Van der Wal R. 2012. Reintroducing charismatic species to Scotland: The rhetoric and politics of a 21st century agenda. ECOS, 33 (3/4), 61-67. https://www.ecos.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ECOS-33-3-4-61-Reintroducing-charismatic-species-to-Scotland.pdf


Arts K, Fischer A, Van der Wal R. 2012. Common stories of reintroduction: A discourse analysis of documents supporting animal reintroductions to Scotland. Land Use Policy, 29 (4), 911-920. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.01.009


Arts K, Fischer A, Van der Wal R. 2012. The promise of wilderness between paradise and hell: A cultural-historical exploration of a Dutch national park. Landscape Research, 37 (3), 239-256. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2011.589896