nl en

Managing Natural Resources in Law and Practice


Admission requirements

Required course(s):



Natural resources are crucial for human life: we depend on resources such as water, land, food, and minerals for our survival and well-being. Besides vital needs, natural resources are essential for economic production and human socio-cultural life. However, many natural resources are finite or non-renewable, and/or their unsustainable use can lead to environmental degradation and social conflict. Therefore, access to and use of these resources need to be regulated. Natural resource governance refers to the state and non-state norms, institutions and practices that control how rights and obligations over natural resources are exercised, and by whom. While good natural resource management can contribute to peace and prosperity, poor natural resource management can have the exact opposite impact, by promoting conflict and exacerbating inequalities.

This course combines a doctrinal and sociolegal perspective to provide an overview of the role(s) that law – both from the state and other normative systems – plays in the management of natural resources. For such, it looks into the main characteristics of key natural resources such as land, water, minerals, forest products, crops and wildlife, and the problems and dilemmas that legal systems have to deal with when managing access to and use of these resources.

The study of each different resource will be illustrated with case-studies from around the world, ensuring a global perspective on natural resource governance.

Course Objectives

By taking this course and engaging with its content, students should be able:


  • Source, analyze and present research related to natural resource management;

  • Use research as a tool to explore the challenges of different legal approaches to resource management, both in the books and in practice;

  • Communicate effectively through oral and written assignments; and

  • Work together effectively in a group setting.


  • Describe the complexity of resource management and the various dilemmas that law has to deal with.

  • Describe the specificities of different resources, and the legal challenges that their management raises.

  • Recognize different legal approaches to natural resource management and the advantages and disadvantages they come with.

  • Understand the constraints of natural resource management within larger governance challenges.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

In this course we will meet for two 2-hour sessions per week, varying between seminar-style, focused discussions of assigned readings, student presentations, and group work. The component of group work in class is especially strong in this course. The course will be assessed through a mixture of written and oral assessments (see grid below), and students are expected to engage actively in class discussions and debates.

Assessment Method

  • In-class participation, 15%

  • Concept project, 26%

  • Group presentation, 19%

  • Academic essay, 40%

Reading list

The reading list will be made available upon commencement of the course.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Bernardo Ribeiro de Almeida,