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Environmental Assessment and Rangeland Management using SDSS Tools

The course will be centred on a  semi-arid rangeland ecosystem with a National Park in the middle of it. Limited forage and water availability for both wildlife and livestock as well as expanding agricultural activities are the main issues causing conflicts between conservationists and the local population. Furthermore, severe degradation due to overgrazing results in dust storms and desertification. Therefore, a proper rangeland management plan and model is needed to be able to cope better within a changing environment.

But how to ensure sustainable rangeland management planning? Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are legalised procedures to support this process. The key principles of SEA and EIA are the involvement of relevant stakeholders, consideration of alternatives and using the best possible information for transparent decision- making. They therefore improve both the (spatial) planning process and the information used in this process. In this course, you will not only get hands-on experience in rangeland modelling, but also explore how SEA can be integrated in the (rangeland) management process to enhance sustainable decision-making.

For whom is the course relevant?

This course is targeted at professionals, experts, planners and decision-makers, as well as academics  interested in the application of spatial decision support tools for sustainable planning, rangeland management and environmental assessment.

Course Content

The aim of the 5-weeks course 'Environmental Assessment and Rangeland Management using SDSS Tools' is to be able to apply the knowledge gained during the course to formulate and assess management decisions to improve the range situation in a semi-arid rangelands ecosystem:

  • EIA and SEA: concepts, principles, process and interaction with the planning process;
  • Rangelands management in SE Kenya: two case studies to model the grazing capacity of the rangelands, and competition between wildlife and livestock (Kajiado: introduction and Maasai Mara: advanced).
  • Hands-on learning in open source GIS: ILWIS 3 and ILWIS 4 (model development in the interactive model builder environment)
  • Integration of hazard and risk in EA: vulnerability and risk assessment, mitigation & adaptation, risk zoning, ecosystem based risk reduction;
  • Alternatives: development and analysis of alternatives and options;
  • Cost-benefit analysis and economic valuation (total economic value - TEV) in EA
  • Spatial Decision Support tools in EA: spatial multi-criteria evaluation for site selection and vulnerability analysis; dynamic land use modelling
  • Final project dealing with a typical application within the field of environmental assessment for spatial planning.

The course will be 'problem-driven', based on learning by doing. Several real-life based case studies from different disciplines will be offered to gain hands-on experience in environmental assessment for rangeland management and decision-making

What will be achieved?

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basic principles, procedures and steps in EIA and SEA and their integration in the planning process
  • Generally understand a semi-arid rangelands ecosystem, including food security but also human impact.
  • Understanding of structural and floristic composition of rangelands and its significance.
  • Use satellite imagery for quantitative assessment of the rangelands status.
  • Estimate biomass/forage production and consumption
  • Apply spatial and temporal modelling
  • Develop and assess alternatives and options using RS, GIS and (spatial) multi-criteria evaluation techniques
  • Demonstrate the use of cost-benefit analysis and economic valuation in environmental assessment
  • Apply SDS tools for site selection, environmental sensitivity and vulnerability assessment, and ecosystem based risk reduction.

Why choose this course?

This course will provides the latest knowledge and skills in Environmental Assessment for rangelands management, using advanced tools and techniques to spatially asses different management scenarios for sustainable range management.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course. 

Along with your Certificate you will receive a Course Record providing the name, and if applicable, all the subjects studied as part of the course. It states: the course code, subject, EC credits, exam date, location and the mark awarded.

This certificate course is part of the accredited Master’s  Geo-information Science and earth Observation at ITC. If you decide to take the full Master’s Geo-information Science and Earth Observation at ITC, the Examination Board will give you in principle exemption from the course you followed successfully as a certificate course.

Admission requirements

Academic level and background

Applicants for the Certificate programme should have a Bachelor degree or equivalent from a recognized university in a discipline related to the course, preferably combined with working experience in a relevant field.

Some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules require knowledge of, and skills in, working with GIS and/or digital image processing of remotely sensed data.

Skills in taught or related subjects are a prerequisite for some courses in the Certificate programme or separate modules. Even if the applicant satisfies the overall admission requirements, acceptance is not automatic.


The faculty accepts transcripts, degrees and diplomas in the following languages: Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. It is at the discretion of the faculty to require additional English translations of all documents in other languages as well.

English language

As all courses are given in English, proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite.

If you are a national of one of the countries in this list (PDF), you are exempted from an English language test.

Please note: the requirements when applying for fellowships may vary according to the regulations of the fellowship provider.

English language tests: minimum requirements

Only internationally recognised test results are accepted.

TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT)


TOEFL Internet-based Test


British Council / IELTS



C2 Proficiency / C1 Advanced

Computer skills

Applicants lacking computer experience are strongly advised to follow basic courses in their home countries.

Key information

5 weeks
Full-time (no part-time programs possible)
100% English taught
Enschede, Netherlands