Natural resource management has complex problems and are a concerned issue of various interests at local, national and international levels. For local people, natural resources are an important source of living, while at the same time, national governments are also looking at and using natural resources to gain foreign exchange for the country, national economic development, and support increasing demand for population growth. Meanwhile, the international community wants to conserve biodiversity in various places. These conflicting interests have been largely accelerating the depletion of natural resources. In Indonesia, forest resources, for example, are experiencing systematic deforestation due to oil palm plantations and pulp and paper industries. Increased external demand for palm oil, pulp and paper supported by export-oriented government development policies has led to rapid deforestation in Indonesia.
The complexity of natural resource management does not only happen in Indonesia alone, it happens everywhere, especially in Asia. The problem of resource management complexity is also determined by the fact that individual actors and sectors use resources arbitrarily. There is no evidence of integration of natural resource management among actors and sectors and between different levels of interests. It is clear that, in the last decade sector-based approaches have limited applications for sustainable natural resource management. In the meantime, communities do various ways to overcome life. Local survival strategies imply to look at different perspectives in natural resource management. This evidence clearly requires an integrated management of resources through an interdisciplinary approach.
Universities as one of the key actors in resource management also need to adjust and develop their capabilities under the complexity of that problems. To date, the 'hard science' comprising natural resource management such as terrestrial ecology, soil science, botany, geography and mainstream social sciences is abundant, the integration of several disciplines into academic departments has only been achieved at higher degree levels in some institutions in the world. The field of Natural Resource Management in Asia, as worldwide, grows and has excellent future opportunities to contribute to sustainable development. The basic feature of NRM as a science is its interdisciplinary, integrating several independent sciences: physics, spatial science, political science, and social sciences.
Master Degree program in Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) at the Andalas University has entered the age of 8-years since the issuance of Decree No. DIKTI. 1623/D/T/2007 dated on July 6, 2007. Previously, in the period 2004-2007 this study is one of concentration in the Master Degree Program of Regional and Rural Development. The Master Degree program in INRM is one of the multidisciplinary studies at the Andalas University Postgraduate Program. Multidisciplinary means that various disciplines are discussed in this study because the nature and the environment are not enough to be discussed only with one discipline, considering the complex nature of social, economic, and ecological relationships in the real world.
This master degree program has obtained the “B” National Accreditation in Year of 2014 based on the Decree of National Accreditation Board of Higher Education (BAN-PT) No.183/SK/BAN-PT/Akred/M/VI/2014,