Modules for course D5AA | MSC/STFOR
MSc Sustainable Tropical Forestry

These are the modules currently offered on this course in the 2019–20 academic year.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2018–19; 2020–21.

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Year 1 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • DDL-4202: Silviculture (20)
    We explore the unique characteristics of forest soils and of soil physical, chemical and biological properties, how these influence site productivity and how these are influenced by land management. The module is in seven units and runs over 14 weeks of the academic year. The module begins with a brief review of the history of silviculture and its role in the sustainable management of tree, woodland and forest resources. We will look at some of the basic botany of tree growth, and consider the role that genetics plays in shaping species’ silvicultural characteristics and responses to silvicultural interventions. Productivity is to a large extent driven by environmental conditions, particularly the edaphic (soil) environment, and we will look at how these site conditions influence the choice of species to plant. Two units will focus on silvicultural practices from regeneration through to harvesting (or should that be from harvesting through to regeneration?) considering a range of examples from temperate and tropic regions. We will look at a range of silvicultural systems, historic, current and future, again considering how the choice of system is influenced by the local environmental context as well as by management objectives. In the final unit, we will consider ways in which we might use all the above knowledge to transform woodlands or forests, bringing them into productive management, or restoring them to a desired state.
  • DXX-4515: Contemporary Forestry (10)
    This module is comprised of 2 introductory sub-modules (3 e-lessons each), 7 core content sub-modules (3-6 e-lessons each), plus one (optional) supplementary sub-module. 1. Introduction (un-assessed) - Starting up 2. Introduction (un-assessed) - Are you climate friendly? 3. The climate issues: IPCC forecasts; community-based resilience; strategies to react. 4. Best practices: Project activities; Additionality; Permanence; Leakage; Co-benefits. 5. Policy-Institutional initiatives: UNFCC; CDM JI; Post-Kyoto; REDD+. 6. Policy-Voluntary initiatives What and why; Who is who; Fields of activities; Prices & trends; Carbon washing. 7. Carbon standards: Why and what; Types of standards; Who does what; Registries; Case studies. 8. Project building-1: Actiors’ map; Project phases; Validation and certification; Fundraising; monitoring; Discounting and credit marketing. 9. Project building-2: Testing Additionality; Baseline calculations; Estimating permanence; Estimating leakage. 10. Supplementary (un-assessed) - Ready to be a CO2 hero?: Synergies with forest management standards; benefit sharing mechanisms; local and indigenous community participation.
  • DXX-4517: Forest Ecology and Resources (20)
    The module will cover general principles relevant across a wide range of biomes, but primarily natural forests with high biodiversity, that are dominated by natural dynamic processes. Its focus is on the methods used to assess plant biodiversity, stand structure and dynamics, and analyse and interpret the resulting data. It is designed as a specialist module for which students will require knowledge of plant population and community ecology (from previous study or preparatory reading). Because of the limit of available time the module gives minimal coverage of ecological theory, natural history, animals or UK-specific methodologies. The module is dominated by practical sessions and there is a strong emphasis on “learning by doing”. The syllabus starts with an overview of world-forest resources (including the challenges of their definition and classification). It will assess the scale, rates, distribution and causes of deforestation and forest degradation. Then their implication of global and local ecosystem services will be considered. There will be a brief overview of forest policy issues, instruments and initiatives, leading to forest management and conservation. A brief overview of ecological theory and knowledge applied to forests is then provided, with emphasis on landscape ecology, forest dynamics, ecological diversity of tree species, the ecological basis of silviculture, and the maintenance of biodiversity. It incorporates an overview of welsh woodland and ecology as the context for the setting of the field practicals.

Semester 2

  • DXX-4501: ERASMUS MUNDUS SUMMER MODULE (15)
    A two-week field course to an environmentally diverse area. This will alternate between tropical environments in collaboration with consortia partners (e.g. Costa Rica (hosted by CATIE), French Guiana (hosted by ENGREF)). Students will be taken to a variety of sites which demonstrate a range of natural and managed vegetation, and a range of conservation and sustainability issues. Some of these will involve meeting and discussion with local experts. In the second week, students will work in small teams on a project evolved in discussion with the teaching staff.
  • DXX-4519: Location Specific Knowledge (15)
    The course is a preparatory course for the Joint Summer Module (DXX4501). The course includes training in locating and assessing location specific literature; conducting critical online discussions as part of project preparation; preparing and analysing empirically based project proposals; selecting appropriate data collection instruments; finalising a fieldwork project proposal. The location of the course will vary from year to year.

Optional Modules

40 credits from:

  • DDL-4004: Agroforestry Systems & Prac. (20) (Semester 1)
    Agroforestry practices worldwide and their role within the farming and forest systems. Introduction to systems analysis. Principles of agroecology. Ecological interactions and biophysics of multi-component systems: Soil and microclimate effects; land equivalent area, multiple outputs. Case studies illustrating a wide range of ecological interactions. Social and economic interactions with specific reference to agroforestry. Land use and sustainable livelihoods. Income diversity/stability/resilience/risk mitigation. Ecosystems services (external benefits) specifically relating to agroforestry. Case studies illustrating social and economic aspects of agroforestry.
  • DDL-4207: Global Food Security (20) (Semester 1)
    • Introduction to food security and food systems: Definitions and evolution of the concept of food security; conventional and alternative food systems and their interconnections • Cropping systems : Intensive, subsistence and alternative systems • Drivers affecting the food system: Population and increased demand; Governance; Energy and other costs; Competition for resources • Impact of future climate change; Impacts of rising prices • Sustainably balancing future supply and demand; improving productivity using existing knowledge and emerging technologies; sustainable intensification • Reducing waste; improving governance; reducing / managing demand • Linking food systems with environmental policy; improving biodiversity and ecosystem services while increasing food production
  • DXX-4536: Urban Forestry (20) (Semester 1)

Year 2 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • DDL-4004: Agroforestry Systems & Prac. (20)
    Agroforestry practices worldwide and their role within the farming and forest systems. Introduction to systems analysis. Principles of agroecology. Ecological interactions and biophysics of multi-component systems: Soil and microclimate effects; land equivalent area, multiple outputs. Case studies illustrating a wide range of ecological interactions. Social and economic interactions with specific reference to agroforestry. Land use and sustainable livelihoods. Income diversity/stability/resilience/risk mitigation. Ecosystems services (external benefits) specifically relating to agroforestry. Case studies illustrating social and economic aspects of agroforestry.
  • DDL-4202: Silviculture (20)
    We explore the unique characteristics of forest soils and of soil physical, chemical and biological properties, how these influence site productivity and how these are influenced by land management. The module is in seven units and runs over 14 weeks of the academic year. The module begins with a brief review of the history of silviculture and its role in the sustainable management of tree, woodland and forest resources. We will look at some of the basic botany of tree growth, and consider the role that genetics plays in shaping species’ silvicultural characteristics and responses to silvicultural interventions. Productivity is to a large extent driven by environmental conditions, particularly the edaphic (soil) environment, and we will look at how these site conditions influence the choice of species to plant. Two units will focus on silvicultural practices from regeneration through to harvesting (or should that be from harvesting through to regeneration?) considering a range of examples from temperate and tropic regions. We will look at a range of silvicultural systems, historic, current and future, again considering how the choice of system is influenced by the local environmental context as well as by management objectives. In the final unit, we will consider ways in which we might use all the above knowledge to transform woodlands or forests, bringing them into productive management, or restoring them to a desired state.
  • DDL-4999: Distance learning Dissertation (60)
    Execution and written presentation of a suitable scientific project which is devised by the student and an individual academic supervisor and validated by the convenor and/or Programme Director. A suitable project entails a worthwhile scientific question, of direct relevance to the degree programme being undertaken, and established against the context of framework of current knowledge and concepts, that allows the formulation and testing of one or more hypotheses. This would be expected to involve up to 12 months part-time work, typically including: 6-8 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 2-3 months for data analysis; and 2-3 months for writing-up, including correction of the first draft after the comments of the supervisor are received.

Semester 2

  • DDL-4999: Distance learning Dissertation
    Execution and written presentation of a suitable scientific project which is devised by the student and an individual academic supervisor and validated by the convenor and/or Programme Director. A suitable project entails a worthwhile scientific question, of direct relevance to the degree programme being undertaken, and established against the context of framework of current knowledge and concepts, that allows the formulation and testing of one or more hypotheses. This would be expected to involve up to 12 months part-time work, typically including: 6-8 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 2-3 months for data analysis; and 2-3 months for writing-up, including correction of the first draft after the comments of the supervisor are received.

0 credits from:

  • DXX-4527: Research Planning & Comm (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    Overall, this module seeks to develop students’ understanding of the role of science and the scientific process in formulating and addressing context relevant questions, and communicating scientific output to different audiences. During the course of the module, students will devise, conduct and write up a policy-relevant scientific study.
  • Students will attend some lectures for DXX4527 but will not receive any credits.

Optional Modules

20 credits from:

  • DDL-4207: Global Food Security (20) (Semester 1)
    • Introduction to food security and food systems: Definitions and evolution of the concept of food security; conventional and alternative food systems and their interconnections • Cropping systems : Intensive, subsistence and alternative systems • Drivers affecting the food system: Population and increased demand; Governance; Energy and other costs; Competition for resources • Impact of future climate change; Impacts of rising prices • Sustainably balancing future supply and demand; improving productivity using existing knowledge and emerging technologies; sustainable intensification • Reducing waste; improving governance; reducing / managing demand • Linking food systems with environmental policy; improving biodiversity and ecosystem services while increasing food production
  • DXX-4517: Forest Ecology and Resources (20) (Semester 1)
    The module will cover general principles relevant across a wide range of biomes, but primarily natural forests with high biodiversity, that are dominated by natural dynamic processes. Its focus is on the methods used to assess plant biodiversity, stand structure and dynamics, and analyse and interpret the resulting data. It is designed as a specialist module for which students will require knowledge of plant population and community ecology (from previous study or preparatory reading). Because of the limit of available time the module gives minimal coverage of ecological theory, natural history, animals or UK-specific methodologies. The module is dominated by practical sessions and there is a strong emphasis on “learning by doing”. The syllabus starts with an overview of world-forest resources (including the challenges of their definition and classification). It will assess the scale, rates, distribution and causes of deforestation and forest degradation. Then their implication of global and local ecosystem services will be considered. There will be a brief overview of forest policy issues, instruments and initiatives, leading to forest management and conservation. A brief overview of ecological theory and knowledge applied to forests is then provided, with emphasis on landscape ecology, forest dynamics, ecological diversity of tree species, the ecological basis of silviculture, and the maintenance of biodiversity. It incorporates an overview of welsh woodland and ecology as the context for the setting of the field practicals.
  • DXX-4536: Urban Forestry (20) (Semester 1)