Modules for course D5AB | MSC/SFNM
MSc Sustainable Forest and Nature Management

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.

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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.
  • DXX-4527: Research Planning & Comm (20)
    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.

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-4505: Natural Resource Management (20)
    Ecosystem services and the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment; Systems concepts and the sustainable livelihoods framework; Participatory modelling of natural resource management issues; Using systems models to explore natural resource management issues; Using visualisation systems to explore natural resource management issues; Incorporating local knowledge in natural resource management; Systematic approaches to local knowledge.
  • 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.
  • DXX-4527: Research Planning & Comm
    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.

Year 2 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • DXX-4016: Conservation science (20)
    The module presents the key concepts which underpin the conservation of populations, species and habitats. It also considers the conservation and management of biological resources in their wider context, and appreciates the interactions between natural and social systems. Emphasis is placed on using scientific methodology and evidence-based practice in all aspects of conservation and wildlife management. Specific areas covered include: evidence for an extinction crisis, conservation ethics, global patterns of diversity and threat, population ecology and the theory of sustainable exploitation, marine conservation, natural resource economics, conservation genetics and the challenges faced by small populations, the theory of island biogeography and its relevance to reserve design, setting conservation priorities, payments for ecosystem services and market mechanisms for conservation, conservation status & legislation, invasive species, ex situ conservation, engaging local people in conservation, wildlife disease, climate change and pollution.
  • DXX-4042: Agriculture & the environment (20)
    Introduction to farming systems in the UK: crop areas and livestock numbers; land capability classification, land tenure; upland and lowland farming systems; organic, conventional and integrated farm management systems. Historical trends in land use and their impact on the landscape. Goods and services provided by agricultural systems. Crop management: principles and practices involved in the use of pesticides and fertilizers, their fate in the environment and their impact on biodiversity and water quality. Statutory and voluntary measures to minimise negative effects. Water Framework Directive. Livestock production systems. Systems used for the management of ruminant and housed livestock. Farm waste management. Impact of grazing management in the hills and uplands. Climate change: contribution of agriculture to climate change; impact of climate change on agriculture. Carbon footprinting. EU support for agriculture: single farm payment, agri-environment schemes. Environmental impact of conventional, low input and organic farming systems.
  • DXX-4527: Research Planning & Comm (20)
    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.

Semester 2

  • DXX-4527: Research Planning & Comm
    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.
  • DXX-4999: MSc Dissertation (60) Core
    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 in the prerequisite DXX-4040. 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 5 months full-time work, typically including: 2-3 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 1-2 months for data analysis; and 1-2 months for writing-up, including correction of the first draft after the comments of the supervisor are received.