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Module DDL-4201:
Social Issues in Forest Mgt.

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Organiser: Mr James Brockington

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of the module is explore the social, cultural, economic and political dimensions of forest management with emphasis on livelihoods and human wellbeing. The module introduces important theoretical and empirical work and takes a global perspective.

The module will provide students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of the social dimensions of forest management and to develop their abilities to review, synthesise and communicate information from a range of source materials (working both individually and collaboratively).

Course content

The module is organised into four units as outlined below:

Unit 1: Changing paradigms and new challenges in forest management; multiple stakeholder groups, diverse values/perspectives and conflict surrounding forest use and development.

Unit 2: Land-use, livelihoods and socio-economic development; understanding forest transitions; livelihoods provisioning and broader processes of economic development; employment trends; technological and product innovations in the forestry sector; changing markets for forest products/services.

Unit 3: Cultural services and human well-being; symbolic, cultural, spiritual and recreational values attached to forests and trees; forests and human health; education and knowledge systems; forests and forestry in shaping cultural landscapes.

Unit 4: Forest governance: multiple scales for multiple functions; public participation in forest decision-making; forest tenure and property rights; decentralisation/devolution and community forestry initiatives; governance in landscape restoration initiatives; certification and legality verification; payments for ecosystem services (PES) and reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

This is a distance learning module. The module materials include guided reading materials and comprehensive reading list, introductory recorded lectures for each unit, and interactive discussion forums.

Assessment Criteria


Grades C- to C+. Coursework (group blogs and individual essay) that demonstrates satisfactory knowledge and understanding of the chosen topics, but shows limited evidence of independent research and critical thinking.


Grades B- to B+. Coursework (group blogs and individual essay) that demonstrates good knowledge and understanding of the chosen topics, evidence of independent research and critical thinking.


Grades A- to A*. Coursework (group blogs and individual essay) that demonstrates excellent knowledge and understanding of the chosen topics, evidence of substantial independent research and a high-level of critical thinking.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate critical understanding of the changing paradigms and new challenges in forest management and how these relate to diverse – often competing and conflictual – social values attached to forests and trees.

  2. Critically evaluate the roles that forests and trees play in livelihoods and economic development in different places and for different people and anticipate future trends.

  3. Identify the multiple relationships between forests, human health and wellbeing and assess how and why these vary across time and space.

  4. Characterise trends in the decentralisation of forest governance and associated reforms of forest tenure, and assess the challenges and opportunities of participatory approaches to forest management.

  5. Demonstrate critical understanding of emergent forms of multi-actor and multi-level forest governance and assess future prospects.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Critical essay 60
Group blog 1 20
Group blog 2 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Online lectures / field videos


Online discussion forums


Group blogs

Private study 150

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Courses including this module