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Module DDL-4205:
Inv., Assessment & Monitoring

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Organiser: Dr Ruben Valbuena

Overall aims and purpose

  1. The purpose of the module is to consider ways in which forest resources can be assessed and recorded, enabling growth and development to be scientifically monitored. The module will provide students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of the specialist areas of mensuration, forest inventory and forest resource assessment and monitoring, the latter to include an introduction to the use of remote technologies.

  2. The module will provide students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of specialist areas of forestry, and to develop their independent learning and written communication skills. The evaluation of the module will include a report developed under professional standards, with the intention to train the students to communicate key concepts in forest inventories in professional environments.

  3. The module will be fundamentally practical, with summative assessments developed as the results of hands-on demonstrations. The intention is to train the students with the skills necessary to find the information that is relevant to each case, as opposed to memorising specific formulae diverse forest inventory designs.

Course content

Forest mensuration: terminology and units; measurement of single trees, forest stands and forest products; assessment of current/potential yield. Forest inventory planning. Sampling techniques: types and application with respect to forest trees, forest-dwelling organisms and forest products; the effects of variation on sampling systems. Forest inventory and statistics, forest resource monitoring, recurrent forest inventory and their roles in forest and forest products certification.

The use of remote sensing (Earth observation) technologies will have a predominant role across all the other subtopics, as it has implications in the design and statistics of modern forest inventories.

Course material will be supplied as a series of course booklets, plus text book(s). In addition to the course material, there will be a guided reading handbook which contains supplementary course material, self-assessment, a timetable for carrying out the work and details of assessments. The student's work will be evaluated with summative assessments gradually submitted during the three months over which the module runs, which will be marked and commented for the students to keep improving as the module progresses. All these will be used to monitor student progress and provide feedback, toward a final summative assessment submitted at the end of the module and marked. Students will be able to contact the module organiser to seek guidance. There will also be a web-based information resource that students can use to find information or request information, and which will include a student mutual help facility.

Assessment Criteria


Grades C- to C+: Limited understanding of forest measurement, inventory and monitoring techniques. Limited ability to use techniques for calculating / estimating forest parameters e.g. height, basal area, stocking density, level of error in sampling. Limited evidence of wider reading.


Grades B- to B+: Good understanding of forest measurement, inventory and monitoring techniques. Clear ability to use techniques for calculating / estimating forest parameters e.g. height, basal area, stocking density, level of error in sampling. Clear evidence of wider reading.


Grades A- to A**: Excellent understanding of forest measurement, inventory and monitoring techniques. Advanced ability to use techniques for calculating / estimating forest parameters e.g. height, basal area, stocking density, level of error in sampling. Extensive evidence of wider reading and understanding.

Learning outcomes

  1. Appreciate the fundamental importance of assessment, inventory and monitoring with respect to forest resource management.

  2. Understand techniques, terminology and conventions used in forest mensuration and how these are applied in modern forest management.

  3. Be able to use these techniques to perform a range of calculations relating to forest resources.

  4. Understand how to plan a forest inventory.

  5. Understand and be able to apply the sampling systems commonly used in forest inventory.

  6. Appreciate how variation in the forest resource impacts on the process of forest inventory.

  7. Learn how communicate topics related to forest inventory and provide the results of an inventory work following professional standards.

  8. Appreciate the importance of monitoring forest resources.

  9. Understand how the state of a forest resource may be reliably monitored over time to meet a range of objectives.

  10. Appreciate the implications of using modern remote sensing technologies in forest inventories, and develop the skills necessary to implement them in practice.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Traditional Inventory based on field plot sampling 20
Forest classification using aerial photography 20
Estimation of forest variables using airborne laser scanners 20
The value of forest information 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Online lectures / field videos


Online discussion forums

Practical classes and workshops

Computer practicals

Private study

Use of teaching materials


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • 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
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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

  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation
  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Prepare effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
  • Demonstrate the independence and skills required for continuing professional development


Courses including this module