Forest Ecology 2023-24
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
Lectures and learning seminars: Pattern and process in forests; the ecology of natural and human disturbance. Vegetation succession (mechanisms, models, impact on forest structure and composition, applications). The forest regeneration cycle (especially seed production and dispersal, gap phase, thinning, the regeneration niche). Ecological variation amongst plant species, including: its architectural and ecophysiological basis; response to global and local environmental change; applications to forest management. Forest mammals: geographical and habitat distribution; role in food webs. The global issue of invasive species, focussing on impacts in forest habitats. Disturbance effects on forest mammals; ecologically-based approaches to the management of invasive species. Forests and trees as habitat, their landscape ecology, habitat and species conservation and restoration.
Practicals: Pattern and process in forests, vegetation succession, tree populations and regeneration, application to forest restoration and management; primary succession and its application to the ecological restoration of derelict industrial sites, environmental factors limiting the establishment of vegetation, comparative ecology of tree species and the impact of disturbance.
Assessed seminars: A series of ca. 20 key current questions in forest wildlife conservation/management will be introduced. Each pair of students will pick one question and research, present and discuss their answer in the subsequent assessed seminar.
- Ability to present visually, verbally and in document form the findings from literature-based research into a forest wildlife conservation/management topic in a form professionally appropriate to a defined stakeholder institution, group or individual.
- Be able to evaluate the main processes and mechanisms determining the structure and dynamics of forests, assess critically the scientific methods used to research this, and propose methods that would be suitable in different circumstances
- Capacity to make recommendations on the application of advanced forest ecological knowledge to forest and environmental assessment, management, conservation and restoration
- Demonstrate advanced skills in the analysis of the effect of woodland/forest management practices on habitats, plant and animal populations, and (conversely) the impact of mammals and invasive species on woodlands/forests