Forest Ecology and Resources
Forest ecology and resources 2023-24
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
The core component of the syllabus focuses on: forest ecology, forest biodiversity and its assessment (ranging from practical tree species identification to analysis and interpretation of inventory data); quantitative forest ecological survey and inventory (covering its purposes, sampling issues, and selection of field measures); forest regeneration and resilience; monitoring changes in forest structure and composition, prediction and modelling. Consideration is given to the identification of factors controlling forest condition and dynamics and the respective roles of structured comparisons and experiments.
To address this the module will cover general principles relevant across a wide range of biomes. For the first half of the syllabus and the three practicals run by JRH (forest ecology) the focus will be primarily on natural forests with high biodiversity, which are dominated by natural dynamic processes. It starts with 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. This is followed by an overview of Welsh woodlands and their ecology as the context for the setting of the field practicals. Then the 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 second half of 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. Synthesis of the different components of the module is provided by an assessment of the evidence needs to implement forest policy and for forest management and conservation and how it can be met through forest ecology assessment. Particular attention is paid to participatory approaches, payment for ecosystem services schemes, sustainable and adaptive forest management.
I. Key aspects of forest ecology for forest management and assessment
II. Welsh woodland conservation and habitat networks; methods in biodiversity assessment
III. Ecological survey and assessment of forests; monitoring; determining the factors controlling forest structure, productivity and composition; impact assessment
IV. World forest resources (definitions, classification); rates and distribution of deforestation
V. Deforestation and forest degradation: scale and causes; consequences for ecosystem services (1): global climate change
VI. Deforestation and forest degradation: consequences for ecosystem services (2): biodiversity, water, soils, ecological factors in resilience
VII. Policy issues, instruments and initiatives, including REDD+ and ‘Woodlands for Wales’; synthesis – evidence needs for forest policy, management and conservation
VIII. Non-timber forest product resource assessment
Threshold - (C)Aware of the key principles underlying the science. Pass level in scientific practical report with calculations, presentation, professional report and exam answers. Basic competence demonstrated in summarising, presenting and discussing the results. Able to work as a member of a team in carrying out simple assessment of plant biodiversity and forest ecology and carrying out simple numerical analysis of the results, research, preparation and presentation. Able to complete basic reports on these activities in the time allocated.
Good - (B)Better understanding of the principles. Reports and presentation show good structure, and summary, presentation and discussion of results. Good understanding demonstrated of issues surrounding sources of error, the implication of the work for the future design of biodiversity and ecological assessments, and possible implications of the results for the conservation management of the studied forest. Insight demonstrated into the key evidence requirements for successful implementation of forest policy, management or conservation. Play a major role in the group enabling it to complete a wide range of data analyses and interpretation and finish competent reports and presentation in the time allocated.
Excellent - (A) Very good understanding of the science. High level of competence demonstrated in devising and completing reports and presentation, showing a high degree of selectivity in which results are presented and the form of presentation, and in answering exam questions. Demonstration of excellent knowledge of sampling issues including the identification of key points for improved field-assessment design, application of appropriate statistical analyses, insightful conclusions about conservation management of the studied forest. Evidence provided of original thinking about the key challenges of identifying and meeting evidence needs for implementation of forest policy, management or conservation. Play a leading role in the group enabling it to complete a wide range of data analyses and interpretation and finish competent reports and presentation in the time allocated. Evidence of considerable effort and thought.
- 1. Demonstrate understanding of the ecological information needed to implement forest policy and for forest management and conservation
- 2. Analyse and interpret existing information
- 3. Plan and carry out plant biodiversity and ecological assessments
- 4. Analyse, present and interpret the results
- 5. Demonstrate understanding of the principles and use of modelling, monitoring and experimentation
- 6. Make recommendations about the application of results for future forest assessment and management
Presentation on Group Research
Scientific report on group practical work with calculations
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)