Module DXX-1003:
Forestry in the 21st Century

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Mike Hale

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to introduce students to a number of issues and concepts in forestry and equip them with an understanding of aspects which are unique to trees, rather than other plants. In the first semester it covers a variety of environmental issues which are not covered in detail elsewhere, teaches students to be able to identify trees and understand the cellular structure and behaviour of trees. In the second semester the cellular structure of wood is related to its utilisation properties and also introduces the interaction of decomposer organisms with wood. Timber processing is also introduced at a fundamental level.

Course content

The global environment: Forestry/ Global Forests; Climate change; global land-use systems; deforestation; history of the UK forests Tree Identification Silvicultural systems and characteristics Site classification Introduction to forest practice: establishment to harvesting, stand stability Field visit to Newborough forest Tree measurement Tree biology and growth; primary and secondary meristems; buds, bark and xylem, root structure Wood and wood-based forest products, non-timber forest products Wood and its cellular characteristics, an introduction, conifers and angiosperms Laboratory practicals on conifers and angiosperm wood anatomy How tall trees transport sap from root to leaf Forest biology; root and mycorrhizal interactions Simple mycology -the fungi An introduction to the types of pests and diseases in plantation forests The interactions of decomposer organisms with wood: the decay of wood in the forest and in service and the need for preservation Basic wood science: wood properties and the effect of water on its properties (strength characteristics and decay susceptibility, timber drying, wood preservation, stress grading, sawmilling)

Assessment Criteria


Shows a basic knowledge of without major omissions or misunderstanding and in sufficient depth to form a coherent answer, where gradings within the D category (40-49%) would be appropriate.


Shows an intermediate level of understanding, competence and skill with some evidence of additional reading, where gradings within the B and C categories (50-69%) would be appropriate.


Shows and advanced and in depth knowledge with extensive use of primary and current literature resources, where gradings within the A category (70+%) would be appropriate.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify a wide range of commercially important and common trees from a temperate environment

  2. Understand the role of trees and forests in the ecosystem and for societies worldwide

  3. Know how trees are measured

  4. Understand the main features of silvicultural systems

  5. Understand the cellular nature of xylem and how the cells are integrated together in conifers and angiosperms

  6. Understand tree growth, and their structure down to the tissue level

  7. To be able to recognise and evaluate understand the effect of different decomposer organisms of the properties of wood

  8. Understand fungal biology at a basic level: yeasts and fungi, pseudo-fungi and their roles in environmental processes in relation to forestry and forest products

  9. Demonstrate an understanding of wood structure, properties and processing to produce materials fit for purpose

  10. Understand aspects of the interactions of trees within the ecosystem and the impact of this on trees

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Wood anatomy labelled diagrams, softwood 5
Wood anatomy diagrams, hardwood 5
Tree ID test 10
Species Report 20
Species Poster 10
Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Private and guided self-study


27 x 1 hour lectures


12 hour and 33 hour field visits in semester 1 (weather dependent), 1*8 hour field visit in semester 2


4*2 hour laboratory practicals


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • 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.

Subject specific skills

  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.

Understand aspects relating to spatial scales at a microscopic scale


Resource implications for students

Walking boots and waterproof clothing needed for field visits. Waterproof notebooks an advantage. Lab practicals need lab coats but these are provided if students do not bring them.

Talis Reading list

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module