Tropical Forest Restoration

Course content

Biological aspects of tropical forest landscape restoration

Characterisation of tropical forest types and effects of climate change. Tropical forest dynamics, succession ecology and species interactions. Restoration methods for accelerating restoration of forests. Selection of species for tropical forest restoration based on species life history traits, ecosystem functions, conservation status, and contribution to local livelihoods. Scope and objectives of tropical forest landscape restoration in natural forest, agroforests and plantations.

Seed supply and genetic aspects

Types of breeding and pollination systems of tropical trees in intact vegetation and disturbed/degraded vegetation and their implications for restoration. The genetic background for the concepts of provenance, local adaptation and assisted migration in the context of climate change. Genetic considerations in restoration methods: How the central processes of drift, inbreeding, and fragmentation are utilised in practical implementation of restoration, including evaluation of seed source types. How domestication of trees for tropical forest and landscape restoration (natural forest, agroforestry, and plantations) have practical implications for the participation of people in rural landscapes.

Tree seed procurement and propagation

Biology of pollination and fertilization. Physiology and ecology of tree seed - categories and classification of seed, seed size in relation to regeneration strategies, desiccation tolerance and storability, dormancy and germination. Seed procurement - collection and processing of seed and fruits, methods to optimise physiological quality. Storage, viability and germination; Nursery techniques, options for direct sowing and use of wildlings.

Implementation, Monitoring and management of tropical forest landscape restoration

Global forest restoration initiatives, their timeframe, magnitude and locations in the world, including commitments from donors and participating countries. Carbon sequestration and biodiversity – environmental services - from restoration of natural forest, agroforestry, and plantations. Difference in approaches across the tropics explained though examples. Involvement of rural people and organisations. Preparation of forest restoration projects using Logical Framework Approach planning system, including use of indicators for monitoring of effects of forest restoration activities to assess fulfilment level of restoration objectives.

Case studies

Student presentation and discussions of selected tropical forest restoration projects


Each student will individually select a geographic area on which to develop a tropical forest restoration case. The chapters of the project correspond to the modules of the course. Tree species are the building blocks of restoration and students will select an assemblage of species - relevant to the selected geographic location - that will be an important tool for applying the knowledge in each module. Rural people and organisations are key for protecting and utilising seed sources, distribution networks for seedlings, sustainable utilisation and monitoring of restored areas. Students will elaborate on people's participation, based on relevant examples from their geographic area.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development


Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to provide the student with knowledge on how to design and implement tropical forest restoration programmes that are adapted to local biophysical and social situations. The course focuses on the initial restoration phase and shall provide the students with thorough knowledge on wise choice of methods, species and propagation techniques in relation to given restoration objectives and with participation of rural people in the implementation.

By the end of the course the students are expected to be able to:


- Describe the diversity of objectives for tropical forest restoration programs

- Explain the characteristics of tropical forest across the tropics

- Describe the principal scenarios for the combined impact of climate change and human influence on the distribution of vegetation types across the tropics

- Explain the potential and actual roles of rural people in implementation of restoration

- Explain the major ecological dynamics (fire, succession, gap-dynamics, seed dispersal and pollination) determining natural and managed forest development

- Explain the major tropical forest restoration methods

- Classify tree seed sources by genetic quality criteria 

- Classify tropical forest tree based on species’ regeneration strategies

- Classify tree seed based on physiological and morphological adaptations.

- Describe major international forest restoration initiatives and their funding mechanisms.

- Describe environmental services - carbon and biodiversity - from tropical forest restoration in the tropics, natural forest, agroforests, and plantations

- Explain indicators for monitoring of forest restoration activities



- Analyse recurrent stress factors like fire, grazing and extractivism that limits the recovery and development of forest vegetation

- Identify target species in restoration, given defined objectives, ecological, social, and economic and management conditions

- Use key characters for selecting target tree species for specific restoration methods

- Identify types of seed sources and their management by rural people in restoration programmes

- Select suitable seed sources to ensure genetic diversity of tree species in restored vegetation

- Assess seed maturation, storability and need for pre-treatments to overcome seed dormancy based on fruit and seed characteristics

- Select suitable parameters to be monitored in relation to meeting restoration objectives

- Explain advantages and limitations in use of nursery raised seedlings, cuttings, wildlings and direct seeding.

- Explain major elements and their linkages in the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) planning system described by a Logical Framework Matrix.



- Determine appropriate objectives and strategies for restoration of tropical forests and landscapes that balance both ecology and local livelihoods of people   

- Analyse the condition of a potential restoration area and propose ecological methods for restoration, and propose specific roles for local people in implementation of restoration

- Design suitable restoration models (methods) for tropical forest restoration based on the initial biophysical conditions of a restoration site and the objective of restoration, and using suitable indigenous or exotic species

- Design a genetic management plan including guidelines on selection of seed trees and seed sources and including prediction of pollination and seed dispersal in restored vegetation

- Recommend suitable use of regeneration/propagation methods depending on species-specific features and restoration objectives

- Recommend measures to cope with recurrent stress including invasive species

- Design a project for tropical forest restoration using Logical Framework Approach (LFA), including selection/definition of relevant indicators for success of project implementation


The course combines lectures, presentations and discussions of selected case studies, group exercises, and development of individual projects. Resource persons with expertise in specialized topics will give guest lectures.

Selected scientific papers, book chapters, and documented case studies will be read and discussed

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Formative assessments of written tests of key concepts
Feedback on development of individual written assignments
Peer feedback on presentations of elements of written assignments

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
Description of examination: Students will submit an individually written report on their project. The oral exam will be based on a random draw of a question from a pool of questions covering all learning objectives of the course. The final mark will be based on a total evaluation of the two exams (written:50% + oral:50%). The written report is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The exam is passed if the average grade given is passed.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Evaluation will be in relation to the expected learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Theory exercises
  • 42
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø   (4-72786a7448716f7636737d366c73)

Lars Holger Schmidt
Albin Lobo

Saved on the 28-02-2022

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