Silviculture of Temperate Forests

Course content

  • Silviculture as a means of achieving management objectives and a basis for sustainable forest management. 
  • Overview of temperate forest ecosystems and tree species bio-geography, vegetation history, forest ecology, forest production, anthropogenic influences.
  • The characteristics of common tree species in temperate forest ecosystems.
  • Managing forest production and long-term productivity, including selection of tree species and modelling site-species interactions.
  • Regeneration and afforestation (natural regeneration, direct seeding, planting) involving site preparation, choice of species, managing game, rodents, competition, nutrition and other biotic and abiotic factors. 
  • Silvicultural practices including selection of initial spacing, thinning regime, pruning, and planning harvesting operations.  
  • Forest health and stability in relation to biotic and abiotic factors like wind, climate change, pests and diseases. 
  • Silvicultural systems; what characterizes them, as well as their applicability under different circumstances.
  • Conversion to near natural uneven-aged forest management, different methods and different situations.
  • Near-natural forest management, forest development types, effects of uneven-aged forest management.



MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of silvicultural principles and practices for the sustainable management of temperate forests. Throughout the course, emphasis is on demonstrating scientific knowledge, derived from long-term field experiments and other empirical investigations, as a solid foundation for silviculture. 

The student should 

  • be familiar with important methods, strategies and approaches of temperate forest silviculture. 
  • know the factors that influence tree growth, wood quality and forest dynamics, including plant-soil interactions. 
  • know how such factors can be investigated, quantified and modelled for the testing of specific hypotheses. 
  • understand important silvicultural systems and approaches and their application in practice. 

The student should be able to 

  • demonstratealternative silvicultural strategies and their application. 
  • practise different silvicultural principles to meet management objectives  in the context of sustainable forest management .
  • identify and communicate solutions to conflicts over the application of alternative silvicultural practices. 

The student should be able to

  • assess and analyze scientific and management issues of sustainable silviculture in relation to the broader perspective of a sustainable development in both a local and a global perspective 
  • discuss the relevance, reliability, validity and interpretation of empirical silvicultural observations, 
  • quantify and model the effects of silvicultural practices to understand their potentials and limitations.

Lectures: 5-6hours per week.
Classroom exercises: 3-4 hours per week.
Field trips mainly visiting forest districts as well as practical exercises in the forest: 3-4 hours per week.
The distribution between the various elements of the course may vary considerably during the course and should be viewed as rough estimates.

Please see Absalon.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

During the course 3-4 reports on different themes related to the course are prepared in student groups (2-3 persons). These reports will be presented and receive peerfeedback. Futher the individual student groups will recieve a written feedback on their work.

Oral feedback, collective and individual, is offered during the course as a natural form of teaching.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Type of assessment details
During the course 3-4 reports on different themes related to the course are prepared by each student group (2-3 persons). The oral examination (30 minutes) is based on one drawn question from the curriculum as well as one drawn report (from the reports prepared in the student group during the course). The student is granted 30 minutes of preparation immediately prior to the examination with all aids allowed. The exams are not weighted, and an overall assessment is given after the oral exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Identical to the ordinary examination. Resubmission of reports no later than 3 weeks before the oral reexamination.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please, consult the learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 44
  • Preparation
  • 114
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Excursions
  • 28
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
No limitation
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
  • Thomas Nord-Larsen   (3-77716f436c6a71316e7831676e)

Ditlev Otto Juul Reventlow
Jørgen Bo Larsen

Saved on the 20-06-2023

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