Tropical Forest Restoration

Course content

Biological aspects of tropical forest landscape restoration - Tropical forest types and climate. Tropical forest dynamics and restoration methods for accelerated restoration of forests. Selection of tree species based on ecological and local livelihoods criteria. Seed supply, genetic aspects and climate change - Breeding and pollination systems of tropical trees. Genetic background for the concepts of provenance, local adaptation and assisted migration in the context of climate change. Domestication of trees and the participation of people in rural landscapes. Tree seed procurement and propagation - Biology of pollination and fertilization. Physiology and ecology of tree seed. Collection and processing of seed and fruits. Seed storage, viability and germination. Implementation, Monitoring and management of tropical forest landscape restoration - Global forest restoration initiatives and difference in approaches across the tropics. Involvement of rural people and organisations. Preparation of forest restoration projects, including use of indicators for monitoring of effects of forest restoration activities.


MSc Programme in Environment and Development

MSc Programme in Global 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 for assisted migration under climate change, 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 group projects, where groups of approximately 4 students will prepare a written restoration plan. The plan will be based on a geographic area for which they describe a number of realistic restoration actions by applying knowledge from each module of the course. Peer feedback will be used as a tool where each student group will read the project reports of another group during the preparation process and give constructive feedback. 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 of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

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

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Type of assessment details
Submission of written group restoration project report, followed by 30 minutes individual oral examination without preparation. The oral exam includes two parts. In the first part, each student is examined in their restoration report/plan. The second part is an oral examination based on a random draw of a question from a pool of questions covering all learning objectives of the course.

Weight: Written group restoration project 25%, oral examination of restoration project 25%, oral examination based on random draw of a question 50%. All three exams have to be passed to pass the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Identical to the ordinary exam. 

The student may resubmit the project report from the ordinary exam. If the student did not hand in a project report for the ordinary exam, an individual project report has to be submitted.  The project report must be handed in one week prior to the re-exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcome

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 1
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   (4-7a80727c5079777e3e7b853e747b)

Lars Holger Schmidt
Albin Lobo

Saved on the 11-03-2024

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