Forest and Nature Management Planning

Course content

Students of forest and nature management planning need to understand the complexity of planning and the challenges of managing forest and nature areas in a sustainable way. For forest and nature managers, sustainability managing a particular forest or nature area means determining, in a tangible way, how to use it today to ensure similar benefits, health and productivity in the future. Forest and nature managers must assess and integrate a wide array of sometimes conflicting factors - commercial and non-commercial values, environmental issues and community needs to produce sound and useful forest and nature plans. Additionally, plans must be feasible and economically viable.

Another important part of this course introduces students to Structured Decision Making which is an organized approach to developing and evaluating creative alternatives and making defensible choices. It has been particularly useful for helping groups work productively together on decisions marked by technical uncertainty and controversial trade-offs. It combines analytical methods from decision analysis with insights into human judgments and behavior.

The course works its way through what we know about the prerequisites of informed decision-making, following the logical steps in identifying aims and objectives, investigating the state of forest / nature goods and services, and transforming objectives into management actions with due consideration of for who, when and how to implement management actions. Students will also acquire knowledge about reality planning and the relation between means (e.g. budgets) and ends (objectives). The students will learn to quantify and model ecosystem services and include them in the forest and nature management plan


The course is mainly related to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

SDG 7: Clean and affordable energy:  Forests contribute to SDG 7 through four pathways: sustainable use of traditional wood fuels, processed wood fuels, liquid biofuels and biopower. In this course we focus on the role of forests as a clean and affordable energy in the green transition. Students learn to estimate the energy and value from forests.

SDG 12. Responsible consumption and production. This course focus on how sustainable forest and nature management contributes to responsible consumption and production, promoting resource and energy efficiency, providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Sustainable forest management helps society to achieve overall development, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.

SDG13. Climate Action: Forests play a significant role in mitigating climate change. The course specifically focuses on how forests can be managed to mitigate rather than contribute to global climate change. Carbon storage, sequestration and savings are quantified.

SDG15. Life on Land: In addition to carbon storage and C02 sequestration, forests, especially natural forests, are habitats for most of the Earth's terrestrial life forms. Further, the hydrological functions of forests contribute to life-supporting rivers and streams throughout the world. Forest and nature management effects on biodiversity are qualified.

Trade-offs between SDGS are quantified and discussed.

Digitization is included in the course as part of: 1) data management, collection and handling of empirical data (mainly quantitative data), 2) technological understanding of the application of digital technologies within the sector, 3) digital information collection as part of literature search



MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management

Learning outcome


  • Understand a natural science management planning approach emphasizing the study objects: forests and natural resources.
  • Explain the principles of sustainable utilization, protection and stewardship of forests and other semi-natural areas
  • Explain key theories and methodologies for management planning and making structured environmental decisions
  • Summarize potentials/restrictions and sustainability of utilization of biological systems.
  • Summarize economic theory and demonstrate general knowledge of the planning and structured decision making tools utilized in the management of forests and nature
  • Describe and classify a range of decision-support tools



  • Apply a social science management planning approach to forests and natural resources from the point of view of an enterprise, organization, and/or society.
  • Apply structured environmental decision making approaches on forest and natural resource problems
  • Apply economic theory and utilize economic planning tools for analyzing and modelling the welfare and business economic production from forests and natural resources, and realizing management and development tasks within the frames given by society (legislation, regulations, facts).
  • Develop long-term strategies, operational objectives and specific plans for sustainable utilization and protection of forests and other green resources, considering the social, ecological and economic objectives and limitations.
  • Describe modelling, regulation and management of green resources; develop, quantify and use theoretical and applied models of the productive and protective functions of forests and natural resources – material as well as immaterial.
  • Practice economic, dynamic and holistic management planning
  • Formulate, plan and implement a project/plan
  • Develop planning models, formulate and apply basic models based on economic theory and methods.
  • Analyze the planning process and structure; and communicate planning implementation and results.
  • Communicate professional problems and solutions – both orally and in writing



  • Transfer the use of structured decision making, economic theory and methods in management planning for forests and natural resources to other planning problems and situations involving people, social systems, and allocation of scarce production resources.
  • Transfer a planning structure and decision framework based on structured decision making to other work situations.
  • Design decision-making with the entry point of rational economic planning theory
  • Understand and apply general criteria applicable for economic evaluation of planning results.
  • Cooperate and work effectively in a group with a common economic planning project developing interpersonal and intercultural competences
  • Turn demands on our natural surroundings into concrete actions and projects based on a scientific foundation
  • Manage operations and development tasks in the framework set out by society

Plenary lectures on topics will be given. Field trips are organised to visit a forest and nature case area to actively link theory with practice. This will facilitate understanding theory in the context of real world planning. Theoretical exercises will support the lectures. Students will present results and round-up discussions will summarise. Groups of approximately 4 students will prepare a forest and nature management project for a real world case. Groups will formulate and present milestones of their project during the course. Teaching is concentrated on 3-4 days per week in the first 5-6 weeks of the course. In the last weeks of the course most of the time is used on group work, supported by consultations with teachers. Exact dates and times will be available at the beginning of the course. The overall requirements of the course correspond to full time studies. Therefore, it is recommended to use the full block for studies in this course without parallel study activities.

Teaching material will be announced at Absalon. Mostly journal papers which are accessible through university library facilities.

LNAK10064U Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Terrestrial Ecosystems

LOJK10282U Applied Economics of Forest and Nature or similar economic competences

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

The student groups will recieve written feed-back on one or two chapters in the project report

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 35 - 40 minutes in total
Type of assessment details
The individual oral exam is based both on the forest and nature management project report and on compulsory material. No time for preparation.
Exam registration requirements

Delivery and approval of forest and nature management project report

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Like the ordinary exam.

If the student has not handed in the project report, then it must be handed in three weeks prior to the re-exam. It must be approved before the exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 80
  • Preparation
  • 73
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Excursions
  • 55
  • Project work
  • 140
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 30
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
Teaching activities take place out of course structure. The course plan will be available at least two weeks prior to Blok 4.
No limitation – unless you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Henrik Meilby   (4-6f6c746c47706d797635727c356b72)
  • Niels Strange   (3-74797a466f6c787534717b346a71)
Niels Strange (Phone: (+45) 35 33 17 53, Email:
Saved on the 21-02-2024

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