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

Course content

Through lectures, case studies and excursions of selected ecosystems (e.g. forests, heathlands, and mires) system and restoration ecological aspects will be thoroughly studied. Based on the knowledge on ecosystems, management will be taught and trained to reach desired goals.

Systems ecology: The ecosystem concept; succession and disturbances; biogeochemical cycling of nutrients; the hydrological cycle; soils; carbon stocks and sequestration; turn-over of organic matter; habitats and biodiversity; wild life ecology.

Restoration ecology: basic concepts, forms of degradation, references and restoration goals, the trajectory concept, interventions e.g. reintroduction, monitoring and evaluation, and restoration policy. Focus on selected biomes, e.g. heathlands, mires and fresh water systems.

Management: basic knowledge on forest properties and resources, basic overview of forest policy concepts and terms of silviculture, references of natural and managed forests, the concepts of forest succession, disturbances, stability, recovery and climate change adaptation, forest conversion into near nature forest management approaches.


MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA)

Learning outcome

1) Knowledge:

Demonstrate understanding of concepts and terminology, and fundamental knowledge in systems ecology of selected systems, e.g. forests and natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Focus will be on properties, functionalities, structures, processes, including biogeochemistry, biodiversity and hydrology. Focus will also be on ecosystems stability (resistance and resilience), dynamics, succession, disturbances and interactions within and between ecosystems.

Understand ecosystem processes and how they are influenced by unintended anthropogenic factors and how they can be influenced by management.

Have knowledge on the concept of ecosystem services.
Understand principles for ecosystem restoration.
Explain key theories and methodologies for management of forests and other semi-natural ecosystems.
Explain the principles of sustainable use, protection and stewardship of forests and other semi-natural ecosystems.

2) Skills:

Analyse specific ecosystems – structures and processes – and recognising their status (e.g. health and degradation) and potential capacity (ecosystem services).
Apply methods for ecosystem management.
Develop long-term strategies, operational targets and specific plans for management, sustainable use and protection of forests and other semi-natural ecosystems.

Identify possibilities and ​limitations in relation to human intervention and climate change.
Assess implications of human interventions and climate change on ecosystem functioning.
Analyse problems and communicate solutions in academic report writing.

3) Competences:

Define potentials for development of forests and other semi-natural ecosystems according to different management goals.
Develop and evaluate methods and plans for management.
Adapt principles and select tools to implement such plans.
Cooperate effectively in multidisciplinary and multicultural groups within group projects.
Transfer knowledge into operational plans.

The thematic course includes lectures and interactive classroom discussions, theoretical and practical exercises, and excursions. Based on the exercises and excursions mandatory reports are written. A one week-long excursion goes abroad.

Relevant textbooks and selected scientific papers

Basic understanding of chemistry, soil science, statistics, botany, ecology, and societal processes from a relevant bachelor, e.g. in Natural resources, Forest and Landscape Engineer, Biology or Geography.
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

The course is identical to the discontinued course LNAK10064U Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Ecosystems. Therefore you cannot register for NIGK21036U - Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Ecosystems, if you have already passed LNAK10064U Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Ecosystems.
If you are registered with examination attempts in LNAK10064U Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Ecosystems without having passed the course, you have to use your last examination attempts to pass the exam in NIGK21036U - Thematic Course: Ecology and Management of Forests and other Semi-natural Ecosystems. You have a total of three examination attempts.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Written assignment, hand in of 3 reports
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Type of assessment details
The oral examination consists of examination in a drawn question, starting with a student presentation, and then examination in the report.

The written assignment and the oral examination are not weighted, and an overall assessment is given.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Resubmission of 3 reports, no later than two weeks before the examination.

Re-examination identical to ordinary examination.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 100
  • Preparation
  • 212
  • Excursions
  • 100
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
A And B
The number of places might be reduced if 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 Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Karsten Raulund-Rasmussen   (3-6e7575436c6a71316e7831676e)
  • Johannes H.C. de Koning   (3-6d6b66436c6a71316e7831676e)
Saved on the 14-02-2024

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