Climate Change and Land Use

Course content

Climate Change and Land Use is an interdisciplinary course offered by the University of Copenhagen. It is open for MSc students and continuing education students with a relevant BSc background in natural sciences, social sciences and economics.

The focus of the course is the effects of climate change on land use and the corresponding feedback effects of land use on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The course covers a range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on SDG2 (zero hunger), SGD7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action) and SDG15 (life on land).

It features a comprehensive analysis of climate change and land use in relation to food, fodder, timber and bioenergy production, an overview of the global N and C cycles, and a comparison of regional differences in land use and agricultural/silvicultural traditions in developed versus developing countries. Global demand for arable land, drivers of land use change and land use governance is discussed in relation to climate change, food security and environmental sustainability.

An analysis of how different land use systems can be managed to adapt to current and long-term climate change is performed together with an analysis of the potential for reducing GHG emissions in agriculture and forestry by carbon sequestration, fossil fuel substitution, circular production and food system transition.

Future perspectives for sustainable land use are analyzed with respect to sustainable intensification versus sustainable extensification, technological solutions for sustainable land use, and future land use scenarios for food, fodder, timber and bioenergy production and consumption.


MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Climate Change
MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Global Environment and Development

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to give a solid understanding of climate change and land use in relation to food, fodder, timber and bioenergy production. After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Describe global, regional and local impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry
- Summarize how land use and land use change is affecting climate change
- Identify global demand for arable land and drivers of land use change
- Outline major regional differences in land use, agricultural/silvicultural traditions and ecological footprint

- Select and apply relevant scientific tools to analyze options for climate change adaptation in agriculture and forestry
- Assess different strategies for reducing GHG emission by carbon sequestration, fossil fuel substitution and resource use optimization in the land use sector
- Compare global, regional and local land use governance policies

- Discuss and debate scientific papers on climate change and land use
- Cooperate and work independently to complete a conference poster or scientific manuscript investigating a case specific research questions on climate change and land use
- Reflect on the future perspectives for sustainable land use

The teaching and learning methods consist of lectures, theoretical exercises, critical discussion of scientific papers, debates, role-playing, reflections on learning outcome, and problem oriented group work on a conference poster or a scientific manuscript dealing with a case specific research question within the studied subjects of the course.

The learning resources consist of selected scientific articles, reports and book chapters which will be made available online.

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)

Continuous collective feedback to the student's work on the conference poster/scientific manuscript project and multimedia project is given at regular project work and supervision sessions.

At the final exam collective feedback is given to each group after all students within the group have been examined individually. 

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 15 minuttes
Type of assessment details
No preparation time before the oral exam.
Students will be assessed on the basis of their individual performance in an oral exam covering the conference poster/scientific manuscript and the general curriculum
Exam registration requirements

Contribution to conference poster/scientific manuscript

Written aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

Re-exam: Oral examination, 15 minutes. As the ordinary exam.

If the student has not contributed to the submitted group poster/manuscript an individual poster/manuscript on a selected research question within the studied subjects of the course must be submitted two weeks before the re-exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the description of learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 18
  • Preparation
  • 64
  • Exercises
  • 24
  • Project work
  • 100
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
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 Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
  • Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Christian Bugge Henriksen   (3-73727850807c757e3e7b853e747b)

Bhim Bahadur Ghaley (co-responsible)

Saved on the 19-02-2024

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