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Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Sustainable Forest Management

Course Code:
P585
Unit value:

Forests are important sources of products and environmental services, and yet are disappearing or threatened in most tropical and many temperate regions. Well managed forests with appropriate conservation measures can deliver society’s needs in a sustainable way. Understanding how and why is central to this module. Beginning with an introduction to key concepts, issues and protocols and an overview of the global forest estate, the module builds an understanding of sustainable forest management from its foundation in ecological principles, markets for forest products and environmental services and local to global forest and environmental policies. A solid knowledge of the principles and practice of forest management planning, implementation and monitoring is developed and related to the requirements of sustainable forest management certification.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  1. Provide a broad appreciation of the extent and character of the global forest estate, as well as drivers of, and responses to, changes in forest cover.
  2. Explain how forests function and interact with wider ecosystem processes to provide environmental services.
  3. Illuminate the different ways in which people and societies relate to and utilise forest resources: livelihoods, lifestyles, and legal and policy frameworks.
  4. Explain the concept of ‘silvicultural system’ and provide examples of their practical application in semi-natural and plantation forests.
  5. Examine the process of forest management planning, implementation and monitoring.
  6. Provide an introduction to sustainable forest management certification protocols and examine the principles and criteria of Forest Stewardship Council certification and the certification process.
  7. Consider carbon offsetting and ‘payment for ecosystem services’ models as mechanisms for funding biodiversity conservation and alleviating poverty in forest-dependent communities.
  8. Discuss and analyse the history of international forest policy and consider future development trajectories.

Scope and syllabus

PART I: Introduction to Sustainable Forest Management

Unit 1: Introduction to Sustainable Forest Management: Concepts, Issues and Protocols
Unit 2: The Global Forest Estate and International Trade in Forest Products and Services
Unit 3: Forest Ecology and the Biosphere
Unit 4: Forests and Society

PART II: Learning to Manage Forest Sustainably

Unit 5: Silvicultural Systems and the Management of Semi-natural Forests and Plantations
Unit 6: Elements of Silvicultural Systems: Forestry Operations and Technology
Unit 7: Management Planning, Implementation and Monitoring

PART III: Forest Certification and Carbon Credits

Unit 8: Forest Certification
Unit 9: Carbon Offsetting: Funding afforestation, conserving biodiversity and alleviating poverty
Unit 10: SFM: Progress towards a more sustainable future?

Module sample

P585 module uses a core text which is specially written and will take you through your self-directed study. Exercises, assignments and other activities, such as self-assessment questions, film clips and animations are included to help you with learning. Most module study guides are now provided in electronic format on a USB flash memory stick, but can also be downloaded from the online learning environment. Click the linked image below to view a sample of our e-study guide: