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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Forests and Environment (PGGE11025)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the nature of forest ecosystems and their interactions with the changing climate system, society, nutrient cycling, and disturbance (drought, fire, pests). Forest management topics (forestry, biofuels, urban trees and woodlands, sustainable forest policy) are also explored alongside various methodological techniques (remote sensing, gas exchange, modelling, field measurement/mensuration) applicable to the study of forests, the environment and their interactions.
Course description The course aims to give students:
1. An understanding of:
a. forest ecology and processes from the leaf to global scales
b. the interactions and feedbacks between forest ecosystems with disturbance, climate change and extreme events
c. interactions between humans and forests: past, present and future.
2. Familiarity with techniques and approaches used in forest research, management and policy.
We will teach these through a set of eleven 3 hour sessions led by four people: Dr Edward Mitchard (4 sessions), Dr Kyle Dexter (3 sessions), Dr James Paterson (2 sessions) and Dr Jeff Exbrayat (1 session). Two of these sessions will be field based, and one computer lab based, with the remaining based in the Crew Building Annex (room 5). Every session takes place on a Monday from 2-5 pm.
A breakdown by session is given below:
Week 1: Introduction to the course; why are forests important?; defining forests; forest types (Ed Mitchard)
Week 2: Managed forests; silviculture; plantation forestry (James Paterson)
Week 3: Forest valuation & conservation; REDD+; introduction to REDD+ Project Management Plans (Ed Mitchard)
Week 4: Forest species diversity; speciation of trees; genetics (Kyle Dexter)
8th February: Forest Science Communication task due (30 % mark)
Week 5: Forests through time; biogeography; disturbance (Kyle Dexter)
Week 6: no session ¿ innovative learning week
Week 7: Role of forests in global cycles; climate change (Kyle Dexter)
Week 8: Forest carbon & fire modelling ¿ Excel practical (Jeff Exbrayat)
7th March: Feedforward deadline for Forest Carbon Project Management Plan
Week 9: Forest mensuration practical, Pressenem woods (James Paterson & Ed Mitchard)
Week 10: Feed-forward session on REDD+ Project Management Plans ¿ opportunity for feedback
Week 11: Remove Sensing of Forests (Ed Mitchard)
28th March: Deadline, Forest Carbon Project Management Plan
Week 12: Tree identification & form-function practical, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens (Ed Mitchard)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Fieldwork Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Instantaneous and written feedback is provided on the Group Seminar, which is marked by two members of staff and also there is an opportunity for peer feedback from the rest of the group. The Science Communication Piece is marked by the Course Organiser and moderated by another member of staff, and returned to the students promptly with detailed feedback provided through comments annotated electronically to the submission in Learn. The Forest Management Plan features a feedforward deadline: students can submit a plan or draft of this piece early and receive feedback within a week, assisting them in producing the best possible submission of this final project. The Forest Management Plans are marked by two members of staff and detailed feedback provided electronically through Learn.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1) Demonstrate a deep understanding of forest ecological processes from the leaf to global scale
  2. 2) Demonstrate understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between forest ecosystems, climate change and extreme events
  3. 3) Communicate on the current state of knowledge and uncertainties in interactions between humans and forests, and understand the policy challenges and potential solutions in this area
  4. 4) Use techniques related to forest mensuration, and understand how more complex techniques used in forest management can be implemented
  5. 5) Communicate forest science and policy issues to non-scientific audiences, including project managers and the general public
Reading List
Core Reading
The basic course content is contained in this text:
Perry, D. A., R. Oren, et al. (2008). Forest Ecosystems, The John Hopkins University Press, 2nd edition
Additional reading related to specific lectures:
Mensuration: Newton, A. 2007. Forest Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Silviculture: Matthews, J.D. 1997. Silvicultural systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Conservation management: Lindenmayer, D.B. 2009. Forest wildlife management and conservation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1162: 284-310.
Tree genomics: Neale, D.B. & Kremer, A. 2011. Forest tree genomics: Growing resources and applications. Nature Reviews Genetics. 12(2): 111-22.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Morris, R.J. 2010. Anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity: A network structure and ecosystem functioning perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 365: 3709¿3718.
Climate Change (Europe¿s forests): Lindner, M., Maroschek, M., Netherer, S., Kremer, A., Barbati, A., Garcia-Gonzalo, J., Seidl, R., Delzon, S., Corona, P., Kolström, M., Lexer, M. & Marchetti, M. 2010. Climate change impacts, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability of European forest ecosystems. Forest Ecology and Management. 259(4): 698-709.
Climate Change (Managed forests): Kirilenko, A.P & Sedjo, R.A. 2007. Climate change impacts on forests. PNAS, 104, 19697-19702
Climate Change (global forests): Bonan, G.B. 2008. Forests and Climate Change: Forcings, Feedbacks, and the Climate Benefits of Forests. Science 320, 1444-1449.
Remote sensing of forests: Wulder, M & Franklins, S.E. 2003 Remote sensing of forest environments: Concepts and Case Studies. Springer.
REDD+: Pistorius, T. 2012. From RED to REDD+: The evolution of a forest-based mitigation approach for developing countries. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 4: 638¿645.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsForests and Environment - environmental change,greenhouse effect,cabon cycle
Course organiserDr Edward Mitchard
Tel: (0131 6)50 7211
Course secretaryMrs Paula Escobar
Tel: (0131 6)50 2543
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