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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 tropical, boreal and temperate forest ecosystems and their interactions with society. It explores how forests respond to threats including climate change, resource exploitation and land use change and introduces contemporary forest management topics (e.g., silviculture, conservation, agroforestry, natural flood management, urban trees and woodlands). The policy context for sustainable forest management is also included as are sessions on various methodological techniques (remote sensing, mensuration) applicable to the study of forests.
Course description The course aims to give students an understanding of:

1. Different forest types around the world.
2. Forest ecology and processes from the leaf to global scales.
3. The interactions and feedbacks between forest ecosystems with disturbance, climate change and extreme events.
4. Interactions between humans and forests: past, present and future.
5. The range of ecosystem services trees and forests provide.
6. 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 Edward Mitchard, James Paterson and Kyle Dexter, assisted by 2nd year PhD student Jonathan Morley.

Two of these sessions will be field based, with the remaining based in JCMB 4325B. Every session takes place on a Monday from 2-5 pm.

An overview of each session can be found in the course outline on Learn.
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 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment is based entirely on three pieces of coursework during the semester.

1. Science Communication Task (30 %) due in week 4
2. Group Seminars (20%)
3. Forest Management Plan (50%) due in week 11
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of forest ecological processes from the leaf to global scale.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between forest ecosystems, climate change and extreme events.
  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. Use techniques related to forest mensuration and understand more complex techniques used in forest management.
  5. Communicate forest science and policy issues to non-scientific audiences, including project managers and the general public.
Reading List
Very useful and short introduction to forests:

Ghazoul, J. 2015. Forests: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Other pertinent references for the course:

Bhattacharjee K. & Behera B. 2018. Does forest cover help prevent flood damage? Empirical evidence from India. Global Environmental Change,.53, 78¿89.

Binner A., Smith G., Bateman I., Day B., Agarwala M., & Harwood A. 2017. Valuing the social and environmental contribution of woodlands and trees in England, Scotland and Wales. Forestry Commission Research Report. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission. pp1¿112.

Curtis P.G., Slay C.M., Harris N.L., Tyukavina A., & Hansen M.C. 2018. Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science. 361(6407): 1108¿1111.

Davies, H., Doick, K., Handley, P., O¿Brien, L., & Wilson, J. 2017. Delivery of ecosystem services by urban forests. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission. pp1-36.

Matthews, J.D. 1997. Silvicultural systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Milad, M., Schaich, H., Bürgi, M. & Konold, W. 2011. Climate change and nature conservation in Central European forests: A review of consequences, concepts and challenges. Forest Ecology and Management. 261(4): 829-43.

Miura S., Amacher M., Hofer T., San-Miguel-Ayanz J., Ernawati, & Thackway R. 2015. Protective functions and ecosystem services of global forests in the past quarter-century. Forest Ecology and Management. 352: 35¿46.

Mitchard, E.T.A. 2016. Review of EO Methods for Detecting and Measuring Forest Change in the Tropics

Newton, A. 2007. Forest Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford: Oxford University

Peh, K.S.H., Corlett, R. T., Bergeron, Y. 2015. Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology. Abingdon: Routledge

Sing, L., Metzger, M. J., Paterson, J. S., & Ray, D. 2017. A review of the effects of forest management intensity on ecosystem services for northern European temperate forests with a focus on the UK. Forestry. 91(2): 151¿164.

Stephens S.L., Agee J.K., Fule P.Z., North M.P., Romme W.H., Swetnam T.W., & Turner M.G. 2013. Managing forests and fire in changing climates. Science. 342(6154): 41¿42.

Thomas, P. 2000. Trees: their natural history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Trumbore, S., Brando, P., & Hartmann, H. 2015. Forest health and global change. Science. 349(6250): 814-818.

Watson J.E.M., et al. 2018. The exceptional value of intact forest ecosystems. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2(4): 599¿610.

WWF. 2012. WWF Living Forests Report, Chapter 4: Forests and Wood Products.
Additional Information
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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