LNAA10093U  Tropical Forests, People and Policies

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
Erasmus Mundus MSc Programme in Forest and Livelihoods, "Erasmus Mundus Sustainable Tropical Forestry" (SUTROFOR)

The course takes a people oriented approach to issues that all natural resources managers in developing countries should be familiar with. Emphasis is on the relationships between people and forest use and conservation in developing countries. Central themes are: (i) Paradigms – what ideas and views guide tropical forestry development? (ii) Livelihoods – how do poor people depend on forests and trees? (iii) Valuation – how can we put a price on forest products and make visible their importance to local people? (iv) Forest cover – how much forest is there and how do we know? (v) Deforestation – why do forests disappear and what can be done? (vi) Policies – what characterises national policies? What global policies exist and why? Do policies work? and (vii) Sustainable management – can REDD, certification or other instruments save the tropical forests?
Learning Outcome
This course provides an introduction to essential contemporary issues in forestry in developing countries. The aim is to give students a thorough understanding of the current and potential role of forests and trees in improving rural livelihoods. It is stressed that forestry is an integral part of society and should not be considered in isolation.

After finishing the course the student is expected to be able to:


Understand key contemporary issues in tropical forestry, including forest-dependency, deforestation, national and global forest policy and processes, and the potential of using market based mechanisms to achieve sustainable forest management

Understand the potential of using forest and trees to prevent and reduce poverty

Understand basic forest valuation methods


Apply principles, theories and frameworks to case studies

Make judgment on the quality of scientific publications

Communicate clearly, concisely and confidently in written format


Argue cogently and think critically within the parameters of a particular academic discipline

Reflect on the nature of poverty and the role of forests in poverty alleviation

Demonstrate the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open mindedness, evidence-based thinking, and collegiality

Tackle problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively

Course material consists of selected scientific articles, book chapters, lecture notes, video clips and slide shows. These are included in the compendium or on the course homepage. The compendium is:

Smith-Hall, C., Nielsen, Ø.J., Pouliot, M., Jiao, X., and Charlery, L. 2013. Tropical forests, people and policies – selected papers. University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Copenhagen.
The course is provided through a web-based teaching and learning system. Course participants can therefore follow the course exclusively through the internet by completing online e-modules and participating in online discussions and group work. Modules focus on integrating literature studies and exercises, including online discussions mediated by faculty. Exercises focus on understanding theory and using theory on actual cases.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Students are assessed according to (i) their completion of exercises throughout the course, and (ii) through two teacher marked assignments (essays). The assignments are distributed electronically and answers must be submitted electronically. Completion of exercises and teacher marked assignments each count 50% towards the final mark.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
one internal censor
If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be an essay.
Criteria for exam assesment
To obtain the grade 12 the student must fullfil the Learning Outcomes
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 126
  • E-Learning
  • 80
  • Total
  • 206