NIFK14013U Tropical Forests, People and Policies

Volume 2017/2018

MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
MSc Programme in Forest and Livelihoods(SUTROFOR)
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management


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 accessible through the course homepage.

The course draws on basic elements of economic theory, political ecology and management of renewable natural resources all or part of which are introduced in a wide range of undergraduate programmes.
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.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • E-Learning
  • 80
  • Preparation
  • 126
  • Total
  • 206
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 count 40% and 60% respectively towards the final mark.

The final grade is calculated as a weighted average of the results from the part-examinations, and you can pass if the average grade is 02 or above.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal censor

Reexam: written assignment cutting across the materials covered in the course.

4 hours. No inviligation.

Criteria for exam assesment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must fullfil the Learning Outcomes