NIFK13008U Sustainable Forest and Nature Management

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (only for this programme)


The main aim of this field-trip based course is to visit and critically discuss issues on sustainable forest and nature management. The course is developed and implemented jointly gathering students and teaching staff from all of the SUFONAMA consortium universities (University of Copenhagen, Swedish Agricultural University, University of Padova, Georg-August University Göttingen, and Bangor University). Overall theme, responsible institution, and location will change between years (contact course responsible for information). The studies will cover the following aspects of the study region: geology, landscape and ecology, climate, pedology, vegetation types, biodiversity, demographics, socio-economics, tourism, policy, etc. Students will critically compare and contrast the approaches used by the organizations visited during the course. Similarly, the report should organize and critically discuss the academic topics covered during the field trip. Students should identify the main management objectives, constraints affecting the achievement of objectives, and critically evaluate the effectiveness of management/approaches used in achieving the objectives. Students will individually present their findings during the last days of the field trip (see description above). In addition they will attend a written exam.

The course deals mainly with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

SDG 12. Responsible consumption and production. Sustainable forest and nature management implies responsible consumption and production, promoting resource and energy efficiency, providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Sustainable forest management helps society to achieve overall development, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.


SDG13. Climate Action: Forests play a significant role in mitigating climate change. The course specifically focuses on how forests can be managed to mitigate rather than contribute to global climate change.


SDG15. Life on Land: In addition to carbon storage and C02 sequestration, forests, especially natural forests, are habitats for most of the Earth's terrestrial life forms. Further, the hydrological functions of forests contribute to life-supporting rivers and streams throughout the world.


Digitization is included in the course as part of: 1) data management, collection and handling of empirical data (quantitative and qualitative data), 2) technological understanding of the application of digital technologies within the sector, 3) digital information collection as part of literature search

Learning Outcome

The aim is to give the student an in-depth understanding of sustainable forest and nature management in a European context.


  • Describe the structure, development and variation of ecosystems as well as understand the causes and effects in a scientific perspective
  • Identify possibilities/​limitations and the ecological tolerance in relation to people’s utilisation of forests and nature
  • Understand interactions between physical and biological environments of forests and nature areas
  • Explain the principles of sustainable utilisation, protection and stewardship of forests and other semi-natural areas
  • Summarise economic and policy theory and demonstrate general knowledge of the planning tools utilised in the economic management of forests and nature


  • Develop, quantify and apply theoretical and practical models for the productive functions of forests and natural resources – material as well as immaterial
  • Apply economic theory and utilise planning tools to analyse and model the welfare and business economic value production of forests and natural resources
  • Assess the possibilities and limitations of theories and methodologies
  • Tackle problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively


  • Turn demands on our natural surroundings into concrete actions and projects based on a natural science foundation
  • Transfer theories and principles to new situations and assume independent and professional responsibility
  • Manage operations and development tasks in the framework set out by society (legislation, regulations, realities)
  • Display the competence, key skills ,behaviour and attitutes required in a professional working life
  • Transfer problem analysis, theories, impirical data collection and analysis into field based reports to meet the objectives of multitudinous stakeholders
  • Collaborate constructively with others in interdisciplinary and intercultural contexts
  • Independently evaluate and structure own learning processes and assume responsibility for own professional development with a view to life-long learning
It is mandatory to have passed the course: Location Specific Knowledge and Fieldwork in Temperate Forest and Nature Management Reports from this course will be presented and discussed during the summer course Sustainable Forest and Nature Management

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Students will apply concepts on sustainable forest and nature management. This will be acquired during theoretical lectures in Year 1 of the SUFONAMA EMMC as well as the compulsory course “Location Specific Knowledge and Fieldwork in Temperate Forest and Nature Management”. Field exercises will demonstrate the applicability of the central concepts. During the field trip students will collect data, and various approaches to address thematic problems in sustainable forest and nature management. The course includes excursions, lessons and interactive class room discussions, and theoretical and practical exercises during the field trip.
SUFONAMA students are prioritised. The course may take place outside Denmark. There is a participation fee of approximately EURO 700 for covering accommodation, food local transportation during the field trip. Non-SUFONAMA students must contact course responsible, Niels Strange before signing up for the course.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 10
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Excursions
  • 126
  • Project work
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 10
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 2,5 hours
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Type of assessment details
Exam consists of three parts: 1) an 2,5 hours written exam on the topics discussed during the field excursion, 2) a student presentation of their research synopsis developed in the course "Location specific knowledge and field work in temperate forest and nature management" (no time for preparation), 3) a quiz.

Weight: written exam 40%, student presentation 40%, quiz 20%
Exam registration requirements

Participation in the field excursion

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be oral, otherwise like the ordinary exam.

If the student has not participated in the field excursion, the student must hand in a written report as a substitute for field excursion. In this case, the student should contact the course coordinator when signing up for the reexam.

Criteria for exam assesment

see learning outcome for criterias. Fullfilment of these will give the grade 12