NIGK13003U Tropical Forest Restoration

Volume 2020/2021

MSc Programme in Environment and Development



Tropical forest restoration
Characterisation of tropical forests. Scope and objectives of tropical forest restoration and habitat rehabilitation; Tropical forest dynamics and succession ecology. Restoration approaches of degraded forest grasslands, shrubs and other degraded landscapes. Selection of species for tropical forest restoration based on species auto-ecology, life history traits, ecosystem functions, conservation status, and contribution to local livelihoods. Correlation between distribution of vegetation types and climate (in particular temperature and precipitation) as well as edaphic factors. Increasing importance of climate change for forest restoration – trees are long-lived and may experience climate change during their lifespans. Seed sourcing for future climates.

Seed supply and genetic aspects of forest restoration
The process of genetic erosion during forest degradation. Implication of seed source and seed trees for genetic quality. Patchiness of species distribution and its implication for seed collection. Local adaptation – presence of ecotypes - use of local versus non-local seed sources. Estimation of effective population numbers and levels of genetic diversity. Establishment and management of seed source as integrated parts of restoration. Use of vegetative propagation. Strategies for sampling of rare and endangered species as integrated part of a restoration programme

Tree seed procurement and propagation
Physiology and ecology of tree seed (categories and classification of seed, seed size in relation to regeneration strategies, desiccation tolerance and storability, dormancy and germination); Pollination and fertilization: biology and plant-pollinator relations; Seed procurement (collection and processing of seed and fruits, methods to optimize physiological quality); Storage, viability and germination; Nursery techniques, options for direct seeding and use of wildlings. Direct sowing.

Monitoring and management
Global forest restoration initiatives, their timeframe, magnitude and locations in the world, including commitments from donors and participating countries. Indicators of ecological succession used for monitoring of effects of forest restoration activities to assess fulfilment level of restoration objectives. Preparation of forest restoration projects using Logical Framework Approach planning system.

Case studies
Student presentation and discussions of selected tropical forest restoration projects

Each student will individually select a geographic area on which to develop tropical forest restoration cases.

Learning Outcome

The objective of the course is to provide the student with knowledge on how to design and implement tropical forest restoration programmes that are adapted to local biophysical and social situations. The course focuses on the initial restoration phase and shall provide the students with thorough knowledge on wise choice of methods, species and propagation techniques in relation to given restoration objectives.

By the end of the course the students are expected to be able to:
- Describe the diversity of objectives for tropical forest restoration programs
- Explain the major characteristics of tropical forest across the tropics
- Explain the major ecological dynamics (succession, seed dispersal and pollen dispersal) that are utilised in tropical forest restoration
- Explain the ecological principles behind specific restoration approaches
- Identify important factors to consider when selecting target tree species for specific restoration methods
- Identify important factors to consider when selecting seed sources and individual trees for restoration 
- Classify forest seed into major groups based on taxonomic relation and regenerational strategies
- Classify forest seed based on physiological and morphological adaptations.
- Estimate effective population numbers for given seed collection regimes.
- Classify and characterise major restoration approaches
- Explain advantages and limitations in use of nursery raised seedlings, cuttings, wildlings and direct seeding.
- Explain the major elements and their linkage in the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) planning system and how to make a project description using LFA, - including a Logical Framework Matrix.
- Explain the major international forest restoration initiatives.
- Explain applicable indicators for monitoring of forest restoration activities and fulfilment of restoration objectives.

- Define and apply operational objectives of tropical forest restoration programs
- Identify and apply relevant restoration strategies and methods for different degradation situations (biophysical and social)
- Select target species given defined objectives, ecological, social, economic and management conditions
- Identify morphological and anatomical structures of tree seeds, and assess seed maturation and storability
- Apply methods of pre-treatments to overcome different types of dormancy and accelerate germination
- Identity critical stages in forest restoration programs in relation to negative impact on genetic diversity.
- Select suitable parameters to be monitored in relation of meeting restoration objectives

- Design suitable models for tropical forest restoration based on the initial biophysical conditions of a restoration site and using suitable species.
- Recommend use of regeneration/propagation methods depending on species specific features.
- Design a genetic management plan including guidelines on selection of seed trees and seed sources.
- Prepare project on tropical forest restoration using LFA (objectives, outputs, activities, inputs, etc.)
- Make a monitoring program for tropical forest restoration, including selection/definition of relevant indicators.

Selected scientific papers, book chapters, and documented case studies will be read and discussed

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The course combines lectures, presentations and discussions of selected case studies, group exercises, and development of individual projects. Resource persons with expertise in specialized topics will give guest lectures.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Theory exercises
  • 42
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Formative assessments of written tests of key concepts
Feedback on development of individual written assignments
Peer feedback on presentations of elements of written assignments

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Description of examination: Students will submit an individually written report on their project. The oral exam will be based on a random draw of a question from a pool of questions covering all learning objectives of the course. The final mark will be based on a total evaluation of the two exams (written:50% + oral:50%). The written report is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The exam is passed if the average grade given is passed.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Students will re-submit the individually written report on their project. The oral exam will be based on a random draw of a question from a pool of questions covering all learning objectives of the course. The final mark will be based on a total evaluation of the two exams (written:50%+oral:50%). The exam is passed if the average grade given is passed.

Criteria for exam assesment

Evaluation will be in relation to the expected learning outcomes