NIFK22002U Global Forests and People

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Environment and Development
MSc Programme in Global Environment and Development
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Global Forestry (GLOFOR)
MSc Programme in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA)


The course provides you with a people-oriented global approach to sustainable environmental resource management, combining readings with exercises and writing. Emphasis is on the relationships between people, environmental resource use, and conservation, with a particular focus on forests. The course offers a combination of guided readings, in-class discussions and exercises, online discussions and tests, and detailed feedback on two individual essays.

Central themes are: (i) Paradigms – what ideas and views guide forest use and conservation? (ii) Livelihoods – how do people rely on environmental resources? What are the relationships between forests and human health? (iii) Valuation – how can we put a price on environmental products and make their importance to local people visible? (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 policies? What global forest policies exist and why? Do policies work? And (vii) Sustainable forest management – can REDD, certification, or other instruments save the tropical and sub-tropical forests? In addition, the course provides guidance and exercises in essay writing.

Learning Outcome

This course provides an introduction to essential contemporary issues related to global forests. The aim is to give students a thorough understanding of the relationships between forests and people, e.g. the role of environmental products in improving rural livelihoods. It is stressed that environmental products are 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 global forestry, including forest reliance, deforestation, the potential of using environmental products to prevent and reduce poverty, the connections between forests and human health, environmental product valuation methods, global forest policy and processes, and the potential of using market-based mechanisms to achieve sustainable forest management.

Apply principles, theories, and frameworks to case studies

Make a 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 role of environmental products 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 materials include selected scientific articles, book chapters, lecture notes, video clips, and slideshows. These are all accessible through the course homepage.

The course draws on basic elements of economic theory and management of renewable natural resources, all or part of which are introduced in a wide range of undergraduate programmes.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Teaching is blended learning, combining online exercises and discussions with lectures and essay writing.
The course is provided through a web-based teaching and learning system as well as in the classroom. Modules focus on integrating literature studies and exercises, including discussions mediated by faculty. Exercises focus on understanding theory and using theory on actual cases. Each student is provided guidance in essay writing and receive detailed feedback on two individual essays.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 48
  • Preparation
  • 90
  • E-Learning
  • 16
  • Project work
  • 52
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Type of assessment details
Students are assessed based on (i) their completion of exercises throughout the course (such as multiple-choice exercises) and (ii) through two teacher commented essays. Completion of exercises and essays count 20% and 80% respectively towards the final mark. Students typically complete exercises each week and have around three weeks to prepare each essay.

The final grade is calculated as the above sum accumulated sum (in percentage), and you pass if the average grade is 02 or above (equivalent to a total course score of minimum 50%)
All aids allowed
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