Join us on a trip with nature in focus

Last changed: 21 February 2019

Visit the fish ladder in Norrfors, hike in Ammarnäs and meet a reindeer herder. Together with participants from the United States, you learn about sustainable use of natural resources and investigate conflicts that can arise when different interests collide.

Join us on a journey with nature in focus. Photo: Linda Vikström
Have a coffee break and enjoy the magnificent view. Photo: Emelie Fredriksson
Experience the magnificent mountain environment in Ammarnäs. Photo: Emelie Fredriksson
During the journey you will meet reindeer herders who will tell us about how it's to work with reindeers. Photo: Pixaby
During the first week of the course we will visit the salmon ladder in Stornorrfors. Photo: Hans Lundqvist

Welcome to the international course "Sustainable use of natural resources". The course is arranged as a study trip and is given by the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in cooporation with Purdue University and North Carolina State University, USA.

This years study trip will go through the Vindelriver-Juhtatdahka biospherereserve. Juhtatdahka is sami for migration route and during the course we will travel along the river - from the estuaries in the Bothnian bay to its source in Ammarnäs and the Vindel mountains. Along the way we learn about natural resource use in the area and the potential conflicts between different land use interests.

Different aspects of sustainability

The course starts with one week in Umeå where we focus on different aspects of sustainability. The students will be given an introduction to how natural resources have been utilized throughout history. This week also include several shorter excursions in the vicinity of Umeå for example to the Ume river delta.

Sustainable use of water and sustainable fisheries is the theme during the end of the first week and beginning of the second week of the course. A visit at the salmon ladder in Stornorrfors will take place during the peak of salmon migration and gives the opportunity to learn more about the conservation of wild salmon. The environmental issues of a brackish inland sea will be in focus during a trip to Norrbyn and the island Norrbyskär where the sawmill industry flourished during the late 19th century.

The second week of the course is spent in Vindeln and is focused on sustainable use of forest resources including forest management for sustainable yield and bioenergy, wildlife management and biodiversity conservation. We will visit the Ecopark Skatan and experience modern silviculture, historical land use and examples of ecological restauration (prescribed burning) and conservation in nature reserves.

When conficts arise

During the third week we will focus on conflicts and trade-offs between different land use interests. We will move along the river and stop at Mårdseleforsarna where we can see structures from the timber floating era and discuss cultural and natural values in a river protected from hydropower dams. We will visit reindeer herding sami people, new and historical mining sites and will have the opportunity to discuss the impact of wind power plants on the landscape.

An excursion to Blaiken mountainous forest will show how the northern boreal forest looked like before large scale human impact. The nearby abandoned mining site and the wind power plants on the mountains close by gives an excellent opportunity to discuss how different interests compete in the landscape.

The final destination for the study trip will be Ammarnäs where we spend a week with mountains and arctic environments in focus. We will discuss how climate change will change the prerequisites for humans, animals and plants. Two days are spent hiking along the Kungsleden trail but there will also be time to explore the environment around Ammarnäs on your own and work on a group assignment that will be presented the day before travelling back to Umeå.


Course period: 1 July-2 Aug 2019 (7.5 credits)

Language: Teaching and group work in English. The individual work can be written in Swedish or English.

Application deadline: March 15, 2019

Cost: A fee will be charged for travel and accommodation during the course. More info about the fee is coming soon. Program students at the Forest Faculty can apply for scholarships to cover this cost.

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