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Sustainable Forestry and Land-use Management in the Tropics

Do you want to work with forestry, agroforestry, and forest-related issues in the tropics? This is the course for you! This course will take you through the arc of understanding global issues and theoretical knowledge to the on-the-ground complexities, challenges, and strategies of tropical forest and landscape management activities. You will learn tropical forest and woodland ecology, management systems, agroforestry, forest and landscape restoration, tree and forest products and services, global issues and drivers of land-use and land-use change, the complexities of local conditions, and how to integrate multiple forest- and land-use objectives and manage trade-offs.

The course is given as a campus independent, distance course, which means that you can attend the course remotely from any location.

Course evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed

SG0258-20133 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

Additional course evaluations for SG0258

Academic year 2021/2022

Sustainable Forestry and Land-use Management in the Tropics (SG0258-20022)

2021-11-02 - 2022-01-16

Academic year 2020/2021

Sustainable Forestry and Land-use Management in the Tropics (SG0258-20100)

2020-11-02 - 2021-01-17

Syllabus and other information


SG0258 Sustainable Forestry and Land-use Management in the Tropics, 15.0 Credits

Hållbar skogsskötsel och markanvändning i tropikerna


Biology Forest Science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Introduction to tropical forests, ecology, clim 2.5 0102
Agroforestry and multifunctional landscapes 2.5 0103
Forest and Landscape Restorati 2.5 0104
Natural Forest Management 2.5 0105
Factfulness 2.5 0106
Interview project 2.5 0107

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, has second-cycle course/s as entry requirementsMaster’s level (A1F)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Prior knowledge equivalent to 120 credits at undergraduate level including

- 60 credits forest science or

- 60 credits forest management or

- 60 credits biology or

- 60 credits soil science or

- 60 credits environmental sciences or

- 60 credits natural resource management


- 15 credits at advanced level


- English 6


The course prepare students for tasks and challenges when working with sustainable management in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Describe and analyze how biophysical (e.g., ecology, soils, climate), social, policy, and economic forces interact and drive current and potential forest and land-use management decisions and options.

- Evaluate the potential benefits and weaknesses of prevalent management systems (natural forest, plantations, agroforestry, and restoration) within the local context (on economy, livelihoods, ecosystem services, etc.).

- Synthesize the importance of tropical forests in a global context (e.g., carbon cycling, climate change mitigation, provision of wood and other bio-based products) and global agendas (e.g., forest landscape restoration, Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, REDD+).

- Assess and interpret how local, context-specific demands, dynamics, values, and complexities affect forest and land use management.

- Review, analyze, evaluate, and communicate current issues and research findings on forestry in tropical and subtropical areas.

- In a given context, identify gaps in knowledge or practice and propose new solutions.


The course addresses the conditions in nature and society for forest development and utilization in subtropical and tropical regions. The course provides a comprehensive understanding of how variations in system ecology, community development and forestry in the south differ from the northern systems. The course also deals with important management practices and land use forms with trees and forests, as well as current issues that will in future dominate the development of land use and forestry practices in subtropical and tropical regions.

The course contains lectures, exercises, literature studies, and discussions. Students will apply their knowledge to reality-based case studies. The course also provides an opportunity for individual specialization of a specific subject area based on the student’s own interest. Seminars and exercises are mandatory.

Formats and requirements for examination

Active participation in compulsory parts of the course. Approved written assignments, oral seminars and exercises.
- If a student has failed an examination, the examiner has the right to issue supplementary assignments. This applies if it is possible and there are grounds to do so.

- The examiner can provide an adapted assessment to students entitled to study support for students with disabilities following a decision by the university. Examiners may also issue an adapted examination or provide an alternative way for the students to take the exam.

- If this syllabus is withdrawn, SLU may introduce transitional provisions for examining students admitted based on this syllabus and who have not yet passed the course.

- For the assessment of an independent project (degree project), the examiner may also allow a student to add supplemental information after the deadline for submission. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

- The right to participate in teaching and/or supervision only applies for the course instance the student was admitted to and registered on.

- If there are special reasons, students are entitled to participate in components with compulsory attendance when the course is given again. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.

Additional information

In the course there are possibilities for students to make a field trip to a tropical country in connection with one international SLU project. Alternatively, students can conduct a case study based on a real problem or research task. In both cases, the task may focus on preparing for future field studies in a tropical country. The course is offered to students from all SLU locations with some compulsory lectures and seminars.

For internet-based parts of the course, access to a computer with internet-connection of 2.0 Mbit/s or higher in both directions, USB-headset with microphone and web-camera are needed. Fixed internet access is recommended. It is also possible to connect at a library or so called "lärcentrum" (learning center).

SLU is environmentally certified according to ISO 14001. A large part of our courses

cover knowledge and skills that contribute positively to the environment. To further

strengthen this, we have specific environmental goals for the education. Students are

welcome to suggest actions regarding the course’s content and implementation that lead

to improvements for the environment. For more information, see webpage

Responsible department

Department of Forest ecology and Management

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom skog (PN - S)
Biology field: Ekologi
Replaces: SG0219

Litterature list

Introduction to tropical ecosystems, forests, soils and climate

Bonan, G.B. 2008. Forests and Climate Change: Forcings, Feedbacks, and the Climate Benefits of Forests. Science.

Brandon, K. 2014. Ecosystem Services from Tropical Forests: Review of Current Science. CGD Climate and Forest Paper Series #7.

Busch, J. and Ferretti-Gallon, K. 2014. *Stopping Deforestation: What Works and What Doesn't. *CGD Climate and Forest Paper Series #3.

Driessen, P., Deckers, J., Spaargaren, O., Nachtergaele, F. 2001. Lecture notes on the major soils of the world.

Elliott, S., Blakesley, D., Hardwick, K. 2013. Understanding Tropical Forests, Chap 2, in Restoring tropical forests: a practical guide. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Ellison, D. et al. 2017. Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world. Global Environmental Change.

FAO. 2018. The state of the world’s forests 2018 - Forests pathways to sustainable development. Rome.

Goodman, R. and Herold, M. 2014. Why Maintaining Tropical Forests Is Essential and Urgent for a Stable Climate. CGD Working Paper 385.

Popkin, G. 2019. How much can forests fight climate change? Nature.

Agroforestry and multifunctional landscapes

Agroforestry Network. 2018. Scaling up Agroforestry: Potential, challenges and barriers. A review of environmental, social and economic aspects at the farmer, community and landscape levels. Stockholm.

FAO. 2017. Agroforestry for landscape restoration: Exploring the potential of agroforestry to enhance the sustainability and resilience of degraded landscapes. Rome.

Global Evergreening Alliance. 2019. How to suck carbon out of the air and convert it into profits and jobs for poor farmers across the globe.

Goffner, D., Sinaré, H. and Gordon, L. 2019. The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative as an opportunity to enhance resilience in Sahelian landscapes and livelihoods. Regional Environmental Change.

Kuyah, S. et al. 2016. Trees in agricultural landscapes enhance provision of ecosystem services in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management.

Sacande, M. et al. 2021. Socio-economic impacts derived from large scale restoration in three Great Green Wall countries. Journal of Rural Studies.

Forest and Landscape Restoration

Besseau, P., Graham, S. and Christophersen, T. (eds.). 2018. Restoring forests and landscapes: the key to a sustainable future. Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration, Vienna, Austria.

Bracalion P.H.S., et al. 2019. Global restoration opportunities in tropical rainforest landscapes. Science.

Chazdon, R.L., Brancalion, P.H.S., Laestadius, L. et al. 2016. When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration. Ambio 45, 538–550.

Di Sacco, A. et al. 2021. Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimize carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits. Global Change Biology 27:7.

Elliott, S., Blakesley, D., Hardwick, K. 2013. Restoring tropical forests: a practical guide. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

FAO. 2019. Restoring forest landscapes through assisted natural regeneration (ANR) – A practical manual. Bangkok. 52 pp.

Guariguata MR, et al. 2021. Forest and Landscape Restoration. FTA Highlights of a Decade 2011–2021 series. Highlight No.4. Bogor, Indonesia: The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

ITTO. 2020. Guidelines for forest landscape restoration in the tropics. ITTO Policy Development Series No. 24. International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Yokohama, Japan.

Kettle, C.J. et al. 2020. Priorities, challenges and opportunities for supplying tree genetic resources p. 51-61 in FAO. 2020. Restoring the Earth – The next decade. Unasylva No. 252 - Vol. 71 2020/1. Rome.

Laestadius, L. et al. 2015. Before Bonn and beyond: the history and future of forest landscape restoration. Unasylva No. 245. Vol. 66 2015/3

llstedt et al. 2016. Intermediate tree cover can maximize groundwater recharge in the seasonally dry tropics. Scientific Reports.

Philipson, C.D. et al. 2020. *Active restoration accelerates the carbon recovery of human-modified tropical forests. *Science.

Sabogal, C., Besacier, C., and McGuire, D. 2015. Forest and landscape restoration: concepts, approaches and challenges for implementation. Unasylva No. 245. Vol. 66 2015/3

Sheil & Bargués-Tobella. *More trees for more water in drylands: myths and opportunities. *In: Pasiecznik, N. & Reij C. (Eds). 2020. Restoring African Drylands 60: 209-216. EFTRN News.

Natural Forest Management

Ashton, M.S. and Hall, J.S. 2011. The Ecology, Silviculture, and Use of Tropical Wet Forests with Special Emphasis on Timber Rich Types. Chap 12 in Günter, S. (Ed.), 2011. Silviculture in the tropics, Tropical forestry. Springer, Heidelberg ; New York.

Karsenty, A. and Gourlet-Fleury, S. 2006. Assessing Sustainability of Logging Practices in the Congo Basin’s Managed Forests: the Issue of Commercial Species Recovery. Ecology and Society 11(1):26.

Schwartz, G. et al. 2016. Profitability of silvicultural treatments in logging gaps in the Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 28(1): 68–78.

Fredericksen T.S. 2011. Silviculture in Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests (Review) Chap 16 in Günter, S. (Ed.), Silviculture in the tropics, Tropical forestry. Springer, Heidelberg ; New York.

Ehrenberg-Azcárate, F. & Peña-Claros, M. 2020. Twenty years of forest management certification in the tropics: Major trends through time and among continents. Forest Policy and Economics.

Hensbergen, H.J. van. 2018. Rethinking forest concessions - Improving the allocation of state-owned forests for better economic, social and environmental outcomes. Forestry Working Paper No. 4. Rome, FAO. 84pp.


Rosling, H., Rosling, O. and Rosling Rönnlund, A. 2018. Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think.

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management - mastersprogramme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38060 SEK Cycle: Master’s level (A1F)
Subject: Biology Forest Science
Course code: SG0258 Application code: SLU-20133 Location: Independent courses Distance course: Yes Language: English Responsible department: Department of Forest ecology and Management Pace: 100%