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Silviculture - the science of forest stand management

Silviculture applies forest ecology to manage forest stands with the aim to provide society with wood raw materials and other ecosystem goods and services. In this course, you will study how a range of silvicultural practices, including management of stand structure, composition, density, rotation length and site fertility affect forest development and ecosystem services (with emphasis on wood, carbon and water). After the course, you will be able to evaluate the scientific basis for current and emerging silvicultural practices such as continuous cover forestry, carbon forestry and mixed species forests. We place particular emphasis on learning the skills and tools needed for analysing forest stand management for sustainable provision of desired goods and services under different conditions, including changing climate and management objectives. Thus, the course will give you a sound foundation for decision-making and implementation. The course primarily focuses on boreal and temperate forests, but we will also use examples from tropical forests to discuss differences between forest types, site conditions, and consequences of climate change. We target students interested in careers in the forest industry, public sector, and research in forest science, forest ecology or soil science.

Course evaluation

Additional course evaluations for SG0272

Academic year 2021/2022

Silviculture - the science of forest stand management (SG0272-30052)

2022-01-17 - 2022-03-23

Academic year 2021/2022

Silviculture - the science of forest stand management (SG0272-M3052)

2022-01-17 - 2022-03-23


SG0272 Silviculture - the science of forest stand management, 15.0 Credits

Silviculture - the science of forest stand management


Biology Forest Science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Single module 15.0 0101

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements(A1N)

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

The equivalent of 120 credits at basic level including

- 60 credits in Forest science or

- 60 credits in Forest management or

- 60 credits in Biology or

- 60 credits in Soil science or

- 60 credits in Environmental sciences or

- 60 credits in Natural resource management or

- 60 credits in Natural geography


English 6


The overall aim of this course is to provide the foundations for evaluating how established and emerging silvicultural practices affect forest growth development, stand structure, and ecosystem services at the tree and stand level. The course provides students with experimental and analytical tools for predictions of current and future stand conditions and tree responses. The course will also foster critical reading of silvicultural and ecological literature and writing of scientific texts.

After completion of the course, the students will be able to

- explain and apply the ecological and silvicultural principles underlying tree and stand development over time—including the role of site characteristics, self-thinning, resource competition, resource dynamics, light-use efficiency, and respiration at tree- and stand-levels and how silvicultural practices govern stand development under contrasting environmental conditions

- analyse and project the consequences of silvicultural measures and their impacts on tree/forest growth, soils, and energy and water balances

- design silvicultural field experiments, simulations and sampling strategies to test fundamental scientific questions and hypotheses, analyse data using state-of-the-art software and statistical methods

- evaluate the scientific basis for established and emerging silvicultural practices such as mixed species silviculture, continuous cover forestry, agroforestry, and uneven-aged forest management

- search, critically evaluate, and synthesise relevant scientific literature on ongoing discussions in silviculture and forest management

- apply recognized principles for effective communication, considering varying audiences and formats. (e.g., research reports, oral presentations, posters).


This course focuses on the evaluation of established and emerging silvicultural options for obtaining forest yield and ecosystem services under various scenarios. The students will practice a range of quantitative methods of analysis, experiments, silvicultural planning tools, and modelling. This will include a mix of lectures, use of field data, and analytical exercises. The students will also participate actively in literature seminars, synthesize scientific literature and lead discussions and debates at seminars. Seminars are compulsory.

Lectures and course literature will cover, for example

- future silviculture challenges and opportunities: perspectives from small forest owners, companies, conservation organisations and the government

- silviculture for carbon sequestration

- nitrogen issues affecting forest stand development and management

- continuous cover and mixed species forests

- tree and stand dynamics

- models as framework for forest stand management and science

- experimental approaches; analysis of forest structure, tree diversity, tree physiology; and silvicultural modelling and simulation.

The students work in small groups on projects, which will form the basis of assessment. The projects cover and deepen the different aspects of the course, and have a quantitative and experimental component. The students will submit assignments in the format of scientific reports and present their findings orally.

Formats and requirements for examination

Approved written assignments and oral presentations. Completed compulsory activities.
  • 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 take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Additional information

This course is given within the Masters Program in Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management.

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: SG0173.1 , SG0174.2; SG0244

Grading criteria

There are no Grading criteria posted for this course

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Biology Forest Science
Course code: SG0272 Application code: SLU-30188 Location: Umeå Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Forest ecology and Management Pace: 100%