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Forest modelling for sustainable forest management

This course will focus on production and growth models used in forestry, what they are, and why we need them. We will look into the development of forest growth and yield models and what information and tools could be used for this. By analyzing strengths and weaknesses with different models, we will also explore the possibility of making long-term predictions of forest development and its challenges. Towards the end of the course, there will be a field week where we do data collection, model development, and application at a forest estate outside Gothenburg.

Information from the course leader

Hi, and welcome to the course Forest modelling for sustainable forest management. I'm Martin Goude, and I'm the course leader. The other teachers and I look forward to meeting you this November. During the course, we will cover parts of the vast topic of forest growth and yield modelling. We will discuss what a model is and what it is used for in forestry. How models are developed, what data is needed for development, and how that data is collected. The fourth week of the course will be a field-based week where we visit the Östad forest estate and combine filed based and lecture hall exercises.

Course evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed

SG0276-20114 - 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.


SG0276 Forest modelling for sustainable forest management, 7.5 Credits

Skoglig modellering för hållbar skogsskötsel


Forest Science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Single module 7.5 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 Forest Science or

- 60 credits Forest Management or

- 60 credits Forestry Science

- 60 credits Biology or

- 60 credits Environmental Sciences or

- 60 credits Landscape Architecture or

- 60 credits Agricultural Sciences or

- 60 credits Natural Resource Management


- English 6.


The overall goal of the course is to give students an in-depth understanding of forest models with a focus on sustainable forestry. The course gives students the ability to perform analyzes of forest development with the help of forest production models and insight into what data and information are needed to develop and apply these models. Students also learn the difference between empirical and mechanistic models, their areas of use, and the limitations of the different model types.

After completing the course, students should be able to

- describe the experimental design and develop forest field trials, as well as analyze and evaluate forest field trials

- discuss and critically examine the characteristics and limitations of different forest production models

- describe and analyze empirical and mechanistic models

- use models to analyze and present interactions between forest growth, stock dynamics and climate effects through the use of survey material and experimental data.


The course will deal with forest models and concepts needed for an in-depth understanding of forest production and climate-adapted sustainable forest management. The teaching is done through lectures, seminars, individual assignments, group work, exercises, and field excursions that deal with the following topics related to forest models and their implementation:

- Experimental design and establishment of survey plots

- Dependent variables, e.g., basal area, volume, biomass, and carbon

- Forest regeneration

- Allocation of growth

- Spacing, competition and mortality

- Stand structure and its effect on growth

- Site variables and their variation on different scales

- Weather and climate data application when analysing experiments and in growth models

- Mechanistic and empirical growth models

Exercises, group work, and individual assignments will consist of literature studies, analysis, and problem-solving of theoretical and practical questions with the help of statistical data processing and simulation tools.

Individual and group assignments, seminars and field excursions are compulsory.

Formats and requirements for examination

Pass grades in two written assignments and participation in compulsory subjects. The grading criteria state what is required for different grades and what aspects of performance are assessed.
  • 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

The course is mainly campus-based but can be adapted to distance education if needed.

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 Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom skog (PN - S)
Replaces: SG0233

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: 19027 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Forest Science
Course code: SG0276 Application code: SLU-20114 Location: Alnarp Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Pace: 100%