The Broadleaves course will introduce you to the fascinating world of summer-green deciduous forests which covered most of Europe before human transformation of the continent. Today’s broadleaf forests share traces of the original natural forests with a multitude of cultural features due to a long history of human management.
Broadleaf forests still cover large areas of temperate Europe, but their ecological integrity is under increasing pressure from a changing climate and the globalization of forest pests and diseases. In this course you will learn about the history, ecology, biodiversity, and sustainable governance of broadleaf forest ecosystems around the Baltic Sea.In this course you will study the impact of forest management on biodiversity and evaluate current approaches for conservation and restoration of broadleaf forests. We will compare conservation approaches based on different historical baselines, including effects of Pleistocene megafauna extinctions. We will also study current threats and challenges to the function and biodiversity of broadleaf forests, with a focus on exotic tree pathogens and effects of ungulate browsing.
The course programme includes a field trip to Bialowieza National Park, a fragment of Europe's last primaeval temperate forest, in north-eastern Poland. We will explore the giant ancient trees and rich flora and fauna, including European bison, wolves, beavers and several species of rare woodpeckers. We will also study the effect of climate change on broadleaf forests and look at Bialowieza as a prime example of how climate change impacts European temperate forests.
You will study fast- and slow-growing tree species and learn how both can contribute to the future forest landscape. The course will also introduce you to silviculture, the art and science of growing and managing (in our case broadleaf) trees and forest stands. This knowledge will put you on solid ground to dive deeper into the subject in the Silviculture of Temperate Forests course given at our department at the start of the autumn semester.
See you in the course!