Course Description

This is a course about the principles and practice of tree growth for restoration of degraded forests and for forest plantation development. The course consists of three modules and starts with an overview of elements of forest ecology directly relevant to seed and vegetative regeneration and ecosystem processes related to the growth of a forest. Different stages of stand development are described and an understanding of the impacts of site, climate, and soil factors on forest functioning is developed throughout the course. A brief introduction to forest carbon and nutrient cycles is given as essential background to understanding limitations to forest productivity. The second module deals with restoration of degraded forests and starts with a global perspective of the context for restoration activities in different parts of world and the Asia-Pacific region in particular. The properties of degraded forests are described, and the aims of restoration activities discussed. The interaction between forest restoration and climate is explored with case studies from tropical and temperate zones, including indicators of restoration success. The third module covers the theory and practice of plantation forest development. The module covers plantation management starting from plantation purpose and species selection to techniques for site preparation, tree establishment, and optimizing growth to thinning and pruning.

Course Prerequisites

This course is designed for forest practitioners and for Bachelor students in year 3 or 4 (upper level undergraduate or first year postgraduate) of environmental, natural resource management, or forest science degrees. Participants are expected to have studied plant sciences at 1st or 2nd year university degree level; this usually involves the study of biology and chemistry at 1st year university level. The course assumes a familiarity with plant physiology and ecology and the terminology of plant science. A good understanding of forest ecology is the starting point for prescribing management actions for forest restoration or forest plantation development. To assist students in revising key terminology, links are provided to sources for refresher reading and further information.