Managing Sustainable Forest Landscapes



This course examines forestry from an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The focus will be on ecosystem services that forests provide, and the students should therefore have at least a basic understanding of ecosystem functions. Master's or Doctoral degree students are warmly invited as are young professionals in a field related to the course topics. In addition, professionals already in working life may want to take this course to update their skills.


This course seeks to enhance our understanding of forest ecosystem services, not least as the future of global forest resources is a daily concern in international policy debate and processes.

International and national initiatives need to be strengthened to sustain the economic potential of forest landscapes under increasing pressure from population growth. In addition, new challenges such as adaptation to uncertain climatic conditions, competing land uses as well as concerns about food security are examples of major problems faced every day by forest-dependent communities and decision makers worldwide.

All these drivers of change call for integrated and multidisciplinary approaches to incorporate landscape management in a way that both encourages immediate innovative action and sets targets for finding sustainable solutions. For these reasons, forests and industrial plantations have become an important part of the global natural resource puzzle. A broader framework should thus include flexible management schemes to allow for effective participation of local communities, and the establishment of cost-efficient production systems (e.g., plantations, agroforestry), which can generate an adequate flow of commercial products, ecosystems services and livelihood improvements.

For a functional framework, however, international and national initiatives for good governance, transparency, efficiency and equity must be integrated into the planning process. It is the complex web of interrelated issues that this course brings to the fore.


The course is led by Prof. Markku Kanninen, Viikki Tropical Resources Institute, University of Helsinki, and is coordinated by Mr Adrián Monge Monge.

Teachers include experts from different organisations in the public, private and civil sectors.

The full schedule of lecturers will be announced by the end of June 2019.


The objective of this intensive course is to provide tools and methods to analyse and identify opportunities for managing forested landscapes for multiple benefits while maintaining their functioning and resilience.


The course consists of:

  1. a pre-course assignment
  2. lectures and reflection exercises on the lectures
  3. an excursion/field trip
  4. group work
  5. a public seminar

The learning method is interactive, focusing on discussion and creative participation.


  • a. Pre-course assignment: 20% of final score
  • b. Reflection exercise: 40% of final score
  • c. Group report and presentation: 40% of final score
  • d. Field trip: no effect on final score
  • e. Exercises during lectures: no effect on final score.

Additional information:
a. All assignments listed in the course requirements are compulsory for all students. In order to pass the course, receive the ECTS credits and the final diploma, students must successfully complete all assignments and activities;
b. If students miss a class, they must write an essay for every missed lecture, exercise session or institutional visit. This essay consists of one full A4 page (12-size font, 1.5 space, Times New Roman, about 600 words).

Grading scale:
5 = excellent
4 = very good
3 = good
2 = average
1 = poor
0 = fail.


Viikki Campus +  Field trip to Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station

Preliminary schedule

7–9 August 2019
Lectures at the Viikki Campus:
Introduction to the theme: landscape management, ecosystem services and biodiversity
Forest policy
Forest management in Finnish and global contexts.

12–14 August 2019
Field trip to the Hyytiälä forestry research station: Finnish forestry, ecosystem atmospheric interactions and recreational ecosystem services in practice

15–22 August 2019
Carbon and forests, incl. workshop
Ecosystem services and economics
People in the forest landscapes: livelihoods, gender, participatory methods
Climate change adaptation in forest landscapes, incl. workshop
Public seminar
Group work

Visiting lecturers from the fields of environmental and social studies and/or forestry.


The list of suggested reading for the pre-course assignment and instructions for completing the pre-course assignment will be delivered via Moodle or email to all students 5 weeks before the beginning of the course. The deadline for the submission of the pre-course assignment is the first week of August 2019.