Education and training cover dry and humid tropics, natural and plantation forests, agroforestry systems, and management of forested tropical landscapes. Courses and training are provided in English. Some of the courses are offered in the tropics, in collaboration with VITRI’s local partners. In most cases, the thesis research is also undertaken in the Global South.
As part of the Master Programme at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, VITRI offers a module titled "Tropical forestry, agroforestry and land use". This module will provide advanced study opportunities on the dynamics and management of tropical landscapes and tree-based livelihood systems. The core courses of this module will provide a foundation of knowledge into tropical landscape change, forestry and agroforestry in both classroom and field settings. Complementing these core competencies are opportunities to explore more deeply the forestry-relevant biodiversity of the tropics and/or the broader policy and emerging environmental trends in the tropics.
VITRI is also responsible for some English courses at the BSc. level.
The methods introduced in the course include both methods for collecting bio-physical data on natural resources and ecosystem services and socio-economic data on local livelihoods, value chains, risks and vulnerability.
The methods introduced in the course are: (1) forest inventory, biomass and carbon analysis: designing the sampling scheme, plot size and field measurements, data analysis; (2) biodiversity analysis in forested landscapes: sampling, use of different diversity indices, importance of biodiversity for human uses; (3) livelihoods analysis of poor farmers through socio-economic studies: sampling schemes for village and household level interviews, use of different participatory methods; (4) value-chain analysis of timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs): steps and stakeholders in different value-chains, sampling methods, income and benefit sharing; and (5) vulnerability analysis of poor farmers and communities to climate and other changes: perceptions of change using interviews, analysis of meteorological data and land-use maps.
The methods practised during the field course include -both- methods for collecting bio-physical data on natural resources and ecosystem services and socio-economic data on local livelihoods, value chains, risks and vulnerability.
The methods used include the following: (1) forest inventory, biomass and carbon analysis: designing the sampling scheme, plot size and measurements, data analysis; (2) biodiversity analysis in forested landscapes: sampling, employment of different diversity indices, importance of biodiversity for human uses; (3) livelihoods analysis of poor farmers through socio-economic studies: sampling schemes for village and household level interviews, use of different participatory methods; (4) value-chain analysis of timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs): steps and participants in different value-chains, income; and (5) vulnerability analysis of poor farmers and communities to climate change: perceptions of change through interviews, analysis of meteorological data and land-use maps.
The course will consist of three main components, i.e. Forest silviculture, tree plantations, and agroforestry. The forest silviculture component consists of lectures on silviculture of natural tropical forests, sustainability of natural forest management, non-timber forest products (NTFPs), forest certification and markets. The tree plantation section consists of lectures on silviculture of fast-growing trees, smallholder tree plantations, ecosystem services of planted forests, and managing large-scale tree plantation landscapes. The agroforestry component consists of lectures on agricultural crop production and management within agroforestry systems, biodiversity in agroforestry systems, carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems, and agroforestry and livelihoods.
Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of land change is critical for a wide range of research in environmental science. This is particularly true for tropical regions, where biodiversity is highest, socioeconomic contexts are diverse and dynamic, and there is huge pressure to convert natural systems into production systems for human benefit. In this module, the student will learn about the main theories of land change, which have the goal of explaining the relationships among causal events leading to land change. Students will also learn about how frameworks are used to conceptualize the dynamics of land change. Finally, students will gain some practical experience with accessing and utilizing a range of land change data to conduct basic analyses to gain an appreciation for the dynamic nature of land change in the tropics.
This is a multidisciplinary course that gives a comprehensive view of the process and drivers of forest land degradation, natural regeneration and succession of tropical forests, principle concepts in restoration ecology, restoration strategies for different climatic zones and disturbance levels, restoration and biological invasion, restoration and biodiversity, restoration and climate change, social aspects of restoration, monitoring and evaluation of restoration projects, and international restoration initiatives.
The course will start with an introduction into the field of international forest policy, and theories in forest policy analysis. An introduction to the policy arena of tropical deforestation in the context of climate change is followed by an overview of a theoretical framework to understand the political economy of deforestation, and related methods. REDD+ (reducing emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation) is used an example to display findings of such an analysis in a comparative design, and how institutional, discourse and network analysis can be applied. The political economy framework analysing institutional path dependencies, and actor’s interests, ideas and information (4I framework) will be applied to a number of policy issues relevant to international forest policy, ranging from LULUCF, UNFF to forest conservation in Burkina Faso. This knowledge will then be built upon by the students in group work to apply the 4I framework to specific policy arenas. The key findings of each group and country case will be presented (as powerpoint and essay) and discussed.
Students will be introduced to qualitative research. In addition, collection and further analysis of qualitative data is discussed, as well as overall strengths and weakness of qualitative research. One important element of the course is an introduction and discussion of ethics in research, e.g. research with human subjects and responsible conduct.
- Introduction to Ontology and Epistemology
- Qualitative Research Design
- Building up a data corpus (interviews, focus group discussions, other participatory tools)
- Analyzing qualitative data
- Ethics when conducting research with human subjects
We will also provide practice sessions related to the conduct of interviews, FDGs and also offer an ATLAS.ti lab. Note that the participation in practice sessions is mandatory.
The course discusses the current issues in development geography by introducing environmental changes and megatrends in the Global South, such as population growth, migration and urbanization and their effects to sustainability, role of technological development in development, democracy development, and climate change. In addition, the course discusses the causes and consequences of climate change from land cover and land use change to impact of climate change to ecosystem services, such as water provision, habitats, biodiversity and pollination. The lecturers are scientists and experts in global change and environmental issues in the Global South. Geographically the course has its focus in sub-Saharan Africa.
Factors that make a successful guided botanical tour and the important skills of a guide. Botanic gardens as resources for research, conservation, learning and recreation. In-depth knowledge of certain tropical plants. Science popularization.
The course will cover forest and peatland vegetation zones and their species composition and structure; maximum age and biomass variation; the role of forests in climate change mitigation and the impact of climate change on forests. In addition, the course will cover the role of forests in biodiversity conservation and the impact of forest degradation on biodiversity. The aforementioned topics will be discussed in the course from a global perspective.
After completing the course students will be able to identify and describe the basic biophysical and socioeconomic mechanisms of tropical production and land use systems.
The student will have a basic understanding of the environmental degradation associated with tropical land uses and the management systems that can be utilized to enhance sustainability and environmental conservation. In addition, the major international agreements and policy processes related to tropical land uses will be discussed.
The course will cover a broad range of topics in the areas of meteorology, ecology, agronomy and social sciences related to agroforestry practices. Tropical climate, cropping and farming systems, concept and definition of agroforestry, classification of agroforestry systems, dryland and humid agroforestry systems, tree species selection, tree seed procurement and handling, tree nursery management, soil management, and economics of agroforestry will be covered in the course.
After completing the course, the objective of the course is to provide student understands the students with understanding of structure and functioning of different types of tropical forest ecosystems. The student will learn to identify factors affecting growth, regeneration, disturbance dynamics, and diversity of tropical forests. In addition, the student will , and analyze threats to forests, such as deforestation and forest degradation, and analyze options, constraints, and challenges in conservation of tropical forests and forested landscapes.
The student will learn to identify, explain and compare
- Main types of tree-based production systems in the tropics.
- Different silvicultural and agroforestry systems applied to different types of tropical forests and environments.
- Importance of trees, forest and agroforests in rural livelihoods, sustainable development, and in producing ecosystem services for the society.