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Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests

Human population growth, global climate change and the increasing demand for forest-based products and services require refined management strategies and recognition of different stakeholder perspectives. The premise of this course is to address the inevitable trade-offs between different forest commodities and the negotiation involved when management objectives are not fully compatible. The course applies up-to-date forest ecology and silviculture research to explore and evaluate management options aimed at social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The course content stems from contemporary boreal forestry issues and emphasizes short- to long-term and landscape consequences of management choices. We cover climate change adaptation, wood raw material supply, damaging agents and risk prevention, and protection of water, biodiversity, social, and cultural values.

The course targets students who are considering a professional career as forestry advisors, project leaders and management professionals for the Swedish and international markets. It also provides a solid background for PhD studies with the career trajectory of Research and Development within forest companies and agencies.

Course evaluation

Additional course evaluations for SG0245

Academic year 2021/2022

Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests (SG0245-40023)

2022-03-24 - 2022-06-05

Academic year 2020/2021

Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests (SG0245-40004)

2021-03-24 - 2021-06-06

Academic year 2019/2020

Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests (SG0245-40001)

2020-03-25 - 2020-06-07


SG0245 Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests, 15.0 Credits

Sustainable Management of Boreal Forests


Biology Forest Science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Single module 15.0 0101

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements(A1F)

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 in Forest science or

- 60 credits in Forest management or

- 60 credits in Biology or

- 60 credits in Soil science or

- 60 credits in Environmental sciences or

- 60 credits in Natural resource management or

- 60 credits in Natural geography


knowledge at advanced level

-15 credits Forest science or

-15 credits Biology or

-15 credits Soil science


English 6


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to evaluate different management approaches and their consequences for the provision of ecosystem services including climate change mitigation, risk prevention, clean water, wood raw material supply, social values, and cultural legacies. Moreover students should be able to, orally and in writing, discuss and communicate the trade-offs with reference to relevant research and scientific publications. A general objective is to develop student confidence and competence to argue ones opinion and provide well founded recommendations in different management settings.

After completion of the course, students should be able to:

• Compare and contrast the management approaches applied for different forest conditions across the boreal zone.

• Evaluate the purpose and functionality of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and describe the process of forest certification standard development.

• Analyze and evaluate the efficacy of silvicultural programs and management strategies regarding wood raw material supply for different value chains.

• Account for and evaluate different planning and management approaches (e.g. adaptive management, zonation, multiple land use, and retention forestry) to promote long-term sustainability at the landscape scale.

• Assess forest management effects on carbon balance, greenhouse gas emission and climate change.

• Account for forest stand structure and composition effects on waterway ecosystem services and prescribe silvicultural measures to preserve water quality and quantity.

• Review and discuss alternative management approaches to preserve biodiversity based on current understanding of natural disturbance dynamics in boreal forests.

• Review management strategies and develop guidelines to handle key damaging biotic and abiotic agents (e.g. wind, frost, snow-brake, wild fire, antropogenic deposition) in boreal forests.

• Demonstrate ability to place management operations and silvicultural measures in a wider sustainable forest management (SFM) context.


This course emphasizes student- centered learning. Each course element is introduced with short lectures followed by compulsory individual or group assignments, which are submitted for examination. The course includes guest lectures, seminars, and workshops with professional managers and agency representatives, as well as case studies and group projects inspired by contemporary forestry issues. A study trip to Jämtland focusing on continuous cover forestry is also included. Towards the end of the course, special emphasis is placed on stakeholder interaction and personal communication skills. A student-led conference with student presentations and invited forestry representatives concludes the course.

Formats and requirements for examination

Approved participation in compulsory seminars and approved oral and written presentations.
  • 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

This course is given within the Masters Program in Forest Ecology and Sustainable Management.

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 Forest ecology and Management

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom skog (PN - S)
Biology field: Ekologi
Replaces: 178.1

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: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Biology Forest Science
Course code: SG0245 Application code: SLU-40124 Location: Umeå Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Forest ecology and Management Pace: 100%