Joint course 3

Sustainable tropical forestry school

The first study year ends with the compulsory Sustainable tropical forestry spring school, which is a joint field trip, run in a tropical country. The joint course has for example been held in Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Nepal. All first year students must attend the module to meet their fellow students and staff from the other partner institutions. The joint course "Preparing field work in the tropics" is a mandatory prerequisite.

Course objectives:
The primary purpose is to apply data collection and evaluation methods in the field. In addition, students should (i) visit and observe a range of field sites of diverse forest structure, land use and management practices; (ii) meet local populations to understand local cultures and their dependency on the forest resource; (iii) participate in group discussions about the issues raised during visits; and (iv) develop a critical and analytical attitude to the natural and managed environment.

Course contents:
Exposure to field level realities in a developing countries, including developing and implementing a minor research project related to sustainable tropical forestry. A two-week field course to an environmentally diverse area. This will alternate between tropical environments in collaboration with developing country partners. Students will be exposed to a number of topics and/or taken to a variety of sites which demonstrate a range of natural and managed vegetation, and a range of conservation and sustainability issues. Some of these will involve meeting and discussion with local experts. Most of the time will be spent implementing a minor research project. Supervised research method implementation and research report writing.

Teaching and learning methods:
Students will apply concepts acquired during theoretical lectures. Students must have completed the prior course "Preparing field work in the tropics" and will implement the project developed in that course. Each student will participate in a supervised group. Each group will conduct fieldwork, prepare and submit a course report. Two weeks field work in a developing country. Final report to be submitted two weeks after the field trip.

Students will prepare and submit individual field work diary of max. 2000 words; present orally their preliminary findings, and submit a group field work report of max. 5000 words. Weight: Diary (30%), Presentation (20%) and Field report (50%). Internal examiner.

Competences acquired:
By the end of the course students should be able to apply principles, theories and frameworks to locally specific knowledge/conditions; to critically judge the usefulness of methods and the reliability of collected data as well as the significance of obtained results; have gained experience with project and hypothesis design and execution; data interpretation and analyses. Furthermore, they should be able to argue cogently and think critically within the parameters of a particular academic discipline; demonstrate the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open mindedness, evidence-based thinking, collegiality; tackle problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information and using it creatively.