Second year at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: Module 4

Broadleaves: Ecology, Nature Conservation, Silviculture

Course objectives: After the course the student should be able to: (i) Compare the Swedish broadleaved forest types in terms of species composition and site characteristics (unit 1). (ii) Assess the history and dynamics of natural and managed broadleaved forests (unit 1). (iii) Examine principles for traditional and nature-based silviculture in broadleaved forests (unit 2.) (iv) Evaluate alternative measures to restore broadleaved forest from other land-uses (unit 2). (v) Examine the main patterns of biodiversity in broadleaved forests (unit 3). (vi) Demonstrate management and restoration measures for conservation of biodiversity in broadleaved forests at different spatial scales (unit 3).(vii) Summarise and evaluate scientific papers concerning management and conservation of broadleaved forests (all units). (viii) Evaluate the complex management of broadleaved forest for multiple societal goals (all units)

Course contents: The course is divided into three main units:
1. Vegetation ecology and Forest dynamics
The ecology of the south Swedish broadleaved forests is treated with a focus on dendrology, forest history, forest succession and vegetation ecology. Recent developments in diseases on broadleaves and their ecological implications will also be discussed. A study trip to Bialowieza National Park in eastern Poland provides a valuable link between theory and conservation practice and presents the flagship of the European lowland broadleaved forest.
2. Silviculture and Forest restoration
Various aspects of managing the major broadleaved species (mainly oak and beech) are considered, focusing on measures that promote high timber quality and are economically sustainable. Traditional silvicultural systems (e.g. shelterwood) are compared with selection approaches. Concepts of forest restoration are discussed with an emphasis on stand conversion from spruce to broadleaved forest.
3. Biodiversity and Conservation
Patterns of diversity are studied for the major species groups in broadleaved forests with a focus on species depending on old-growth structures. The impact of forest management on biodiversity is analysed in detail and alternative conservation concepts are evaluated. Reserve management and active habitat restoration is studied during several field trips. The complex management of broadleaved forest for multiple societal goals is discussed with a focus on possible trade-offs between nature conservation and wood production.


Scheduled activities




approx. 65

Examination and evaluation

approx. 10

Exercises and seminars

approx. 40



approx. 70


Individual studies, not scheduled

Individual and group assignments

approx. 90


Literature studies (a part of the course literature is studied in the assignments)

approx. 125


approx 400

Requirements for examination: Assessment is based on performance in written examinations (mid-course and final), presentation of group assignments and individual assignments. Requirements for examination; Successful completion of the course requires passes in the examinations, and satisfactory performance in the class and home assignments and presentations.