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Course content

Can the world’s forests be managed sustainably? This one-year course will develop your understanding of forest ecosystems and their role in the global environment, and of the goods and services that forests can provide.

The MSc Environmental Forestry course has been running for more than 25 years, and its graduates are now working in forestry all over the world. We have close links with forestry and environmental organisations in the UK and overseas, and staff of these organisations make regular contributions to the course. Lectures, seminars and independent learning are supported by an active programme of field practicals, forest visits and a week-long study tour, during which students discuss management and policy issues with forestry professionals.

CThis course is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and gives partial fulfilment of Professional Membership Entry.

Course Content

The programme has two parts.

Part 1: runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a study tour, and a research planning module component. The taught part of the course is based on lectures, seminars, practicals and directed study, allowing an opportunity to examine a broad range of topics in detail and develop personal skills and expertise. A range of different assessment methods are used including reports, presentations, practical write-ups and online and written exams.

Part 1 must be completed successfully before proceeding to Part 2, the dissertation phase.

Part 2: June to September is set aside for production of a dissertation on a topic selected by the student in consultation with their academic supervisor. Dissertations can be in almost any aspect of forestry that interests you; they can have a temperate or tropical focus, and can include field work either locally, elsewhere in the UK, or overseas.

Part 1 Subjects:

Forest Resources & Assessment: This module provides an overview of the status of world forests, trends and causes of deforestation and degradation, consequences for ecosystem services, and policy responses. It then addresses the practical approaches required to assess the ecological condition of forests, which is necessary to inform appropriate forest management and conservation to meet these challenges.

Silviculture: The purpose of the module is to develop students’ understanding of the silviculture of single trees and trees in complex systems. This module develops an understanding of the principles and practice of silviculture, the place of silviculture in the sustainable cultivation of trees, and the role it plays in delivering ecosystem services from trees, woodlands and forests. We explore the unique characteristics of forest soils and of soil physical, chemical and biological properties, how these influence site productivity and how these are influenced by land management.

Natural Resource Management: gives students a theoretical understanding of the systems approach to managing natural resources, as well as a practical grounding in the ways in which natural resource managers can draw on different kinds of knowledge sources.

Management Planning: This module develops an understanding of the management planning process, and its use in the sustainable management of rural resources. Students develop management plans for real-world forestry situations which involves setting management objectives, considering landscape features, devising appropriate monitoring and evaluation techniques and quantifying the costs of management operations.

Research Planning and Communication: This module seeks to develop students’ understanding of the role of science and the scientific process in formulating and addressing context relevant questions, and communicating scientific output to different audiences. During the course of the module, students will devise, conduct and write up a policy-relevant scientific study.

Study Tour: This module gives students the opportunity to see how the principles of natural resource management that are discussed in earlier parts of their course are put into practice. During visits to areas which are managed for a range of objectives (details vary between courses and from year to year) students meet resource managers working on behalf of different stakeholders and engage in discussion with them.

Part 2:

Dissertation: Execution and written presentation of a suitable scientific project which is devised by the student and an individual academic supervisor and validated by the Programme Director. A suitable project entails a worthwhile scientific question, of direct relevance to the degree programme being undertaken, established within the context of current knowledge and concepts that allows the formulation and testing of one or more hypotheses. This normally involves up to 5 months full-time work, typically including: 2-3 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 1-2 months for data analysis; and 1-2 months for writing-up.

Professional Accreditation

This degree is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) and qualifies students for associate membership.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Environmental Forestry Modules page.

Careers and Employability

Against a sometimes gloomy economic backdrop, natural resource management, and forest management in particular, is becoming more important, with the result that there is a generally acknowledged skills shortage in the forestry profession. The speed with which our graduates gain employment reflects this. Graduates from this course have progressed on to relevant employment in public sector organisations, NGOs and academic institutions both in the EU and overseas. This MSc course has also formed a stepping stone in post-graduate research and has produced high calibre research scientists in the fields of tree biology, forest science, and natural resource management.

“Through the Bangor Environmental Forestry Masters degree, I gained experience working in Natural Resources both domestically and overseas. This degree was the ideal springboard to working and studying for my PhD.” Wojciech Waliszewski, EF Graduate


Visit the Environmental Forestry - MSc page on the Bangor University website for more details!

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