Course content: MSc Forest Management and the Environment.


Admission requirements 

Candidates must have either a three-year BSc + BScHons, or a four-year degree qualification in agricultural, forestry, or biological sciences. Admission is subject to the approval of the Forestry Chair in consultation with the Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies.

Programme composition 


Module name


Core modules (45 credits):

ENV 810

Environmental Paradigms 810


ENV 816

Environmental law 816


FOR 831

General introduction to forestry 831


Specialisation modules (15-45 credits): 1) Choose at least one module from the following

ENV 833

Trees in a multifunctional landscape 833


FOR 832

Forest resource use planning and management 832


FOR 833

Forest engineering 833


FOR 834

Wood science and forest product 834 


FOR 835

Forest ecology and management 835


FOR 836

Silviculture 836


LEK 831

Forest resource economics and policy 831


2) Choose elective modules to a maximum of 30 credits out of a total 90 taught module credits from the following:

ENS 822

Strategic environmental management 822 


ENS 823

Environment and land reform 823


ENV 822

International environmental management systems 822 (** additional costs involved)


OMS 881

Environmental change 881


Research Project (90 credits)

ENV 891

Research project 891


Total credits required: 180


Module contents


FOR 831 General introduction to forestry 831 (15 credits): What is forestry? Global forest resources. Natural forests and plantations in Southern Africa. Forestry systems (natural, multipurpose forests, plantation forestry, agroforestry). Sustainable forestry development policy and legislation. Silviculture and management of plantations. Forest certification. Effects of site and silviculture on wood quality. Forest harvesting, utilisation and forest wood products. Non-timber forest products of natural and plantation forests. Forests and woodlands management (forest planning; forest mensuration, growth and yield estimates and regulation). Environmental management of natural and plantation forests. Forestry research. Human resource management in forestry. This module will also have a field practical expedition to introduce students to the field experience. 

LEK 831 Forest resource economics and policy 831 (15 credits): The economics of optimal management of cultivated and natural forests. Optimal rotation age and harvesting in timber production. Managing forests for their non-timber services. The multiple ecosystem services of forest and their contributions to human wellbeing. Economic valuation of the services of forest ecosystems. Forest resource rents and their capture and distribution under different property rights regimes. Regulation and taxation of forest users. Designing logging concessions and forest exploitation policies. Forest resource accounting and optimal management of the resource rents. Communities and forests. Case study examples from Sub-Saharan Africa.  

FOR 832 Forest resource use planning and management 832 (15 credits): Forest planning. Forest mensuration. Growth and yield models and its application in growth and yield simulators. Quantitative silviculture. Yield regulation and forest economics. GIS and spatial analysis in forestry.  

FOR 833 Forest engineering 833 (15 credits) Forest road engineering. Forest road system management. Forest operations analysis. Production planning. Strategic and tactical planning techniques. Forest operations design. Forest transportation systems. Harvesting management. Logging mechanics.  

FOR 834 Wood science and forest products 834 (15 credits): Common characteristics of wood. Properties controlling the technical performance of wood. Natural growth phenomena affecting wood quality. Effect of site and silviculture on wood quality. The genetics of wood. Sawmilling and wood drying. Composite wood products. Deterioration of wood and wood products and methods of protection.  

ENV 833 Trees in a multifunctional landscape 833 (15 credits): Place and role of trees in multifunctional rural landscapes. Trees outside forests. Multipurpose trees. Trees and biodiversity, Trees and environmental services. Trees and sustainable development. Domesticated forests. Agroforestry (definition, classification, challenges and examples). Multiple use of forests and trees. Non-timber tree and forest products. Domestication of multipurpose trees. Forests and people. Trees and agricultural production systems (yield, interactions, synergy, competition, pests and diseases). Case-study examples from sub-Saharan Africa.  

FOR 835 Forest ecology and management 835 (15 credits): Structure and function of natural forests, species composition and diversity, disturbance processes and regimes, recovery (succession) concepts and theory, biodiversity in forest ecosystems, energy and nutrient flux in natural forest ecosystems. Resource assessment and planning. Silvicultural systems and management of natural forests (and woodlands), natural regeneration and forest rehabilitation management for sustainability of natural forest ecosystems: multiple use for timber and non-timber forest products, forest rehabilitation (invader plants, mining, degraded forests).  

FOR 836 Silviculture 836 (15 credits): Understand the development of modern plantation forestry. Commercial plantation species. Forest pests and diseases. Forestry site classification. Basis of forestry rotation length (economics, biological, wood quality). Effect of silvicultural practices on wood quality (managing wood quality). Forestry management regimes for different species and end products. Pros and cons of plantation forestry on the environment. Fire management. Propagation techniques for forestry systems and bio-renewable resources, ecological basis of silviculture and fire management systems.  

ENV 891 Research project 891 (90 credits) The research project will be field-based with students undertaking scientifically designed research work in forestry-related problems culminating in writing a thesis; and also a prepared publication for peer- reviewed journals.



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