FEM-10306 Ecology of Forests


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper1
Practical intensively supervised28
Field Practical24
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. J den Ouden
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. J den Ouden
prof. dr. ir. GMJ Mohren
dr. ir. FJ Sterck
dr. UGW Sass-Klaassen
ir. EC Wilderink
L Goudzwaard
Examiner(s)dr. ir. J den Ouden

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

NCP-20503 Ecology II and LAD-10806 Soil and Water 1

Continuation courses:

NCP-10806 Forest and Nature Conservation I, FEM-22306 Forest Resources and Sustainable Management Systems


The course deals with the ecological functioning of trees and forests. Main emphasis will be put on the way trees grow, and how this is influenced by their environment. We will look at the basic anatomical, morphological and physiological features that determine tree growth and tree form. Then we will scale up to the level of groups of trees (stands), and investigate how stand structure and stand composition influences tree growth and form. These, in turn, influence the functioning of the forest in terms of biodiversity, wood production, amenity values, regional hydrology, etc.
Knowledge on tree and forest growth, combined with their relations with site conditions, serves as the starting point for sustainable management of the forest resources. In the course we will discuss the principles of sustainable forest management in relation to underlying ecological principles.
During the course you will prepare a paper dealing with a specific issue related to the course. In several field excursions and practicals, tree and forest characteristics will be demonstrated in practice. You will report on these excursions and practicals. The course is concluded by a written exam.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe the most important anatomical and physiological features of trees;
- explain how trees grow, and the consequences thereof for tree population dynamics and forest structure;
- explain how tree growth and forest development is affected by environmental variables, and how trees in turn affect site conditions;
- identify most important European tree species, and recognize their main characteristics;
- apply basic principle of forest inventory and reconstruction of tree growth;
- to correctly report in writing on a subject related to forest ecology.


- attendance of lectures;
- participation in field excursions;
- writing individual paper.


Written exam and paper.


Den Ouden, J., B. Muys, F. Mohren & K. Verheyen. 2010. Bosecologie en bosbeheer. ACCO, Leuven.

Verplicht voor: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc4WD
Verplicht voor: WUFNCBSc Minor Forest and Nature Conservation4WD