FEM-10306 Ecology of Forests


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
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 basic ecological principles of sustainable forest management.
During the course you will prepare a paper dealing with a specific issue related to the course. In several field excursions and practical, theoretical concepts will be demonstrated in practice. Finally, you will be asked to go out into the forest by yourself, and make an illustration of one of the topics from the course. The course is concluded by a written exam.

Learning outcomes:

After the course, students are expected to be able to:
- identify the basic anatomical and morphological elements of trees;
- describe the physiological basis of tree growth, and explain how this is affected by the biotic and a-biotic environment;
- describe the most important tree species and forest types of northwestern Europe;
- make an in-depth analysis of a course related subject, and report this in writing in a well-structured, comprehensive and scientific manner;
- apply ecological principles to the analysis of sustainable forest management systems.


- 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.

Compulsory for: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc4WD
Compulsory for: WUFNCBSc Minor Forest and Nature Conservation4WD