FEM-10306 Ecology of Forests


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper1
Field practical10
Excursion (one day)20
Course coordinator(s)JP van der Sleen
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. J den Ouden
dr. ir. FJ Sterck
ir. EC Wilderink
L Goudzwaard
prof. dr. ir. GMJ Mohren
dr. UGW Sass-Klaassen
JP van der Sleen
Examiner(s)JP van der Sleen
dr. ir. J den Ouden

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety and ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

PEN-20503 Ecology II.

Continuation courses:

PEN-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 examination (65%);
- paper (20%);
- reports of excursions and practicals (15%).


Den Ouden, J.; B. Muys; Mohren, F.;Verheyen, K. (2010). Bosecologie en bosbeheer. ACCO, Leuven. 674p. ISBN 9033477823

Verplicht voor: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc5MO
Verplicht voor: WUFNCBSc Minor Forest and Nature Conservation5MO