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BSc (Hons) - Forest Management

Are you driven to shape and save the future of our environment and tackle important critical issues? Learn from world-leading experts how to work with nature, not against it.

You will be based at the National School of Forestry at our inspirational Ambleside campus in the heart of the Lake District - the ideal location to explore and practice forest management.

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Accredited by:

Institute of Chartered Foresters

Forest Management cover image

Course Overview

You’ll study the management of woodlands and forests for commercial, recreation, and conservation. Your course will include modules on silviculture, woodland ecology, forest health, and forest management planning. Practical hands-on experience backs up theory and there will be an opportunity to go on an exchange to Humbolt State University in California.

You’ll be well placed for a career as a professional forest manager both at home and overseas. The degree has a vocational focus and it is expected that as part of your course, you will acquire practical experience in forestry through employment, placements, work experience, and volunteer opportunities.

On this course you will...

  • Develop skills and knowledge that is attractive to forestry employers.
  • Be taught by tutors who have worked as professional foresters and bring their first-hand experience to their teaching.
  • Be a part of small class sizes, meaning you’ll get personal tutor guidance and support throughout your studies.
  • Experience hands-on forestry frequently, thanks to our practical-focused approach.
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Course Structure

What you will learn

Accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the forestry sector's professional body, the course will teach you about the management of forests and woodlands for commercial, recreation, and conservation objectives.

Our National School of Forestry, based in the iconic Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ideal place to explore the science and practice of managing forests. You'll live and learn on our friendly Ambleside campus, the only university campus in a national park, and also home to the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas. You'll also benefit from the practical forestry management experience of our tutors and their high-quality applied research that informs our teaching, your learning and aims to bring about positive change in the natural world.

And, thanks to our excellent links with forestry organisations, we have a strong graduate employment record too.

Year one

In your first year, you’ll get a good grounding in the underlying principles and practices of forest and woodland management. Modules include those on forest measurement, silviculture, wood utilisation and processing and woodland ecology.

  • Introduction to Managing Trees, Woods and Forests
    Provides students with a basic understanding of the history of forestry in the UK and worldwide, the underlying principles of soil and plant science and an overview of current practice of sustainable forest management to protect biodiversity, produce timber and other benefits to human society.
  • Measuring Trees and Forests
    To learn to apply the standard methods of tree and woodland measurement used in British forestry.
  • Silviculture
    Aims to give a grounding in silvicultural practice, to include a thorough and applied understanding of plantation, conservation and amenity woodland establishment and maintenance.
  • Woodland Ecology
    Gives a broad introduction to ecology and ecological processes. Ecology, the study of interactions between organisms and with their environments, provides a theoretical and practical framework for managing and working with natural and semi-natural ecosystems, but also in managed landscapes.
  • Wood Utilisation and Processing
    You will get an understanding of the utilisation of wood as a raw material. During this module students will cover the biology of wood and how the properties of wood relate to their potential utilisation.
  • Forestry Fundamentals
    The aim of this module is to enable students to learn the key writing and presentation skills necessary to succeed in their studies and their future career.
  • Practical Forest Skills
    The aim of this module is to introduce you to a range of traditional and modern practical forestry skills. The safe and effective use of tools is central to the module with an emphasis on the planning and organisation of working sites.
Year two

In your second year, you’ll build on this foundation developing your skills further. For example, you’ll develop greater skills in geographical information systems, learn more about managing forest operations and you will be taught important new subjects, such as forest health, people and forests, and forest policy.

You will also be taught research methods to prepare you for your dissertation.

  • Geographic Information Systems
    The aim of this module is to provide students with a sound understanding of the theory and application of GIS in a manner relevant to their field of study and potential future employment.
  • Research Methods and Data Analysis
    You will be guided in developing your ability to evaluate a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods and the appropriate application required to measure, describe and discuss environmental and ecological systems, and the species that inhabit them.
  • Managing Forest Operations
    From harvesting to establishment and tree safety, the module will take students through the principles of good planning, the financial, legal and regulatory frameworks within which they will have to operate and the tools and skills required to implement and manage forest operations.
  • Forest Policy and Governance
    Throughout the module, students will develop the knowledge and skills required to manage modern, sustainable, multipurpose forestry within the constraints of national and international legislative and policy frameworks.
  • Forest Health and Protection
    The aim of this module is to enable students to identify, understand and manage the main biotic (pests and pathogens) and abiotic (nutrient and climate) factors that adversely affect trees and forests.
  • People & Forests
    Forests and woodlands in both the rural and urban environments have always played a wide and varied role for communities throughout our history, both as a physical resource to be exploited and also providing spaces for our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Year three

During your final year, you will write a full forest management plan, conduct research on a topic of your choice, develop a business idea and take several optional modules that align to your interests.

  • Forest Plan
    This module provides opportunity for students to engage in a systematic and integrated approach to objective-led forest management planning in accordance with the principles and criteria of sustainable forest management.
  • Dissertation
    You will develop objectives for a self-selected business; evaluate in a structured way the impacts upon a business and plan the resources requires. You will learn to apply a range of business tools and how to write and present a business plan.
  • Advanced Silviculture
    This module aims to develop further your understanding of silvicultural practices and their role in ensuring the productive and sustainable management of forests across a range of objectives in both temperate and tropical regions.
  • Business Skills
    You will develop objectives for a self-selected business; evaluate in a structured way the impacts upon a business and plan the resources requires. You will learn to apply a range of business tools and how to write and present a business plan.
  • Woodland Conservation (Optional)
    Comparing the concept of conservation to those of ecology and sustainability. Examining how British Romanticism inspired by the English Lake District landscape contributed to the start of the conservation movement alongside with developments in the USA.
  • Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing (Optional)
    The aim of this module is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to plan and implement projects using GIS and remote sensing to solve issues in the fields of conservation and natural resources management.
  • Climate Smart Forestry (Optional)
    To provide an overview of the causes and impacts of anthropogenic climate change, the adaptation strategies necessary and mitigation options available. To enable forest managers to critically evaluate the potential measures they could undertake to enable commercial plantations.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
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