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Forest Policy, Governance and Conflicts: from Global to Local

8 ECTS Padua Year 2 Semester 3 Compulsory Humanities


The aim of the course is to identify and understand key interlinkages among forest policy, forest governance and conflict management and recognize the conflict situation as a creative opportunity in forest policy development and implementation, as well as in forest governance change and reform and the specific role of social innovation.

The course deepens the concept of forest policy and governance models intended to solve conflicts in link with deforestation, unsustainable management of forests and other global forest-related concerns. Central themes are:

  • forest policy and policy reforms at global, regional, national and local levels;
  • he international dialogue on forests and certification systems: the opposite views and examples of conflicts;
  • different visions on new modes of governance;
  • governance and ‘good governance’ concepts applied to forest sector;
  • how to explore forest governance: the analytical and the normative approach;
  • multi-actor, multi-sector and multi-level governance: the role of networks;
  • governance and public participation in conflicting situations, negotiation procedures and participatory approaches/tools;
  • sustainability, multifunctionality and cross-sectoral impact concepts as discussed for forest policy analysis;
  • various examples (case-studies from European, Mediterranean and tropical areas) related to: national forest policy formulation processes, forest certification initiatives, community-based forestry, forest-based rural development projects, human-nature conflicts (e.g. biodiversity protection-resources exploitation conflicts).

Learning outcomes

Competences to be acquired: (i) knowledge about dynamical relationships among territory, actors, resources; knowledge about forest resources rights and institutional assets; knowledge about links between forest land use, forest policy, forest governance and conflicts; (ii) knowledge about new modes of governance and participation in various (not only conflicting) situations related to forest resources management; (iii) knowledge about basic concepts and theoretical approaches on theory of changes, forest policy and forest policy reforms, negotiation and conflict management; (iv) ability to evaluate power relationships and analyze effectiveness of forest policy and governance tools in changing rural populations’ assets, in improving adaptation strategies, in supporting local development, etc.; (v) ability in recognizing and using different approaches to forest governance analysis and assessment at various level (global, national, local).
Focus on European and low-income countries.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include:

–   frontal and online lessons with case-study analysis;

–   classroom and online exercises (workshops in small groups of students, oral presentations based on power point and plenary discussions);

  • specialized seminars on specific topics with the participation of external experts;
  • home assignments (few short exercises, papers reading;
  • field trip.

In the e-learning Moodle platform of the School teaching materials used in class and additional readings and media will be made available.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written assignment, Written exam, Oral presentation
  • The students are required to deal with 3 types of compulsory tasks during the course:

    1. oral presentation and discussions of slides on selected scientific papers and/or assigned topics related to specific course contents;
    2. assigned exercises, classroom role play and home assignments (e.g., a short written report on the observations made during the planned field trip);
    3. final oral and written examinations based on open-ended questions and discussion with the teacher.

    Activities 1 and 2 might take place in working groups. Activity 3 is strictly individual.

    The 3 types of compulsory tasks required to the students during the course will count for different percentages on the final mark:

    • oral presentations, assigned exercises and tasks, discussions and (possible) role play and home assignments will count for 50% on the final mark;
    • final examination will count for 50% on the final mark.

    Students will be evaluated on the basis of their active participation into the course (level of lessons attendance, quality of questions and comments, originality of topics brought to discussion, etc.), their personal capacity in terms of new knowledge and skills acquired, capacity in terms of critical analysis, clearness and accuracy in writing/presenting (slides, exercises, home assignments, oral answers to open-ended questions and discussion with the teacher).


  • Location : Padua
  • ECTS granting : University of Padua
  • Organisation : University of Padua



Laura Secco