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Global Forestry and Climate Change

7.5 ECTS Copenhagen Year 1 Semester 1 Compulsory Integrative/inter/transdisciplinary


The course will introduce students to theories and key concepts about how human activities impact forest carbon sinks through land use, land-use change and forestry activities. It will provide knowledge on assessing global deforestation and forest degradation and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the course will provide students with knowledge on international frameworks and mechanisms for monitoring and managing forest carbon, such as REDD+ and LULUCF and examples of how the international frameworks are implemented at national and local levels. Finally, the course will equip students with competencies and skills to critically analyse implications for biodiversity conservation and Indigenous peoples’ rights.

Recommended Academic Qualifications

The course is designed for students from a broad range of disciplines, i.e. forestry, biology, natural resources and environmental studies.

It is recommended to have Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree.

Learning outcomes

This course enables students to apply scientific knowledge and reasoning to critically assess and discuss climate change and forestry, emphasising monitoring mechanisms and policies. Students will explore key concepts in measuring, reporting and monitoring forest carbon (MRV), including advanced methods to assess changes in forest cover and forest loss and the quantification of related greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, students will be familiar with international policies and initiatives to halt deforestation and forest degradation, focusing on forests’ importance for climate change mitigation and implications for forest biodiversity, environmental services, and the potential role of local and Indigenous Peoples.

After completing the course, the students should be able to:


  • Understand key contemporary issues related to forestry and climate change, including deforestation and forest degradation, global forest policy and processes, and the potential and drawbacks of using market-based mechanisms to promote sustainable forest management and forest conservation.
  • Understand the role of forests in relation to cross-cutting issues such as gender, culture, and climate justice.


  • Apply principles, theories, and frameworks on climate change and forestry.
  • Apply basic approaches for carbon accounting and monitoring, including international tools to assess baselines, additionality, transaction costs, safeguards, and environmental services.
  • Transfer forest monitoring and governance methods to own research situation.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely about the topic in written format.


  • Reflect on the role of forests in climate change mitigation, focusing on forests as carbon sinks.
  • Include the Paris Agreement concerning forests in overall forest governance analyses.
  • Comprehend the mechanisms and governance of Reduced Emmissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects.
  • Identify and analyse voluntary and institutional initiatives for the reduction and compensation of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Recognise trends, critical aspects and limits of the voluntary carbon markets.
  • Account for the importance of shared and credible standards.
  • Recognise examples of best practices and limitations in forest carbon projects.
  • Understand the role of private investors and investments and the growing role of forest plantations.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is composed of alternating lectures, exercises and discussions. The lectures give an overview of theory and examples of practical application and serve to link different disciplines and spur critical discussions. Students will present scientific papers in class, and exercises will demonstrate the application of different methods and provide hands-on experience in carbon monitoring.


  • Preparation               89 hours
  • Lectures                     48 hours
  • E-learning                  24 hours
  • Exercises                    35 hours
  • Excursions                 10 hours
  • Total                             206 hours


Course materials include selected scientific articles, book chapters, lecture notes, video clips, and slideshows. These are all accessible through the course homepage.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written exam
  • Students are assessed through a teacher-commented assignment (essay).


  • Location : Copenhagen
  • ECTS granting : University of Copenhagen
  • Organisation : AgroParisTech, Czech University Of Life Sciences Prague, Technische Universität Dresden, University of Padua, University of Copenhagen


Ida Theilade