Helsinki Summer School

Program Description


Helsinki Summer School

PLEASE NOTE! This course was held in 2015, new courses will be arranged in 2017

Target students

This course examines forestry from an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The focus will be on ecosystem services that forests provide, and the students should therefore have at least a basic understanding of ecosystem functions. Advanced Master’s or Doctoral degree students are warmly invited on this course as are young professionals in a field related to the topics covered.


This course seeks to enhance our understanding of forest ecosystem services, not least as the future of global forest resources is a daily concern in international policy debate and processes.

International and national initiatives need to be strengthened to sustain the economic potential of forest landscapes under increasing pressure from population growth. In addition, new challenges such as adaptation to uncertain climatic conditions, competing land uses as well as concerns about food security and biofuels are examples of major problems faced every day by forest-dependent communities and decision makers worldwide. All these drivers of change call for integrated and multidisciplinary approaches to incorporate landscape management in a way that both encourages immediate innovative action and sets targets for finding sustainable solutions. Forests and industrial plantations have become an important part of the global natural resource puzzle. A broader framework should thus include flexible management schemes to allow for effective participation of local communities, and the establishment of cost-efficient production systems (e.g. plantations, agroforestry), which can generate an adequate flow of commercial products, ecosystems services and livelihood improvements.

For a functional framework, however, international and national initiatives for good governance, transparency, efficiency and equity must be integrated into the planning process. It is the complex web of interrelated issues that this course brings to the fore.

Learning objectives

The objective of this intensive course is to provide learning tools and methods to analyse and identify opportunities for and threats to forest landscapes, which raise multiple expectations and perform a range of functions.

Course format and teaching methods

The course consists of:

  • 1. a pre-course examination
  • 2. lectures and reflection exercises on the lectures
  • 3. excursions/field trips
  • 4. group work
  • 5. public seminar, and
  • 6. informal programme such as games, documentaries and drama sessions.

The learning method is interactive, focusing on discussion and creative participation.

Teachers and lecturers

The course is led by Prof. Markku Kanninen, University of Helsinki and Viikki Tropical Resources Institute and is co-ordinated by Mr. Saska Lohi.

The teaching will be given by the various experts from different organisations in the public, private and civil sectors.

Means and criteria of assessment

  • a. Pre-exam: 20% of final score
  • b. Reflection exercise: 40% of final score
  • c. Group report and presentation: 40% of final score
  • d. Excursion to Finnish institutions: no effect on final score
  • e. Exercises: no effect on final score.

Additional information:

a. All assignments listed on the course requirements are compulsory for all students. In order to pass the course, receive the ECTS and the final diploma, students must successfully complete all assignments and activities; b. If students miss a class, they must write an essay on the same subject for every missed lecture, exercise session or institutional visit. This written essay consists of one full A4 page (12-size font, 1.5 space, Times New Roman, about 600 words).

Grading scale:

  • 5 = excellent
  • 4 = very good
  • 3 = good
  • 2 = average
  • 1 = poor
  • 0 = fail.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 22, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
17 days
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
End date Aug. 18, 2017
Duration 17 days
Price Request Info