78440 - Forest planning

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Planning and management of agro-territorial, forest and landscape (cod. 8532)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student will have acquired a basic understanding of forest planning, at the enterprise and landscape scale, and will know the theoretical basis and practical tools for (i) the assessment of land suitability for key forest services (production, protection, aesthetic, environmental) and (ii) the development of the Forest Management Plan. At the end of the course, the student is able to use the GIS tools required for land evaluation and forest planning; can simulate the drafting of a Forest Management Plan through the application of the Informatic System for Forest Planning.

Course contents

Background knowledge. The student must have an adequate background knowledge in statistics and basic knowledge and practical skills in geomatics (GIS) and forest mensuration; if not already available, such a background can be acquired from the optional course 57929 (Laboratorio di geomatica) and course 27534 (Inventari forestali e telerilevamento).

Unit 1: Introduction (4 hrs)

1.1 Resource assessment and resource planning in forest landscapes: aims and historical development, general principles (2 hrs)

1.2 Forest planning in Italian national and regional legislation (2 hrs)

Unit 2: Forest planning at national and regional level (6 hrs)

2.1 EU Forest Strategy and National Forest Strategy (1 hr)

2.2 The Regional Forest Plan (1 hrs)

2.3 Forests in Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027 (1 hr)

2.4 Practicals: simulation of CAP funding request (2 hrs)

2.5 Forest technical regulations (1 hr)

Unit 3: Landscape-level forest planning (7 hrs)

3.1 Forest planning in Natural Parks (2 hrs)

3.2 Planning forests in Natura 2000 sites (1 hr)

3.3 Practicals: Environmental impact assessment (EIA) simulation (2 hrs)

3.4 Territorial forest plans (2 hrs)

Unit 4: Forest management plans (30 hrs)

4.1 Forest management plans: aims and general characteristics (1 hr)

4.2 Forest management plans in Italy and in Emilia Romagna: legislation and current state (1 hr)

4.3 Planning for forest production: fundamentals of growth & yield modeling; the regulated forest, volume control methods (4 hrs)

4.4 Planning for forest recreation: principles of landscape planning; planning for other forest functions (2 hrs)

4.5 Drafting a forest management plan: the Information System for Forest Planning (4 hrs)

4.6 Practicals (in the field): surveying the forest for a management plan, discussion with professional and forest managers (10 hrs)

4.7 Practicals (with ProgettoBosco software): applying the Information System for Forest Planning (5 hrs)

4.8 Forest management plans: assessing the cost of forest operations (2 hrs)

4.9 Plantation cultivation and management plans (1 hr)

Unit 5: Suitability analysis of agricultural and forest landscapes (11 hrs)

5.1 Multicriteria analysis in resource planning with single and multiple objectives (WLC, MOLA,…) (4 hrs)

5.2 Practicals (with QGIS and GRASS software): forest landscape analysis, single layers and cross-tabulation (3 hrs)

5.3 Practicals (with QGIS software): land suitability analysis by Boolean sieving for the identification of prevailing forest function (2 hrs)

5.4 Practicals (with QGIS software): land suitability analysis by factor analysis (WLC, minimal membership) for the identification of prevailing forest function (2 hrs)

Unit 6: Forest Certification (2 hrs)

6.1 Forest certification (1 hr)

6.2 EU Timber Regulation ad FLEGT Regulation (1 hr)


Considering the wide range of topics addressed, the course can be studied on slides and material provided by the lecturer on the Virtuale platform (https://virtuale.unibo.it). For further reading:

Bettinger P, Boston K, Siry JP, Grebner DL (2009) Forest Management and Planning. Academic Press, San Diego.

Malczewski J, Rinner C (2015) Multicriteria Decision Analysis in Geographic Information Science. Springer.

Corona P., Barbati A., Ferrari B., Portoghesi L. (2011) Pianificazione ecologica dei sistemi forestali. Ed. Compagnia delle Foreste, Arezzo

La Marca O., La Marca A. (2012) Appunti di Progettazione Forestale. Patron Editore, Bologna

Teaching methods

The course is largely based on lectures, integrated by a large number of practicals under the direct guide of the lecturer, as detailed in the syllabus.

Lectures will be integrated with meetings with professionals about the topics covered in the course.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme.

Assessment methods

The knowledge and proficiency in the subject are assessed through a final oral exam. The assessment is based on the understanding demonstrated by the individual student, on the discussion of practicals and and on the quality of his presentation. The exam lasts approximatively 45 minutes.

Teaching tools

Practicals in computer room, with PCs available for each student and freeware software (QGIS, GRASS, ProgettoBosco). Instrumentation for forest mensuration during the field practicals. Slides for all lectures are made available beforehand to the students through the Virtuale portal (virtuale.unibo.it).

Office hours

See the website of Federico Magnani


Quality education Responsible consumption and production Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.