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Decision Oriented Data Acquisition Strategies for Analysis of Sustainable Forestry

NOVA PhD course of 3 ECTS, organised by Terje Gobakken, NMBU.
Dates and location: 23-27 May 2016 in Aas, Norway.

Course Description
The course will provide a general and practical view as well as a deeper scientific understanding of challenges related to data acquisition, data use and decision support systems where the uncertainty and value of information in a decision-oriented cost-benefit concept will be focused. The multi-disciplinary aspects of forest management planning will be addressed.

The course will focus on studying decision-oriented data acquisition strategies for analysis of a sustainable forestry, i.e. to follow the information flow from the inventory to the final managerial decision.

The course includes elements from forest management planning, forest inventory, forest production, and forest economics, and will be based on statistical methods as well as theoretical and empirical modelling approaches.

Key words: data requirements, monetary value of information, inventory methods and sampling theory, models describing forest dynamics, errors and uncertainty, and decisions-support systems applicable in forest management planning.

Programme Outline

  • Pre-campus assignments including reading of course portifolio.
  • Week 21:
    • 23 May
      • Course introduction
      • Decision-making in forestry
      • Overview of data acquisition techniques
      • Data requirements and the value of information in decision-making
      • Inventory and planning procedures in Norway
    • 24 May
      • Introduction to sampling
      • Planning sampling surveys
      • Important forestry applications in sampling
      • Remote sensing
      • Inventory and planning procedures in Sweden
    • 25 May
      • Error sources in field and remotely sensed data
      • Comparing photo interpretation and laser-scanning by means of cost-plus-loss analyses
      • Inventory and planning procedures in Finland
    • 26 May
      • Exercises strategic planning
      • Effects of errors on decisions
    • 27 May
      • Presenting results from exercises and discussion
      • Course round up, report supervision, evaluations and closing
  • Post-campus assignment and preparing reports for course evaluation

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the framework and steps in forest management planning
  • Know important data acquisition theory related to sampling and data acquisition
  • Understand the concept of decision-oriented inventory planning and monetary value of information (VOI)
  • Know important aspects of similarities and differences in forest management planning in the Nordic countries


  • Describe and quantify errors in forest inventories
  • Apply relevant decision-support systems in forest management planning
  • Apply analyses quantifying VOI for decision-making in forestry


  • Synthesize knowledge and skills related to VOI in forest management planning
  • Apply planning of forest inventories with focus on cost-benefit in a decision-oriented framework

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments

  • Pre-campus assignment: A written summary related to each participant’s Ph.D project.
  • Post-campus assignment: A written essay related to the course content.

Evaluation Elements

  • Approval of the written summary related to each participant’s Ph.D project.
  • Approval of exercises.
  • Approval of a written essay related to the course content.

Pedagogical Approach
The course includes lectures, data exercises, group work, oral presentations and writing of an essay. Lectures will be given by leading scientist from the Nordic countries. Relevant literature according to different subjects will be selected and sent to the participants prior to the course.

Estimated Workload

  • 20 hours seminar
  • 20 hours lecture
  • 50 hours independent work

Prerequisite Knowledge
Enrolled as a Ph.D student in forest management planning, forest inventory, silviculture, forest economics or related subjects.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Practical Information

  • Accommodation will be at the SiÅs student residences at Ås. Accommodation costs are NOK 450 per night (about EUR 50).
  • For non-NOVA and non-BOVA students, there is a course fee of EUR 200.
Published 7. August 2015 - 8:27 - Updated 2. August 2016 - 12:36

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