Forest Biodiversity and Biotechnology

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

General knowledge of plant physiology and Plant Development.

Teaching Methods

Three-week intensive UC with theoretical and practical classes. During the UC students will have theoretical classes in which the basic concepts about trees and forests will be provided. In the practical classes students will perform experiments about tree physiology, biotechnology and ecology. They will be grouped (3 – 4) and will develop a work related with a particular subject. A  report about the experiments will be presented and discussed. Visits to companies of the forest sector and forestd will be done to introduce students to the practical problems of the forest sector.

Learning Outcomes

During this UC students will learn concepts and methods used in the study of forests. The main types of Portuguese and world forests, includind riparian ecosystems, will be characterized. The anatomic and physiology of trees will be analysed. Main threats to forest ecossystems as well as the economic, social and environmental role of forests will be discussed. Students must acquire skills and knowledge which will able them to understand the functioning of forest ecosystems and to manage the basic principles of forest resources. The following capacities must be acquired:

1. Understanding capacity: to be able to understand concepts related with forestry and to relate them with practical applications of areas like agriculture and plant biotechnology

2. Ability to solve practical problems: to apply the concepts and methods learnt on this course to solve practical issues.

3. Communication: be able to analyse scientific information and to transmit it in a clear and concise way

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction

  1.1Trees and forests

  1.2 Tree measurements

  1.3 Types of trees

  1.4 Tree life cycle

2. Forest distribution

  2.1 Forest types

  2.2 Main country producers of forest products and evolution of commercial trade

3. Portuguese forests

  3.1 Forest inventories

  3.2 Distribution of the main types of forests in Portugal

  3.3 Riparian ecosystems - ecology, conservation and management

4. Forest products and services

  4.1 Main forest products

  4.2 Cork production

  4.3 Paper and pulp production

  4.4 Biomass and biofuels

  4.5 Other products

  4.6 Forests, carbon fixation and climatic changes

5. Forest breeding

  5.1 Conventional breeding and biotechnology

  5.2 Importance of molecular characterisation

  5.3 Drawbacks in tree breeding: heterozigosity and long life cycles

6. Forest conservation and main threats

  6.1 Main types of threats

  6.2 Forest conservation

  6.3 Legislation and certification

Head Lecturer(s)

Jorge Manuel Pataca Leal Canhoto

Assessment Methods

Laboratory work or Field work: 40.0%
Exam: 60.0%


Ahuja, M. R. & Ramawat, K. G. 2014. Biotechnology and Biodiversity. Springer, Berlin.

Gardner, T. 2012. Monitoring Forest Biodiversity. Earthscan, New York.

Johnson, O. 2006. Collins Tree Guide. Harper Collins Publishers, London

Naiman, R. J., Décamps, H. & McClain, E., 2005. Riparia. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Ramawat, K. G., Mérillon, J.-M. & Ahuja, M. R. 2014. Tree Biotechnology. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (artigos disponíveis on line)

Artigos científicos disponíveis online em revistas da especialidade