1. Forest Ecology and Biodiversity
World forest resources, Forest types of India and Kerala. Basic concepts of ecology and ecosystems, forest community structure, vegetation dynamics — succession, retrogression, pioneer and climax communities. Fauna and flora in forests, animal and plant biodiversity in relation to ecological niches, endemism, rarity of species, conservation of biodiversity.
Site factors, reproduction methods, pure and mixed stands, even and uneven aged stands, site quality, stand density indexes, silvicultural characteristics of stands and trees, stand development, biology of stand growth. Regeneration techniques. Sowing vs. planting, forest nurseries. Site preparation. Tending and intermediate cutting. Methods and application of thinning. Silvicultural systems. Silviculture of trees. Plantation forestry in India. Choice of species. Fertilization in plantations. Clonal plantations.
3. Agroforestry and Social Forestry
Tropical deforestation, rising demands of füelwood, fodder and timber. Classification of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry for wasteland development, woodlots and biofuel plantations. Agroforestry for soil and water conservation. Micro-site enrichment by trees. Adverse effects of trees on soils. Choice of species in agroforestry. Crown and root architecture, tree management – thinning, lopping, pollarding, pruning. Social forestry. Multipurpose trees. Agroforestry and social forestry for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Phytoremediation.
4. Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management
Hydrological cycle. Energy and water balance equations. Hydrological processes. Paired watersheds. Surface water, run off and hydrograph. Soil water energy concept, movement, availability. Watershed management. Water harvesting. Forest treatment and water yield.