Using this training guide

This Training Guide is a tool for teaching and learning about forest genetic resources issues in formal education or on-the-job training. Targeting non-specialists, it focuses on the links between sustainable forest management and forest genetic resources, covering areas such as conservation strategies, trees outside forest, seed supply chains, and forest management,  forest restoration and logging.

The Guide demonstrates the value of forest genetic resources for responsible decision-making in forest and natural resource management. It has a global geographic scope and covers issues of relevance to both conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources.

The Guide consists of short, science-based case studies arranged in thematic modules. Only two or three hours are required to teach each case study, making them easy to use within existing courses. The Guide is flexible and the case studies can be studied independently or grouped together. The teacher can tailor the use of the Guide to meet the specific needs in different institutional settings, such as:

  • Selecting one case study from a module as an introduction to a particular topic to strengthen an existing course in the forestry curriculum at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
  • Using all case studies of a module for a deeper study of that particular theme within a postgraduate programme
  • Using several modules for a more complete coverage of current issues in forest genetic resources, perhaps as a new course in the curriculum
  • Using individual case studies for on-the-job training of working professionals
  • Selecting a sample of case studies from different modules, depending on geographic interest, particular conservation issues, class size and availability of time
  • Learning about genetic resources issues in a different geographic region: although the case studies use data and examples from a tropical environment, extensive testing shows that they are suitable for students from tropical and non-tropical countries alike.

Each case study consists of:

  • The Case Study - introduces the exercise to be assigned to the students and presents information from research on the species concerned.
  • Teacher’s notes - give extensive tips on how to prepare and run the exercise and discuss the main learning points that students should be able to derive from the case study.
  • Additional background information - can be used to introduce the case study to the students. It includes a video (for most case studies) and a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Reference materials - includes PDF files of key publications relevant to the case study.

The case studies are designed as teacher-led, interactive class exercises. The exercises work best if students work in groups of 4-5 (no more than 6 per group), each of which is given a specific task. If class sizes are large, it is better to ask two groups to discuss the same task, rather than increasing the size of each group (if groups are larger than six, some students tend to not contribute to the discussion and work of their group).

It is best if the students have already read the case study before they start the exercise. This way valuable class time is not lost with students reading the paper during the class. So give the case study out in a previous class with instructions to read it before the next class. It perhaps goes without saying that it is vital that the teacher and any assistants are fully familiar with the whole text, the information in the teacher’s note and in key reference materials.

Each exercise lasts approximately 3 hours, broken down as follows:

  • Introduction: use the video and/or PowerPoint - approx. 30 minutes
  • Group work: students discuss the case study amongst themselves, responding to the specific points and developing their strategy. The teacher should be around to answer any queries the groups have. However it is not essential that all of the time is spent with the whole class together with the teacher. Once the teacher and groups are happy they understand the assignment and issues, they could meet, discuss and prepare the strategy outside of class time - 1.5 hours.
  • Presentations: each group presents its strategy verbally to the class (supported by main points written on large paper or in a PowerPoint presentation) - 10 minutes per presentation with 5 minutes more, with after each presentation for questions or comments by the rest of the class and the teacher.
  • Final discussion: led by the teacher allowing them to make general comments about what was good, what was missed, etc. - 10 minutes.