Forests and Livelihoods in Developing Countries

Explore how people in developing countries depend on forests for medicines, wild foods, energy, livelihoods, and well-being.

About The Course

This interdisciplinary course explores the complex interactions between poverty, rural livelihoods, and forest resources in developing countries.  We will consider some of the dynamics that occur when impoverished people use forests in their daily lives. We will talk about the role of forests for medicines and wild foods, as sources of fuelwood and charcoal for energy, and other pressing topics that confront sustainable forest management such as the impacts of human health and diseases on forests. The course consists of modules on forests and livelihoods in developing countries, agroforestry, human health in forested environments, protected areas and their sustainability, small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs), and  community forestry. Three cross-cutting themes (gender, tenure and forest rights, and climate change) will span all of the modules. This course will engage you in developing a deeper understanding of the fundamental importance of forest resources in the lives and livelihoods of people in developing countries. Participants from tropical and developing countries may have lived much of what we will talk about in this course, and your experiences will deepen our understanding of the course material. Participants not from a developing country will gain a much better appreciation for the multitude of ways that people in developing countries use forest resources. Weekly videos will be complemented by readings, quizzes, and links to online resources to help you explore current scholarship in this domain. A discussion forum will enable you to delve more deeply into these issues with other participants and the course staff. The themes covered in this MOOC are important to anyone working in international forestry.

Recommended Background

None, though background knowledge in forestry, international development, and environmental issues will be beneficial.