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Climatic and Ecological Modelling for Adaptive Forest Applications online course

This online course introduces climatic and ecological modelling tools and practical applications of models in forest and ecological resource management. See learning resources and taster videos!
topographical map of a forest
  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 15 hours total
  • Learning product:Online course
  • Sector: natural resources management, forestry
  • Language:English
  • Certificate available: microcredential program


Climate change is a major threat to the capacity of forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic and social services. Climate modelling tools for forest and ecological applications are becoming increasingly available for forest managers and local authorities to understand the potential effects of climate change and to develop regionally specific adaptation and mitigation strategies. It is crucial to nurture future professionals with the knowledge and skills to use new modelling tools and interpret model predictions in forest and ecological planning and management practices and develop adaptive strategies to maintain and improve the resilience and productivity of forest ecosystems under a rapidly changing climate.

This online course will introduce various climatic and ecological modelling tools and guide the students to practical applications of scale-free climate models and niche-based ecological models in forest and ecological (such as birds, fish and animals) resource management to increase the resilience and viability of forest ecosystems.

The learning is supported by readings, videos and live, interactive online sessions. Participants are encouraged to share their own knowledge and expertise in group-based discussion forums.

The Climatic & Ecological Modelling for Adaptive Forest Applications course material is available using the module links below for self-learning but if you wish to attend a facilitated online course please find details here.

Institutional background and trainers

“Climatic & Ecological Modelling for Adaptive Forest Applications” byDr. Tongli Wang, University of British Columbia, is licensed underCC BY-NC-ND 4.0 except where indicated. For external links to resources, review the rights and permission details.

This course is part of the Adaptation Learning Network: Inspiring Climate Action. This course is Creative Commons licensed. Please refer to the license information for rights and permission details. (For any external links to resources, please review the rights and permission details). Course content is shared on Pressbooks.

This course is also offered as a facilitated online course by the University of British Columbia. You can find registration information on the Adaptation Learning Network Portal.

Who would find this useful?

This course is designed for both public and private sector natural resources professionals who have demonstrated an interest and need for professional training and development in the area of climate change science, assessing the vulnerability of their land base and management systems, adaptation development, planning, and implementation.

Training Material

Module I. Introduction to Climate Change and Its Impacts on Forest Ecosystems

This module covers understanding of weather and climate, observed climate, climate projections and introduces mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Also impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems.

Module II. Introduction to Climatic and Ecological Models

This module provides an introduction to climate data and models and an introduction to ecological modelling.

Module III. Scale-free Climate Models and Their Applications

This module provides an introduction to models – ClimateNA and ClimateAP and the application of the ClimateNA/AP model to generate point and spatial climate data.

Module IV. Introduction to Niche-based Models

This module provides an introduction to niche-based ecological models; genecology functions and climate response functions

Module V. Model Applications

This module describes model interpretation and applications. Case studies of forest tree species and forest ecosystems are also described.

Module VI. Building Ecological Models in R

This module explains how to buildniche-based models, transfer functions and response functions using R.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will master skills and techniques:

  1. Use climatic models to generate spatial climate data
  2. Understand niche-based ecological models
  3. Interpret and apply model output to forest management practice

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