Courses and Timeline

Courses and Timeline

The MIF degree is a 3-term course-based program consisting of 31 credits:

  • 28 credits of required courses (or approved alternates*),
  • a set of professional development skills workshops,
  • and a 3-credit internship or project.

The program will be intensive and require full-time attendance at the UBC-Vancouver campus for 8 months (Sept – April). MIF students are provided with a laptop computer for the duration of the program.

* as approved by the Program Director.

Timeline to Completion

Degree requirements are completed in 10 months. MIF students are expected to arrive and be settled in Vancouver at the beginning of September to begin the program orientation.

Courses will run from the start of September to the end of the following April. All courses are taught in module format. There will be a short holiday break in December. See program structure below for more information.

Internships and/or Projects will be completed in May and June.

Professional development workshops will be completed throughout the year, usually on Fridays. Workshops offered may include: conflict resolution, project management and logframes, leadership skills, structured decision making, technical writing, professional social networking, and oral presentation skills.

Course Descriptions

Module 1

Explore social-ecological factors constraining the conservation of forests and protected areas. Understanding the critical links between tropical landscapes and livelihoods in a conservation and development context. Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to understand the link between conservation and development and explore trade-offs between poverty alleviation, human health, forest-related diseases, climate change, etc. The concept of landscape approaches and the use of various visualization techniques will be emphasized. Special attention will be given to different visions and perceptions of livelihoods amongst different people in tropical and sub-tropical countries, where the majority of forest-dependent people live. Examples will be given through hands-on experience with a variety of participatory approaches to livelihood studies. Case studies from Asia, Africa and Latin America will be discussed. Issues discussed will include multi-stakeholder processes, theories of change, actor network analysis etc.

Module 2

An introduction to the history and evolution of social, community and Indigenous forestry and their influence on and engagements with mainstream institutions, including industrial forestry. Students will learn about and analyze Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ (IPLC) relationships with customary, ancestral and/or local territories and the cultural and spiritual values that have persisted and evolved over the centuries. We will review community forestry case studies against the elements of good governance at different scales. Students will also consider variations of community forestry, including Joint Forest Management (JFM) and co-operatives. Students will also explore the growing recognition of and safeguards for community forestry, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) at sub-national (provincial or state), national and international levels.

Students will gain understanding and appreciation of the local-to-international, and vice versa, processes for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) to forests and forest products, including in voluntary, independent, third-party forest certification schemes. Each student will apply the lessons learned to required writing assignments, including their analysis of one case study of community forestry. The aim is to stimulate creative thinking about the evolution and promise of community forestry, and the networks of governmental and non-governmental institutions, including commercial operations, with which they interact globally. This course will enable students to evaluate the constraints faced by community forestry, and the challenges, barriers and opportunities opened for them by (re)engagement in forestry practices and commercially-profitable forestry.

Natural resource planning has traditionally focused on a single sector – forests are primarily managed for sustainable timber, ecosystem services (e.g., clean water, carbon storage, biodiversity) and other economic products; agricultural lands are managed for crop yields; freshwater aquatic systems are managed for water provision and fisheries. But, landscapes are multifunctional and interactions between systems are common; for example, the greatest cause of deforestation globally is clearance for agriculture. Yet many rural people depend simultaneously on the interaction between forests and agriculture for their livelihoods, health, food security and nutrition. Indeed much of the world’s food originates in complex and diverse landscape mosaics. Managing forestry, agriculture, and livelihoods in an integrated fashion is thus critical.

Taking into account the contribution of forests and other systems, this course will be underpinned by an integrated landscape approach to natural resources planning and will pay close reference to global policy processes such as the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This approach represents a broad systems framework that can integrate agriculture, the natural environment, different livelihood systems, and social interactions towards a global sustainable development strategy.

Module 3

Learn and apply basic economic principles across a wide range of forest-based good and environmental services, and learn about cutting-edge environmental finance topics.

Provides a thorough understanding of forest-based businesses and business processes by reviewing the principles of management, financial and marketing management that are most applicable to forest-based enterprises.

Module 4

Exploring the interconnected nature of political, social and economic systems as they relate to natural resources. The course will focus on recent developments in forest governance and the issues that they raise in terms of rights to resources, sustainability and economic performance. The numerous international initiatives to develop better forest governance models will be debated and their merits assessed. The concept of linked social-ecological systems will be examined. Students will undertake assignments on significant issues and publications and present them to the class.

Examine contemporary forestry issues, the principles of international diplomacy and the principles of negotiating international agreements and conventions related to forests as well as international organizations addressing forestry issues.

Throughout

Presents contemporary and emerging topics relevant to international forestry. Format will vary throughout the year in order to capitalize on the schedules of international visitors to UBC, and will include a panel presentation, lectures and professional development seminars.

Summer Term

In close collaboration with the course instructor, UBC faculty, and our global contacts, each student will work to secure and complete an internship placement or project aligned with their career goals and aspirations. Students work on personalized professional placement plans (4Ps) during Winter Session Term 1, with the goal of securing an internship placement or finalizing their project topic early in Winter Session Term 2. Field-based placements or projects will last ~6-12 weeks and can be in Canada or international

Program Structure

MIF graphic 2018
Note: course and workshop dates subject to minor change.