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Research Methods in Forest Sciences

Course number: 3513148; 3.5 ECTS credits; In Finnish: Metsätieteiden tutkimusmenetelmät



Why is this course important?

Course description

Developing studies in forest sciences requires an understanding on statistical methods as well as to be familiar with the most common methodological approaches, in order to comprehend as well as to develop research projects. Research Methods in Forest Sciences aims to review several methodological tools, statistical and GIS based, related to forest studies. The course was originally conceived for students of the MSc of European Forestry in 2005, in order to prepare them for the final thesis, and shortly after it was then open to all students of the School of Forest Sciences of the University of Eastern Finland. The course was originally designed by Blas Mola, together with Celeste Lacuna, under the leadership of Paavo Pelkonen. Several instructors have been involved along years, among others: Janet Chaseling, José Ramon González-Olabarria, Alejandro Ruete, Sanna Härkönen and Olalla Díaz-Yáñez. The present form of the course dates back to 2015, with Blas Mola as main instructor and coordinator, and different co-lecturers: Timo Tokola, Sanna Härkönen, Marina Peris and Mari Selkimäki; the course includes background lectures, R and GIS exercises and a final exam.


Learning outcomes

This is the wiki of the course Research Methods in Forest Sciences. The course consists of lectures and exercises as well as independent and collaborative work on learning tasks at this Wiki learning environment. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • interpret statistical results

  • become familiarized with typical research methods in forest science, eg. GIS tools 

  • to present statistical information in an academic way

  • understand experiments, the reasons behind the set-ups, and the most common sampling techniques

  • build simple statistical models, for the most common analysis performed in forest science

Contents: Applied statistics, research methodology, biometric and ecosystem modeling concepts, R statistics, GIS and remote sensing techniques.




NOTE: Due to the present situation due to the covid-19 pandemic, this course is under full renovation to accommodate online-teaching. Since it is the first year this is intended, this will take some time and several changes are expected. Do not expect a full updated version of this web pages before the official start of the course. Thanks in advance.

The course starts on 19 OCT 2020 10:15h (Finnish time, EET)

We fully understand that it is not easy for everybody to join all the meetings. We made this schedule looking for a compromise with the already established time table of this course at weboodi, to avoid any overlapping with other courses. For any question or individual appointment, you can contact us by email.

Course zoom lectures:

Check at weboodi. The lectures start at 15 min past the hour, and will last for about 1h.

In addition, we will implement some voluntary mentoring system with those students already in Joensuu. Those students on Western Time Zones, please contact us.

 In the meanwhile, help us prepare the course by filling the:

compulsory course questionnaire [link]
Start: 19 OCT (10:15), Deadline: 20 OCT 2020 (23:59h)



Course structure

Topic 1. Background concepts
statistical thinking - probability - randomness - distributions

Topic 2. Main tools
expectation - hypothesis tests - p-values - Inference

Topic 3. Models
regression - linear models - parameter estimation - model assessment

Topic 4. Advanced methods
Non-linear models - geostatistics - hierarchical models

Practical methods: R-Materials
R environment - importing data - analysis and models - presentation of results

Practical methods: GIS-Materials
GIS environment - maps - geostatistics - presentation of results


TIP: Navigation in the Wiki

Please use the navigation space in the left side of the screen to access the content of the pages.

You can make the sub-pages visible by pressing the ">" sign.

In the right side, in the section "Recent Changes" you are able to see the pages that have been recently modified.