First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP9085838, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
AV2091, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track FOREST AND NATURE FOR THE FUTURE [002LE]
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIAI PETIT AGR/05

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines AGR/05 Forestry and Silviculture 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 2.0 16 34.0 No turn
Lecture 4.0 32 68.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Prerequisites: It would be appropriate for the students of this course to have already acquired some familiarity with the fundamental notions of plant physiology, wood anatomy and ecology.
Target skills and knowledge: The student will acquire the necessary skills to assess the impact of climatic variations on the main plant physiological processes linked to carbon assimilation and biomass production, and ultimately on forest dynamics.
In-depth studies of plant physiology and processes related to the water and carbon cycle will provide students with fundamental knowledge on the mechanisms of interaction between forests and the climate and the response mechanisms of physiological and growth processes to climatic variations.
Examination methods: The exam includes the study and presentation of a scientific article chosen by the student (40%) and an oral exam related to the contents of the lessons (60%).
Assessment criteria: The acquired knowledge will be evaluated together with the expositive, critical and logical skills.
Course unit contents: Forest ecosystems
- Global biogeochemical cycles
- Precipitation and temperature regimes
- Terrestrial biomes

Variations of the terrestrial radiative balance and induced forest dynamics
- climatic trends of temperature and precipitations
- drought and phenomena of forest mortality
- temperature increase in cold climates: the treeline advance

The soil-plant-atmosphere system
- functional balance between water transport and leaf transpiration
- the extremes of the hydraulic path: roots and leaves
- xylem: anatomy and hydraulic properties; differences between conifers and broadleaved
- phloem: anatomy and hydraulic properties
- long distance transport in xylem and phloem

Limiting climatic factors in the soil-plant-atmosphere system
- soil water availability and VPD
- loss of conductivity in the xylem due to embolism
- the viscosity of phloem lymph
- effect of temperature on photosynthesis and respiration
- effect of CO2 on photosynthesis
- effect of nitrogen availability on photosynthesis

The carbon balance at the single tree level
- allocation of carbon resources
- priority of functional processes for tree survival
- the problem of the trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and safety
- the hydraulic effect of tree growth

Adaptation and acclimation to climate change
- anatomical modifications of the xylem
- anatomical modifications of the phloem
- structural balance between different organs (leaves, xylem, phloem, aboveground biomass, belowground biomass)

Forest ecosystems
- carbon balance in forest ecosystems (GPP, NPP, NEP, NEE)
- the structure of the forest
- future scenarios
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures (28 hours, 3.5 CFU)
Discussion of scientific articles in the classroom (4 hours, 0.5 CFU)
Field-excursion in the forest (16 hours, 2 credits)
Additional notes about suggested reading: The teaching material can be consulted at the Moodle School AMV platform at the link:

Information on student reception can be consulted at the AMV School's Moodle platform at the link:

Suggested textbooks:
Chapin III, Matson & Mooney, Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2002.
Shugart & Woodward, Global Change and the Terrestrial Biosphere: Achievements and Challenges. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Working in group
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Climate Action Life on Land