867 Alpine Ecology and Environmental Management, autumn semester


Approximately one third of mainland Norway lies above the forest limit; here we mainly find alpine ecosystems. Alpine areas have been an important resource for Norwegian people for thousands of years, and the first men probably followed the reindeer herds that followed the retreating ice during deglaciation. Later when the inhabitants became farmers, use of the alpine regions were also very important as pastures for the lifestock and for outfarming. This tradition remained for hundreds of years, but after World War II the use of alpine areas has decreased strongly. The alpine areas, both in Norway and globally, are increasingly exposed to different types of environmental impacts which in time may change the alpine ecosystems. As a result of this, combined with the effects of global warming, changes in the alpine ecosystems have occurred/been occurring. Norway has the largest population of wild reindeer, and their management is especially important. Information about endangered species and biotopes occurring in alpine areas and possible threats to their existence is imperative. Increased use of the alpine areas for recreation (tourism) may also represent a challenge for the management of alpine ecosystems and vulnerable animal populations.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

Foreign (primarily from partner institutions) and Norwegian students with relevant backgrounds who want to acquire deeper knowledge about alpine ecosystems and environmental management in general and Scandinavian alpine areas in particular. Admission requirements are two years of studies at university level in the fields of Basic Biology, Ecology and/or Geography. Good command of English is required, and in some cases it may be necessary to submit documentation of sufficient English skills. Basic knowledge in statistics is also assumed.

Aim of the Programme

The main aims of this program is to provide the students with deeper insight into ecological, environmental and conservation issues with main emphasis on Scandinavian mountain areas. This will give the students a basis for further studies at the bachelor and master levels in ecology. Students learn about the alpine ecosystems in Scandinavia and their relation to the environment. Effects of different types of human impact e.g. decreasing traditional use, new constructions (roads and new cabins) and increasing tourism will also be outlined. The courses in this program include mainly biology (botany and zoology), climatology and freshwater ecology. Field courses are important parts of the program, and the students will learn to identify common alpine plants and animals. Practical training in sampling of field data is also included, and the sampled data will be analyzed in laboratory classes.

Learning outcome


The candidates will have both general and specific knowledge about important living organisms in alpine areas, their distribution, relation to the environment and possible need for active management implementation.


Be able to identify common alpine living organisms

Be able to sample ecological data in the field, and perform necessary data analyses.

General competence:

Be able to present results from scientific studies to an audience, both orally and in written form.

Be able to carry out varied advanced assignments and projects

Curriculum and structure

Alpine Ecology and Environmental Management, autumn semester
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
4501 Alpine Ecology 10.00 O 10
4502 Alpine Biodiversity and Climatic Change 10.00 O 10
4311 Ecological Methods 10.00 V 10
4507 Ecotourism Theories and Concepts 10.00 V 10
2617 Introducing Norwegian Language 5.00 V 5
2601 Norwegian Language: Intermediate Level 10.00 V 10
2609 Norwegian Language: Advanced level 10.00 V 10
Total: 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean. Elective courses may vary from one academic year to another.

Master students are given priority if many students want to study the the elective MSc courses offered in the programme.

The study program has two mandatory courses (10 ects each) and one elective course (10 ects).


This is an international study program which admits Norwegian students and students from partner institutions from all over the world.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, excursions, laboratory courses, seminars with student presentations, mandatory reports and papers. The excursions and laboratory courses are mandatory.

Assessment Methods

Individual written exams, group project (reports)

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Arvid Odland <Arvid.OdlandSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Anette Norheim Fredly - 29/08/2012