Forests toolkit #2 – Forest debate: a role-play on “Forest use vs Forest protection”


Anna Lodén, Helen Forsgren and Christina Ottander


Umeå University

The aim of this activity is to engage students in collaborative authentic activities to evaluate evidence and support claims on the topic of “Forest use vs. Forest protection”. It enables students to use evidence and claims to formulate creative solutions to local, real-life situations.


  • 15
  • 16
  • 17


  • Forest use Vs. Forest protection


  • Between 2-5 hours

Students’ resources

For the debate, students are divided into groups representing the following stakeholders: private forest owners, forest companies, the public, environmental organizations, indigenous communities, and public authorities. Students roll the dice to get assigned to an individual’s age, gender, role in the stakeholder group, and personal traits. To prepare for the debate, students investigate authentic media and literature and contact experts for further clarification and guidance. The debate can take place in the classroom and involves cases studies such as:

A municipality wants to cut down the forest and build housing in a local area that is currently used for recreation. A citizens’ proposal suggests that it is more important to keep the forest for people’s health and well-being. The question to consider is: “Should a citizens’ proposal have an impact on the decision about how to use local and accessible forest considering the municipality’s new needs?”


Teachers’ resources

The aim of this activity is for students to search for information, create arguments and get an understanding of the case(s) from different perspectives before the debate. For students to prepare for their roles, they need teacher support in finding information about their stakeholders’ viewpoints. Teachers should also prepare the set-up and rules for the role play and communicate them clearly to the students.

The activity is concluded with a follow up session after the debate where the students, in mixed groups with one from each stakeholder, reflect on the outcomes of the role-play.