Teacher's notes


How to use this resource...

Our Forest, Our Future helps teachers and pupils to explore the interdependence of people and forests and the vital role forests play in sustaining our environment – in the past, the present and hopefully the future.

The Scots Pine forests in Scotland and the Congo Basin rainforest in Africa provide case studies through which pupils will begin to understand why our forests are under threat and the implications for our planet. Further information about these forests is provided in the following documents.

In making connections between consumerism, people and the environment, pupils will be encouraged to see how they and their actions have an impact on the lives of others globally. It encourages reflection on the possible futures of the world's forests and ways of taking positive actions for a future where people and forests co-exist in a sustainable way.

The resource is structured around a global citizenship framework devised by Oxfam.

Learning framework

More detail on the framework can be found in Global Learning Framework [pdf]

The reflection and evaluation sections in each activity support formative assessment and ongoing monitoring of pupils learning.

Additional assessment opportunities are indicated by... Assessment

Outdoor learning opportunities are indicated by... Outddor learning

Homework activities are indicated by... Homework

Active global citizens


Taking Action for Change

Education for Global Citizenship is committed to enabling pupils to bring about positive actions for change either locally or globally. This process should support pupils to make their own informed choices through a critical evaluation of the options open to them and the possible implications of those choices.

Throughout the resource there are ideas for possible actions, such as reflecting on our power as consumers, peer education and tree planting. Your pupils themselves should be encouraged to think creatively about the many actions they could take, critically evaluate the impact these actions might have and then evaluate what they have done.

The materials below support your pupils through this process.

Which action? [pdf]

How did it go? [pdf]

Our forest our future

Section 1

What is a forest?

1. What are forests like?

2. How are you connected to the forest?

3. Where are the world's rainforests?

4. Exploring the Scots Pine forest and the Congo Basin rainforest

5. Animals and plants in a Scots pine forest

6. The web of life in a Scots pine forest

7. Animals and plants in the Congo Basin rainforest

8. Comparing the Scots pine forest and the Congo Basin rainforest

9. Of forests and Men

10. What is your opinion about the world's forests?

Section 2

How do we use forests?

1. The Guardian of the forest

2. What is 'Sustainable development'?

3. How do we use the world's forests?

4. Scottish forests in the past

5. A history of two forests

6. Needs and Wants

7. Forest clearance past and present part 1

8. Forest clearance past and present part 2

9. Congo Basin rainforest: exploring the reasons for forest clearance

10. Baka community lifestyle

11. Whose forest?

12. Wood survey

13. Where does our wood come from?

Section 3

What is happening to our forests?

1. Why are our forests being cleared?

2. Exploring issues: an enquiry approach?

3. Consumer power

4. A world without rainforests

5. Roads into the forest

6. How can I make the world a better place?

7. How do they feel?

Section 4

Forests of the future

1. Probable and preferable futures

2. Forests of the future

3. Future generations: what are their rights?

4. Trees mean life and other stories of tree regeneration

5. Movements for change: activists' stories

6. What is the best way to protect the environment? (RISC)

> Making connections

7. Forest clearance past and present – whose forests? Part 1

What you need:


To explore the history of forest coverage in Scotland and in the Congo Basin rainforest

To consider the causes and consequences of forest clearance past and present

To understand the different ways 'development' can impact on stake holders

To reflect on the sustainability of different types of development within forests

What to do


Set up an imaginary line across the room. Mark one end 'agree' and the other end 'disagree'. Read out the statements to the pupils and ask them to place themselves on the line in the position which best reflects their view. Now ask them to share the view with their neighbour. Elicit the different views at different points on the line. This task will be revisited at the end of part 2.

Activity A: Map work

Show the pupils the map of forest coverage past and present and ask pupils what they notice about forest coverage and how it changes over time. Identify Scotland and Africa on the map and discuss what changes have happened in forest coverage in these 2 areas.

In Scotland very little native woodlands remain. In the Congo Basin, the forest has been reduced but it still covers a large area. The pupils are going to find out what happened to the forests. Half the class can find out about the Congo Basin forest and the other half can find out about the Scottish forest. Useful website include:

Groups can share their findings with the class.

Discuss with the class the changes in forest coverage with the pupils.

Teacher prompts

Reflection and evaluation

Scotland has lost most of its forests as they have been cut down and used throughout our history. Forests were used for timber, fuel and cleared for farming. Excessive grazing by sheep and deer contributed to this. Both World Wars contributed to further losses of forest. In the Congo Basin forests are being cleared for farming, timber and have also been affected by war.

Global Forest Cover