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Commission II: The professors, teachers and students


I. CLAVER (Spain)


S.K. SETH (India)

M. ABED! (Iran)

F. FIRAT (Turkey)

Secretariat note


P.J. MCKELVEY (New Zealand)

Technical secretaries:



I. UBEDA MOLINA (Argentina)

The items before the commission need not be discussed in an elementary way for the commission represents a climax to earlier meetings where forestry education was considered: the educational sessions of the sixth World Forestry Congress and the exhaustive World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training held at Stockholm in 1971. Furthermore, there have been many studies promoted by the Forestry Department of FAO which have helped prepare the way for this advanced session. Again, the educational implications of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held also at Stockholm, should not be overlooked. In the preparation of this secretariat note, the purpose of which is to establish a framework for discussion and deliberation, these earlier activities have been taken into account. Accordingly, it is suggested that the items before the commission be examined from an advanced viewpoint, with many introductory features, which have already been dealt with, taken to a large extent for granted.

The agenda items form a logical sequence. Item I covers objectives and planning, and consolidates much of what has gone before. Item 2 deals with the introduction of innovations demanded by changes in technology and social attitudes. Item 3 is concerned with the educational implications of increasing awareness on a world-wide scale of environmental quality. Some overlaps of subject matter between the three items are unavoidable but these need not waste time; often they will lead to corroboration and emphasis of important features.

It has been found impossible to distinguish between education and training, for the simple reason that all training has an educational content; in this secretariat note the two are regarded as meaning much the same thing. The secretariat note is written in synopsis form, with comments by the moderator shown in parentheses. Issues for discussion are suggested at the end of each item.

1. Objectives and planning for forestry education


The role of the professional forester

The role of the professional forester must be that of a generalist, able to coordinate, synchronize and compromise. He must be a long-term planner (Nilsson). (The new general objectives for our Swedish forestry colleges [Nilsson] expand this concept admirably.)

If the professional forester is to be accepted and approved by society, he must become involved with social and economic issues, and be seen to be involved. He must have the ability to identify critical problems and provide rational and integrated solutions for these problems. The official and private sectors must come to recognize the need to use the expertise of professional foresters for the well-being of society as a whole (Anaya). In developing countries the need is felt for the immediate use of forest resources in the national economy; in the developed countries environmental concern makes it necessary for the forestry profession to tackle wide rural land management problems (Luna Lugo). Effective involvement with socioeconomic problems is exemplified in Argentina where the establishment of a faculty of forest engineering and a research institute in a timber region has had a beneficially propulsive impact on industrial communities (Ledesma). Foresters should play the role of community leaders in developing countries (Sales).

There can be no one correct educational preparation for all situations. Indeed, three valid curricular thrusts can be recognized: one aiming to confer competence in the management of production forests to supply industry; another emphasizing biological and ecological aspects and aiming to provide an understanding of environmental features; and yet another specializing in the administration of renewable natural resources and oriented toward decision-making (Anaya). (A three-way curricular split, rather similar to the above, was described at the Stockholm consultation: one variant, to produce managers for production forestry; another, environment specialists; and the third a policy-maker/ specialized technician group for initial forest management in developing countries. It was pointed out that the need for each type of graduate will vary with local conditions and with the developmental stages of countries [Sisam].)

An adequate basic education is an essential prerequisite of professional studies (Nilsson). A sound preparatory base of pure sciences is required in the Faculty of Forest Engineering at Santiago del Estero (Ledesma).

(If it is accepted that a professional forester should, as far as practicable, be a generalist, then the suggestion of a meta-disciplinary professional approach, made at the Stockholm consultation [Westoby], assumes importance. The meta-disciplinary approach is that of a professional with a solid grounding in a particular field of expertise and with a general knowledge of a problem area.)

Insufficient notice has been taken of the aspirations of students in planning courses (Nilsson). (Students' points of view were put effectively at the Stockholm consultation and contributed substantially to the deliberations. It is unfortunate that students are not better represented at this commission.) It is worthwhile to undertake systematic studies to determine why students choose forestry and what their career expectations are, and also to follow up their careers after graduation (Nilsson). (Students' aspirations must surely influence the role of foresters in the future.)

Course development, evaluation and revision

Development objectives decisively affect the nature and content of forestry education (Luna Lugo).

Careful case studies should be made in depth of all educational proposals in developing countries; they would complement the broad regional studies already made. Such case studies should be made also in developed countries and even in established schools, where periodic examination would ensure that programmes are up to date (Kulkarni).

(The importance of course evaluation is now well established. The Stockholm consultation recommended, inter alia, that in every education and training centre the evaluation of forestry education and training should receive increasing attention. The important consideration now is: how may this best be done so that required course adjustments can be made efficiently.)

Graduates, teachers and students should all be involved in course revision (Anaya). General educational objectives should first be translated into course details by the teachers. Then, tests and examinations should reveal to what extent the objectives have been achieved. Continual evaluation and revision by teachers, students and employers are essential. The key problem is that of methods of communication between teachers, students and employers; some possible ways are:

1. The direct participation of students on curriculum committees and in the evaluation of courses and teachers.

2 "Hearings" at which professionals may put their views on educational objectives. The employers would require beforehand detailed information about the status quo and the predictions of the teachers for the future. Future employment prospects could be discussed also.

3. The setting up of a curriculum committee which can work both inside and outside a school with individuals (not representatives) from the employing agencies (Nilsson).

Professionals may evaluate curricula with reference to a shorter time period than the teachers who are less closely involved with current management problems but who are conscious that their students will be practicing foresters next century (Nilsson).

Organization, cooperation

In Sweden it has been suggested that forestry, agriculture and veterinary science should be integrated in one university for natural resources and environment (Nilsson).

Not all countries are in a position to provide forestry education satisfactorily; this makes it desirable to plan and coordinate forestry education (especially at the higher level) on a regional basis (Luna Lugo, Verduzco Gutiérrez).

(At the Stockholm consultation it was agreed that there was need of more international cooperation, especially between forestry educational institutions, and as background for this there should be a detailed study of all multi- and bilateral educational and research arrangements. Also, it was recommended that FAO should expand its promotional role and prepare for a second World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training [Nilsson].)


Analysis and planning

Vocational training in developed countries has always been linked with shortage of labour, and mechanization. The situation is different in developing countries where there is usually plenty of labour (Rodriguez Garcia).

The first step in planning for vocational training should be careful analysis of the needs and problems. Relevant data should be gathered at the national level from employers, advantage should be taken of studies carried out by international experts, and data from other countries should be used in a comparative way. Then. appropriate objectives at the national level can be determined (Rodriguez Garcia). Too little is known about the basic features of vocational work and training, and there is need for comprehensive research into many aspects including the sociological. The initiative for such research should be taken by international agencies involved in forestry and education (Mårsäter). At the project level. careful case studies should be made in depth before a scheme is proceeded with (Kulkarni).

Programmes of vocational training should be made liberal by aiming to promote the forest worker's welfare as well as improving his productivity (Sisam). (The Stockholm consultation recommended that special attention be given to general subjects likely to improve the worker's career opportunities and position in society.)

Turning to more detail: planning and initiation of vocational training should be undertaken in three stages. As a first step, joint analytical studies should be made with employers to convince them of the enhanced profitability which results from training and from providing permanent employment; this is especially important where there is a private sector. At the same time, training should commence for supervisors and also for machine operators. Adults aspiring to be foremen, who have already had formal worker training-usually they are employed - may be given courses ranging from several weeks to 3-5 months. Youths-usually they have not been employed-may obtain foreman diplomas after 1-2 years in permanent training centres. Then, at a later stage, adult workers should be trained for specific skills in courses of 5-20 days. Only by adopting such a comprehensive approach can vocational training succeed where there is a private sector and plenty of labour. In developing countries where it is not feasible to introduce mechanization quickly, it is necessary at an early stage to increase the efficiency of manual operations and to improve the tools; in this way productivity can be improved by at least 10 to 20 percent (Rodriguez Garcia). Training evaluation is important and can result in innovation and course improvement (Mårsäter). However, evaluation has been found difficult without extensive organization at the state level (Chandra).

Teachers and teaching

The social and professional status of vocational-training teachers in many developing countries needs to be improved. Also, they should have a better extension/ information service which would best be provided by one of the international agencies (Chandra).

The training of teachers is a major problem. In developing countries, teacher-training centres should be set up, initially on a regional basis. In the interim, skilled workers from developed countries could be used as teachers (Mårsäter).

The homeric task of training large numbers of workers engaged in logging and sawmilling in India was tackled by preparing hundreds of instructors under the Logging Training Centres Project and sending them out to train workers on-job. Training syllabuses were determined after careful study and instructors drawn from state foresters, forest rangers and their equivalents in the private sector. The principal training aim was to confer technical skills on the new instructors and to instil confidence. There has been a one-year follow-up programme. There have been problems due to the difficulty of recruiting suitable instructors and to the lack of responsiveness on the part of those in the private sector who are reluctant to invest in training and mechanization because they lack security of tenure in the forests (Chandra). In developing countries, most progress with vocational training has been made where the forest operations are in the hands of the state to a greater or lesser degree (Rodriguez Garcia).

Successful vocational training requires: personnel who can teach at both foreman and worker level and who can deal with employers; permanent training centres with adequate capital and maintenance funding; inductive teaching is " globulized" rather than compartmented by subject matter; and mobile courses, which are the best way of teaching a lot of workers in a short time (Rodriguez Garcia).


(At the Stockholm consultation it was agreed that there should be close cooperation between those responsible for professional, technical and vocational training and that, where possible, vocational education programmes should be administered through technical-level forestry schools [Sisam].)

While employers may contribute to vocational training, possibly through a training levy, it is preferable for the forestry and educational authorities to undertake the training. Then forestry vocational training can be integrated with the general educational system of a country (Mårsäter). Organizational requirements for vocational training include decentralized administration with regional training centres, travelling supervisors, and a central authority for direction, coordination, etc. The Spanish extension service is an example of well-organized vocational training. A decentralized vocational training system exists in Japan for private forest owners. This is the Forestry Extension Organization which is staffed with specialists and country agents who operate at the local level. Programmes consist of short formal courses and self-help group training in which machinery is loaned. There are plans for a forestry labour training institute in which there will be emphasis on training in the use of machinery (Endo).


(a) Does the commission think that an educational aim should be to give meta-disciplinary professional capability to young foresters? If so, how may this best be done; what curricular modifications would be necessary; should it be attempted at the undergraduate level?

(b) The commission has been told of a proposal to integrate land-oriented disciplines to form a university for natural resources and environment. Does the commission feel that moves like this may lead to detrimental academic isolation from disciplines in the "normal" universities?

(c) Insecurity for private sawmilling or private logging in the state forests of developing countries tends to impede the introduction of mechanization and adequate vocational training. What does the commission consider to be the best remedy, longer-term timber rights for the private sector, or state operations? Or are there other solutions?


(1) ANAYA, H. 1972 Como determinar y perfeccionar un plan de estudios técnicos en materia forestal: el cave de un país en desarrollo. (General paper C. II)

(2) BARGHOORN, A.W. 1972 La preparación profesional y la investigación en los campos forestales y madereros en América Latina. (Special paper C. II)

(3) CHANDRA, ROMESH. 1972 Forest worker instructor training: approaches and problems in India. (General paper C. II)

(4) ENDO, T. 1972 Present vocational education and training and its problems in forestry in Japan. (Special paper C. II)

(5) KULKARNI, D.H. Plea for extending in-depth case studies 1972 as essential preparatives in the process of development planning of forestry education. (Special paper C. II)

(6) LEDESMA, N.R. 1972 La enseñanza universitaria y la investigación forestal como instrumento para el desarrollo de los pueblos. (General paper C. II)

(7) LUNA LUGO, A. 1972 Bases para la planificación de la enseñanza forestal. (General paper C. II)

(8) MÅRSÄTER, B. 1972 Training of forest workers. (General Paper C. IV)

(9) NILSSON, E.E. 1972 Clarifying the objectives of forestry education. (General paper c. II)

(10) RODRIGUEZ GARCIA, MANUEL. 1972 Planeamiento y organización de un sistema nacional de formación forestal vocacional. (General paper C. II)

(11) SALAS, HERNAN CORTÉS. 1971 Foresters of tomorrow. (FO: - WCFET/71 /4)

(12) SISAM, J.W.B. 1972 Applying the findings of the first World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training. (General paper C. II)

(13) VERDUZCO GUTIÉRREZ, J. 1972 La planificación de la enseñanza y de la extension forestal. (General paper C. D)

(14) WESTOBY, JACK C. 1971 Forestry education: to whom and for what? (FO: WCFET/71)

2. Innovations in forestry education


In the future there will probably be a wider range of participants in forestry education. Forestry administrators are likely to seek to be involved more in curricular planning to ensure that tuition is relevant; in turn, the educational institutions will expect cooperation from administrators for research and practical training (Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba). Poor definition of objectives in forestry has sometimes lead to purposeless education; this may be able to be remedied by the profession exercising more influence over curricula through formal communicative links with the teachers (Hughes). Forestry students should have more say in their own education. The inclusion of nonforestry students and teachers in forestry courses could help the image of forestry on the campus (Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba).

Management should be taught with a greater social emphasis and with greater regard for national policies. The working plan is not a suitable basis for teaching forest management because it provides an over-simplified purview. More effective teaching of forest management must be achieved if foresters are not to be replaced in the field of management by graduates from other disciplines concerned with social sciences. One remedy would be to revive forestry as a postgraduate discipline with wide entry, so enabling the admission of people trained in the social sciences, and emphasize management studies. While this may be the best way to train forest managers, it would not be suitable for the training of forest biologists, unless the forestry curricula concentrated on - principles and applied technical training was provided later by the national forest authority. There could be various remedial courses to make up for a range of educational deficiencies (Hughes). (At the Stockholm consultation it was acknowledged that, without substantial improvements in managerial efficiency, foresters will lose the initiative in resource management [Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba].)

The University of Ibadan has developed four-year degree programmes in wood technology and forest engineering to train staff for technical management posts in Nigerian wood-based industries. Motivation to work in industry is encouraged by including ten-week blocks (40 to 50 weeks overall) of industrial work throughout the four-year programme (Redhead). (At the Stockholm consultation it was agreed that in developing countries such programmes are best provided by an established forestry school [Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba].)

A useful proposal for professional training in developing countries calls for use of both university and technical training facilities. Students would spend one or two years at a local university, followed by two years at a technical-level forestry school. Then they would finish the course with a final year at the "home" university (Heath).


Recruitment into technical schools has received encouragement through two innovations. In Sweden the gymnasia! schools - higher secondary level - now include a two-year forestry option from which transfer can easily be made to the forest technician school, and vice versa. In Canada, environmental training is now offered at the subprofessional level and has stimulated recruitment into the forestry technical schools three or fourfold. Inclusion of environmental training is warranted because it is the technicians and the operatives who have most contact with the general public (Heath).

A ratio of I :4 :20 for professional, technical and vocational trainees respectively is suggested. In Scandinavia and eastern Europe, positive steps have been taken to ensure the coordination of the three types of training. In some cases, admission requirements for the technical and professional schools may include the successful completion of training at the preceding level. This system produces a more competent and better motivated professional graduate (Heath). (A paper presented at the Stockholm consultation recommended that the most able technical students should be able to go on to more advanced studies [Delphin].)

The curricula of Canadian technical schools have become specialized. There are now specific options concerned with fish, wildlife, recreation and watershed, logging, and wood products. These innovations are indicative of an increased awareness of the need to integrate forest uses (Murphy).

New teaching methods can reduce training periods spectacularly. Portable workshops are most effective for technical and vocational training. Teaching, using the principles of programmed learning (or simulation), and teaching based on group studies or a systems approach, the latter in contrast to the traditional subject-compartmented teaching, have great potential. The quality of instruction at technical and vocational schools in Canada has improved because now men employed by government and industry seek spells at training establishments to bring themselves up to date technically; their presence improves the relevancy of teaching and the response of students. There is also a welcome trend of instructional staff undertaking consultative and other responsible work regularly, which helps them retain professional competence. There is need for the wholehearted cooperation of teachers and employers in the evaluation of training at regular intervals (Heath).

There is a welcome trend toward more streamlined administration. In Sweden, a Forestry Employment Board coordinates all forestry education up to the forest technician level. In Canada, there is a move toward vocational and technical schools being administered by a single authority; in many cases, they share the same facilities. In Ontario a joint provincial advisory board controls admissions and curricula. In many parts of Canada advisory committees of wide representation ensure that training programmes are appropriately and practically oriented. This aim is also assisted in Alberta by the Ministries of Education and Natural Resources sharing responsibility for technical courses (Heath).

The regular exchange of views and information between technical and vocational training staffs at local, national and international levels is important to ensure that the most effective training is available (Heath). (The Stockholm consultation was assured that FAO) stood ready to organize the exchange of information and expertise related to forestry education at all levels [Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba].)


(Continuing education was discussed at the Stockholm consultation; one perceptive paper described formal education as a catalyst which raised a person's capacity to absorb and apply informal education, and the purpose of continuing formal education as being to renew this catalytic function, which tends to decline with the passage of time [Westoby]. The consultation recognized the importance of continuing education and recommended, inter alia, fellowships, short courses and study tours for teachers, and also sabbatical leaves for both teaching and management personnel.)

The major changes which have created the need for continuing education are: the limitations of initial professional training; increasing educational demands on the part of those who wish to advance in their careers; technological advances; and the altered sociopolitical environment for forestry (Stoltenberg and Dils). The traditional means of self-improvement no longer suffice, so that more formalized post-bachelor studies are necessary if the forester is not to be confined to too narrow a role (Guillard).

As a general goal, a forester must seek to enlarge the scientific basis of his activity and to improve his technical skills (Oblivin). In more detail, he must keep up to date in three vital areas: trends in product consumption and in industry, catchment forestry, and management of land for public recreation. It is significant that experience in France shows that foresters choose subjects for continuing education which will keep them as close as possible to their juniors and to other professions. e.g. economic analysis and computers. rather than subjects closely linked with their jobs. One important goal is the ability to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team (Guillard).

In continuing education the following features are clear: each forester is unique and so must have a personal curriculum; the forester's employer must be involved; much of the learning will take place outside the classroom. To be effective, a continuing education programme must provide: relevant, integrated courses which are best planned by committees comprising foresters, employers and teachers; "marketable" courses which are task-oriented and conveniently " packaged"; accessible courses, the venue of which will often not be a university; comprehensive curricula which are well planned and advertised; and competent educators. The problem of course accessibility may be able to be overcome by new teaching methods, such as educational television, regular mailing of cassette tapes etc., or by week-end scheduling. There is a case for institutional specialization and coordination on a regional basis; no one agency can mount comprehensive programmes (Stoltenberg and Dils).

The forester can best catch up with technical advances through visits, discussions and demonstrations; he can best catch up with advances in research through discussion with researching scientists. Where there is theoretical exposition it must be linked with practical application. Substantial experience has shown that planned progressions of workshop sessions are especially effective. Each session should be short (three to five days), intensive and limited to a specific topic. The effectiveness of such sessions may be enhanced by preparatory study of distributed literature beforehand, and by consolidatory study of selected literature afterwards. The best size for a study group is 15 to 20; participants should be of the same level of seniority, but they may have different responsibilities; this presents an opportunity for each to see beyond his own field of work. Course evaluation is necessary (Guillard).

Continuing education should be at intervals of not more than five to ten years (Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba). (One paper presented to the Stockholm consultation suggested intervals of about two years [Speidel].)

As well as updating graduates, continuing education is required to upgrade technicians and skilled workers (Yavorsky, Oblivin). to broaden the awareness and understanding of the general public in forestry, and to deepen the appreciation of everybody for the sustained yield of forest benefits and the obligations this involves (Yavorsky).

A planning continuum to initiate and maintain continuing education for professional, technical and skilled workers in a small developing country is outlined: the first step is to determine objectives through consultation with interested groups. Then, a programme director and an advisory council should be appointed. Available institutional resources-a school of forestry is envisaged as the central agency-should be appraised, as should the resources of industry and other organizations. Then, specific training needs should be identified by means of surveys and personal consultations. At this stage. curricula, course structures and teaching methods can be decided. The final stages comprise programme promotion, evaluation and revision (Yavorsky).

The universities and the forestry schools should play a key role (Guillard, Stoltenberg and Dils), and professional associations and alumni societies should take an active interest in the development of continuing education (Guillard). However, universities may have some disadvantages for continuing education because of inconvenient location and entrenched methods of tuition which may be unsuitable (Stoltenberg and Dils). (There is slight conflict between Guillard and Stoltenberg and Dils concerning the role of the universities.)

Continuing education may be centred on a university or it may be conducted in-service. It is becoming more institutionalized and more linked to initial professional education (Guillard, Oblivin). It represents a larger investment of time and resources than does the preparation of undergraduate courses (Stoltenberg and Dils). There are implications of change for earlier formal education toward more " learning how to learn" (Guillard).

In France, since 1971, professionals have had the right by law to continue training, and firms are obliged to contribute to the cost (Guillard). Increased participation in continuing education may require the employment of supernumerary staff (Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba).


(The Stockholm consultation was critical of the generally ineffective extension programmes in forestry [Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba].)

Private forest owners face conflicting demands on their forests. On the one hand, there is the need to increase wood production to meet the demands of industry, which involves more intensive management, economies of scale, clear-cutting and increasing use of machines because of shortage of labour. On the other hand, there are demands for the multiple use of their forests and for environmental benefits; conservationists oppose too much emphasis on timber production. In this difficult situation private owners need help in the form of information about demand trends for various forest products, comparative advantages of different silvicultural and harvesting methods, and to what extent they should compromise between production and environmental goals (Holopainen).

Communication with private forest owners is difficult because they live apart and also forestry is seldom their only or even their principal occupation. The most effective medium is probably television. However, there is need to compete with other promotional pressures. For this reason, research is required into attitudes to forestry, using the methods of the behavioural sciences, and into the effectiveness of the various methods of education and communication used (Holopainen). (At the Stockholm consultation it was recommended that forestry schools consider the introduction of courses in communication and public relations [Sisam, Kozinski and Rukuba].)

In addition to information services, professional help must be available to the private forest owners for difficult management problems (Holopainen).


(a) Does the commission favour the development, on a wider scale than at present, of forestry as a postgraduate discipline in universities, with wide entry, concentration on principles, and post-university technical training provided by employers?

(b) Does the commission favour admission to technical and professional schools being dependent on the successful completion of training at the preceding level, and of prescribed amounts of practical field work? Would this result in the most effective system of education or would the resultant courses be unacceptably long?

(c) What is the view of the commission on the likely impact of comprehensive continuing education on formal, initial forestry education? For instance, will it permit less theoretical and more practical tuition at the level of the first degree or first technical course?


(1) DELPHIN, RÉMY. 1971 The efficiency of intermediate-level forestry education. (FO: WCFET/71/30)

(2) GUILLARD, J.P. 1972 L'éducation permanente des forestiers. (General paper C II)

(3) HEATH, VICTOR. 1972 Technical and vocational training in forestry. (General paper C. II)

(4) HOLOPAINEN, V. 1972 Information and technical advice for private forest owners: new
problems and approaches. (General paper C. II)

(5) HUGHES, J.F 1972. The role of universities in training forest managers. (General paper C. II)

(6) LUNA LLORENTE, F. 972 Influencia del Servicio de Extensión Agraria en el sector forestal de explotaciones agropecuarias. (Special paper C II)

(7) MURPHY, P.J. 1972 Forest technology training in Canada. (Special paper C. II)

(8) OBLIVIN, A.N. 1972 Scientific-technical progress and the tasks of forest education in the Soviet Union. (General paper C. II)

(9) REDHEAD, J.F. 1972 The development of teaching in wood technology and forest engineering in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. (Special paper C II)

(10) SISAM, J.W.B., KOZINSKI, JAN & RUKUBA, M.L.S.B. 1972 Applying the findings of the first World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training. (General paper C. II)

(11) SPEIDEL, G. 1971 Forestry education in some European countries, including Israel and Turkey. (FO: WCFET/71/ 2(f))

(12) STOLTENBERG, CARL & DILS, ROBERT E. 1972 Updating professional skills to meet changing forestry needs. (General paper C. II)

(13) WESTOBY, JACK C. 1971 Forestry education: to whom and for what? ((FO: WCFET/71/6)

(14) YAVORSKY, J.M. 1972 Planning a programme of continuing education for forestry in a developing country. (General paper C. II)

3. The environment and the new prospects for the forestry profession

Over the last 80 or so years, forestry in the United States has passed through a protection era, a multiple-use era and an environmental era. (Such a sequence may be, or may become, common to other countries, so this historical approach is useful.) During the protection era-approximately from 1890 to the second world war-the forester gained public approbation as a conservationist and there was no problem with attracting good recruits to forestry. During the multiple-use era - from the second world war to the nineteen sixties- the bias of the forester toward maximizing wood production earned the profession public disapprobation. As the image of the profession became poorer, recruitment was influenced adversely and in some schools the number of forestry students decreased: also, unusual talents seemed more limited. Furthermore, curricula tended to become diverse and specialized with the development of various natural resource programmes, but general forestry lost its appeal to students and became relatively less well patronized. The environmental era-which commenced in the sixties- did not so much replace the multiple-use era as augment it. Now the public's environmental perceptions are sharpening at the same time as wood appears less important to them (James, Craws and Garland).

Foresters must acknowledge this increasing public concern with the environment and adjust their professional attitudes. In the field of environmental conservation the principal forestry considerations are adequacy of forest reservation, forest protection, recreational use of forests and soil conservation. Important too are the air-conditioning function of the forest and the contribution stable forestry makes to good landscape (Van Miegroet).

The general aim of forestry is the lasting optimization of the usefulness of the forest to man. To achieve this, appropriate primary uses must be chosen for different sectors of the forest; the hard choice will often be between wood production objectives and social and environmental objectives. The forester must be able to zone the forest in such a way that people's needs are best met. The forester must work with other disciplines in collaborative planning and administration of land. It must not be overlooked, in such multidisciplinary efforts, that forests cannot be reduced below a certain minimum area required to satisfy the many needs of people. In the face of the current environmental problems, the forester must exchange individual administrative responsibility and regional technical competence for collegiate administration and professional specialization. This new role requires a wider base of scientific knowledge, more social understanding and increased knowledge of environmental factors (Van Miegroet).

Unfortunately, forestry schools have not responded adequately to provide the new educational requirements. In the universities, other professions and disciplines are taking the initiative in many environmental fields where foresters have equal, if not more, expertise. If the forestry schools are too slow to change as they should, both the schools and the profession will be forced to accept minor roles (Nordin).

The important requirements for environmental studies are that they be multidisciplinary, emphasize synthesis and integration, and that there be sufficient flexibility in universities to permit contributions from all relevant resources. There should be emphasis on teaching at the undergraduate level so that adequate attention can be given to required curricular innovations. Advantage should be taken of new teaching methods, again so that there will be more opportunities for curricular innovations. Curricula must be continually evaluated and must be kept dynamic to accommodate change. Forestry schools should become less rigidly organized so that they may innovate and exchange courses with, and cooperate with, other departments. They should be less aloof on the campus and there should be less emphasis on departmental barriers and more on areas of common interest. Bachelor programmes could be developed in environmentally oriented natural resource studies and landscape design (Nordin).

Forestry education will now have to aim at achieving an understanding of the complexity of forest ecosystems and the decision-making which affects them. This will represent a reversal in educational policy because from the beginnings of professional education in forestry attempts have been made to simplify planning and management procedures; now the effort must be toward complexity (Spurr and Arnold). Forestry schools should cooperate and exchange information on the international plans in order to share new knowledge and experience on environmental problems (Claver).

(It has been said that the function of excellence in professional education is not to produce outstanding members but to attract recruits who are already outstanding members [Duerr].) It is to the advantage of the profession to attract outstanding recruits. There would be a desirable propulsive effect; talented recruits would eventually improve the forester's image and this would attract more talented recruits. Different talents are required for different stages of forestry development; countries with lower per caput incomes and abundant forest resources will need talents in technology and business management; wealthier, more developed countries will place more emphasis on environmental appeal and so will require talents in social sciences and biology (James, Craws and Garland).

To attract talented recruits, forestry must be presented as a profession that has great relevance and effectiveness for pressing social and environmental problems. Also, the educational system must be intellectually broad and flexible, with less stress on traditional dogma; there needs to be a curricular change away from emphasis on timber management toward emphasis on environmental management (James, Craws and Garland).

Forestry may emerge as the dominant natural resource profession. Educational comprehensiveness and flexibility toward the needs of society could make the forester more acceptable than other resource specialists who are dedicated to a single specialization or who, while having comprehensive scientific understanding, lack technical competence (James, Craws and Garland). (The question arises, does such educational comprehensiveness imply a basic, generalist forestry education? If so, there could be conflict with the need for professional specialization expressed in Van Miegroet's paper, and with the suggestion of bachelor programmes in environmentally oriented natural resource studies contained in Nordin's. The issue of generalist versus specialist undergraduate education for environmental objectives merits discussion.)

The amount of environmental understanding achieved by the 'public may be limited, but their recognition of environmental values is increasing rapidly. There are increasing demands by the public to be listened to on environmental matters and to have their values respected in decisions which affect forests (James, Craws and Garland). (The implication is that foresters should be able to explain to society what they are trying to do and why, and to persuade society to accept their proposals.) Skills in communication and public relations need to be conferred on foresters in their basic training so that they may achieve better exposition and be more persuasive (Nordin). (Foresters often face a professional dilemma about management decisions which affect environmental features. By following the principle of public consultation before decision, they run the risk of attracting response only from extremist or uninformed elements who arbitrarily oppose any manipulation of the environment, and this can cripple a worthy project. On the other hand, faits accomplis without prior public consultation can result in such strong public disapproval of the profession that foresters may achieve less in the long run. This problem impinges a great deal on the matter of public education in forestry and merits discussion also.)


(a) Do the new environmental demands represent greater justification for specialization at the undergraduate level? Does the commission favour specialized undergraduate programmes in environmental resources, or does the commission favour a basic generalist course at the undergraduate level? If the commission favours the latter, how may sympathy for, and some knowledge of, other related disciplines best be grafted on to a basic generalist forestry education? An associated question is, how may sympathy for, and some knowledge of, forestry best be conferred on engineers, agriculturists, landscape designers, etc.?

(b) What attitude should the forester take in the public arena concerning the environmental consequences of his management proposals? Should. he follow consistently the principle of public consultation before decision and accept the inevitable delays and setbacks? Or should he be less deferential, make decisions which he considers are for the public good and then tell the public about them afterwards? Perhaps there is an intermediate attitude which he could adopt. Whatever attitude he does adopt, the understanding of forestry which the public possesses will be a key factor whether he is successful or not. What is the view of the commission on this problem and what are the implications for public education?


(1) CLAVER, I. 1972 El papel de la escuela forestal ante las nuevas exigencies de conservación de la naturaleza. (General paper C. II)

(2) DUERR, WILLIAM A. 1972 The heredity and environment of professional forestry education. J. For., 70(1):21-24.

(3) JAMES, L.W., CRAWS, D.L. & GARLAND, J.J. 1972 Attracting talented students. (General paper C. II)

(4) NORDIN, V.J. 1972 Forestry education and the environmental crisis. General paper C. II)

(5) SPURR, STEPHEN H. & ARNOLD, R. KEITH. 1971 The forester's role in the face of social and economic change. (FO: WCFET/7l/31.

(6) VAN MIEGROET, M. 1972 Le forestier et les problèmes de l'environnement. (General paper C. II)

Commission II papers


Anaya, H.

Cómo determinar y perfeccionar un plan de estudios técnicos en materia forestal: el caso de un país en desarrollo

Chandra, R.

Forest worker instructor training: approaches and problems in India

Claver, I.

El paper de la eseuela forestal ante las nuevas exigencies en materia de conservación de la naturaleza

Guillard, J.P.

L'éducation permanente des forestiers

Heath, V.

Technical and vocational training in forestry

Holopainen, V.

Information and technical advice for private forest owners: new problems and approaches

Hughes, J.F.

The role of universities in training forest managers

James, L.M., Craws, D.L. & Garland, J.J.

Attracting talented students

Kulkarni, D.H.

Plea for extending in-depth case studies as essential preparatives in the process of development planning of forestry education

Ledesma, N.R.

La enseñanza universitaria y la investigación forestal como instrumento para el desarrollo de los pueblos

Luna Lugo, A.

Bases pare la planificación de la enseñanza forestal

Mårsäter, B.

Training of forest workers

Nilsson, WE.

Clarifying the objectives of forestry education

Nordin, V.J.

Forestry education and the environmental crisis

Oblivin, J.F.

Scientific technical progress and the tasks of forest education

Rodriguez García, M.

Planeamiento y organización de un sistema nacional de formación forestal vocacional

Sisam, J.W.B., Kozinski, J. & Rukuba, M.L.S.B.

Applying the findings of the first World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training

Stoltenberg, C. & Dils, R.E.

Updating professional skills to meet changing forestry needs

Van Miegroet, M.

Le forestier et les problèmes de l'environnement

Verduzco Gutiérrez, J.

La planificación de la enseñanza y de la extension forestales

Yavorsky, J.M.

Planning a programme of continuing education for forestry in a developing country


Barghoorn, A.W.

La preparación profesional y la investigación en los campos forestales y madereros en America Latina: análisis del desarrollo y de la situación actual y proposiciones para la continuación del desarrollo

Bonilla, J.A.

La necesidad de un curso de post-grado de ciencias forestales en la zone sur de América Latina

Endo, T.

Present vocational education and training and its problems in forestry in Japan

Luna Llorente, F.

Influencia del servicio de extensión agraria en el sector forestal de explotaciones agropecuarias

Redhead, J.F.

The development of teaching in wood technology and forest engineering in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria


1. The commission regarded its discussion as a culmination of earlier international activities of forestry education. These included many initiatives of the FAO)) Advisory Committee on Forestry Education and the first FAO)) World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1971 with the support of Unesco and the International Labour Organisation.

2. The difficulties facing those concerned with forestry education today in part arise from the changing role of forestry in a changing world, but are also associated with the problem of providing an acceptable range of training within an acceptable time, bearing in mind the need to:

(a) cover a rapidly advancing technological field;
(b) give greater recognition to the socioeconomic aspects of forestry; and
(c) promote better public relations.

3. A large group of forestry students participated in the commission's proceedings and shared in the recognition that the approach to forestry education will vary greatly between different regions because of differences in background, needs and development stage. However, there are certain common elements.

4. Forestry is a synthesis of biological, economic and social factors with a great deal of emphasis being placed on the latter. It is important to instil into young foresters a sense of ethical responsibility. The important consideration is to whom is a forester beholden.

5. Forestry educators have responsibility not only to the general public, government and private employers and the academic community, but also to enrolled, past and potential students. In turn, each of these diverse groups has responsibility to forestry teachers. They have a right and obligation to be critical or complimentary of forestry education as the case may be. Consequently, there is a need for those concerned with forestry education to develop a meaningful exchange of views with all these groups.

6. Improved communication is essential to determine properly the objectives of forestry education and to overcome the prejudices and personal interests of the various parties concerned with forestry education. It is indispensable in order to arrive at forestry courses which are relevant to forestry needs in each country and which provide students with the basis, not only to adapt to change, but to direct and influence changes for the well-being of mankind.

7. It is important for the forester to participate in interdisciplinary studies; in so doing, however, he should not lose his specific expertise. It is most desirable for workers in forestry at all levels to have practical and manual skills in the forest. In this connexion examples were cited of the good quality of students who have already had practical experience.

8. Continuing education in forestry is needed at all levels, including the dissemination of information to the public. Forestry faculties and schools need to be involved with continuing education in cooperation with employers and the professional societies.

9. Continuing education is difficult for foresters in developing countries because graduates there are often a long way from their home universities and because university teachers have little time to contribute to extra programmes. These difficulties need to be communicated to appropriate international bodies like FAO) Foresters in developing countries should base themselves on the forestry practice of their own country, improve and test their experience through practice, assimilate the merits of other countries and raise their theoretical standards and technical competence in order to contribute to the forestry construction of their country.

10. The commission was informed that at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Sweden in 1972, there were two opposing points of view: that of the preservationists who want to leave things untouched and that of the users who want to use resources to provide people's social and economic needs. The forester should reconcile these two viewpoints according to circumstances, bearing in mind that forests are essential both for development and for environmental protection.

11. The commission considered the dilemma of whether a forester should consult the public before he made a management decision which would affect environmental quality or whether he should do what he thought to be best for the public good and then tell people about it afterwards. In many countries there is no alternative but to consult the public first. It is most important for the public to have a good understanding of forestry, and for the foresters to have a good understanding of the needs and desires of the people concerned about forestry.

12. There was still the need to inculcate a "forest sense" among all peoples of the world. This can often be done through ceremonies of various kinds. Foresters should be eloquent and, particularly, talk to children to convey to them the urgency of preserving or re-establishing the forest cover of the world and explain the contribution of forestry to the people's welfare.


13. To produce the resource managers of forest lands, better known as foresters, the need is for general foresters with a good understanding of forest biology and economics who possess the expertise to blend these together for forest management, and to interpret and relate them to more general social and economic conditions.

14. Forestry educators need to join more effectively with forest authorities in projecting the image of forestry so that the public is fully aware of the advantages to be gained from the forestry profession.

15. In order that students of high academic calibre and suited to the forestry profession are recruited, forestry educators should give high priority to meeting prospective students to inform them of forestry courses, future employment opportunities and the nature of forestry and its contribution to human well-being.

16. Field and manual competence is required in all levels of forestry workers, including professional foresters. Accordingly, all forestry courses should contain appropriate practical exercises.

17. Forestry graduates should have been tutored to speak and write fluently and precisely.

18. Since forestry is increasingly being recognized as closely involved in human welfare. it is important for forestry students at all levels to acquire a social awareness.

19. Before new forestry faculties are established, careful analyses should be made of the numbers and types of graduates required and of the employment opportunities available. Particular attention should be paid to international regional centres with transferable credits, which may reduce the need for national schools.

20. Special arrangements should be made for forestry teachers to travel in other countries and become informed of teaching methods, subject matter and world forestry trends. Encouragement should also be given to international meetings of heads of professional, technical and vocational forestry schools in order to exchange information. There would be substantial benefits from such meetings: for instance, spectacular reductions in vocational training periods, using new methods, were reported to the commission.

21. Teachers, employers and students should all be enabled to become involved in course development, evaluation and revision.

22. The commission endorsed the recommendations of the first World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training and noted with satisfaction that many had already been implemented or accepted.

23. Foresters need to maintain full contact with their colleagues working on similar problems throughout the world, so that the latest techniques can be adopted and incorporated. Unasylva, the FAO) forestry periodical, served a very useful purpose in this respect. The commission recommended that, despite the budgetary restrictions recently imposed on FAO, means be secured to continue the publication and allow for the further development of this periodical.

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