Development of human resources and employment stressed by FAO committee
The importance of human resources in forestry development was stressed by members of the FAO Advisory Committee on Forestry Education at its seventh session held in Hyvinkää, Finland, in August.
The Committee, whose main objective is to advise on the development and implementation of FAO programmes in forestry education, gave general endorsement to FAO's proposals for a medium-term programme on human resources development and employment in forestry to be submitted to the Swedish International Development Authority. It also discussed the need to include social relations components in forestry education and drew attention to the concept of the integration of work and study. It reiterated its involvement in the evaluation of forestry education programmes, underlined the need for high standards of appraisal according to social as well as economic criteria, and welcomed the Finnish Government's intention to set up an international Training Centre for Forestry and Forest Industries.
Before adjourning, the Committee elected a new Chairman, Australia's Prof. J.D. Ovington, and thanked its retiring Chairman, Prof. S.D. Richardson, of the United Kingdom, for his contribution to the advancement of FAO's activities in forestry education.
For the first time, three forestry student representatives were invited to attend the Committee's session.
Social relations units for forest services
Representatives of 14 developing countries from Africa and the Caribbean, attending a seminar on forestry social relations, recommended that their countries consider the establishment of social relations units in their forest services and that FAO be requested to assist them in this effort. They also called for the incorporation of training in social relations work in forestry curricula, and the introduction of some forestry knowledge and practice in the general school syllabi of educational institutions. They suggested that, in addition to holding similar seminars in the future, FAO organize workshops on the practical aspects of social relations for public relations officers.
The seminar was held in April at FAO Headquarters in Rome and was sponsored by FAO and SIDA. It was designed as a follow-up to two previous meetings, a seminar of forestry social relations held in Sweden in 1966 and a course in audiovisual aids and public relations held in the United Kingdom in 1970. The aim of this year's meeting was to review the experience gained since then and to plan future programmes.
FAO is planning two similar seminars for French- and Spanish-speaking countries.
An international directory of forestry schools
A new World List of Forestry Schools has been compiled by FAO'S Forestry Department. It is part of the forthcoming World Directory of Forestry Schools, to be completed in 1975, prepared on the recommendation of the FAO/SIDA World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training, held in Stockholm in 1971.
The list, divided in two parts, covers university and other forestry schools functioning in FAO Member Nations as well as in countries of forestry importance with membership in the United Nations but not in FAO. The countries are grouped in regions, listed alphabetically.
The information was obtained from a survey conducted by FAO in 1973 and further research in 1974. The list does not duplicate others since it has a wider geographical coverage, includes nonuniversity-level institutions and is trilingual
(English, French and Spanish). It has been sent to all the institutions it mentions, to forest services, professional forestry associations and other agencies concerned, and constitutes FAO'S basic fist for distribution of information and publications to forestry schools.
UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN STUDENT inside tropical forestry
Technical education needs teacher training, career prospects
Principals of technical-level forestry schools from 1 countries in the Near East, Asia and the Far East attending a course in educational planning stressed the need in their homelands for more and better teacher training together with improved career opportunities.
The course, which lasted from 19 August to 13 September, was held in Stockholm and sponsored by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA) and FAO. The participants came from Bangladesh, Burma, India, Indonesia, Iran, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.
The principals agreed that priorities in technical forestry training in developing countries should include more attention to participative teaching methods, the production of textbooks and other teaching materials in the home country, and greater use of audiovisual aids. They also noted the need for broader planning of educational activities.
Forest inventory course held in Ibadan
Forestry officers from 14 developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean attended a month's course on the latest techniques in forestry survey work, held in August and September at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
The course, sponsored by SIDA and FAO, with the cooperation of the Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria, included lectures on objectives and planning of forest inventory, statistical and remote sensing techniques, forest mensuration, inventory design, computer programming and data processing. There were practical exercises dealing with statistical techniques, forest mensuration and computer programming. The participants discussed inventory case studies concerning Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania and French-speaking African countries, and heard an account of Sweden's National Forest Survey.
The course was directed by Prof. P. Loetsch, of the Federal Republic of Germany, retired Head of the Inventory Section of the Federal Research Organization for Forestry and Forest Products, Reinbek. The codirector was P.R.O. Kio, Principal Scientific Officer for Forestry of Nigeria's Agriculture Research Council. J.P. Lanly, FAO'S Forest Resources Surveys Officer, served as assistant director and O.O. Ntima, from Nigeria's Federal Department of Forestry, was liaison officer.
The forestry officers who participated came from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
This training course was preceded by another, the first, also sponsored by FAO/ SIDA, held in Sweden from 6 August to 27 September 1973, and will be followed next year by a third (FAO/Finland Training Course) to be held in Venezuela, probably in June and July.
Higher studies in wood technology and management in Ghana
The University of Science and Technology of Kumasi, Ghana, has created a two-year postgraduate course in Wood Technology and Management, leading to the degree of Master of Science (Wood Technology).
The course includes wood science, wood technology, economics and marketing, business administration and management.
Though designed to meet west Africa's needs, the course will admit students from other parts of the world provided they satisfy the University's entry requirements.
One course for four schools
Europe's four Nordic forestry schools of higher education held their second 10-day common course on "The Forests and Forestry of Developing Countries" in April 1974, at the Department of Forestry, Copenhagen.
Of the 30 students participating, 15 were from Denmark, 8 from Finland, 2 from Norway and 5 from Sweden. The course is now included in the list of optional subjects in the curricula of the participating schools; this, according to its organizers, accounts for its increased popularity. Written examinations were given in the students' home countries in May and June.
Compared to the first course, which as given in 1973, the second had fewer instructors, most of the subjects were broadened and they were covered in ore lessons. Another change was that all lectures were given in English. Emphasis was placed on demonstrating that development efforts in forestry and forest industries cannot be considered in isolation but should form an integral art of a whole development effort.
The course consisted of 60 lessons, as follows (number of lessons in parentheses): introduction (1), forests and forestry in developing countries (3), social aspects of forestry (7), land-use planning (7), forests and tree species in the tropics and subtropics (7), silvicultural problems in the Near East (4), tropical silviculture (9), logging and transport in tropical high forests (4), plantation forestry (4), logging and transport in tropical plantations (3), economy and marketing problems in forest industries (5), administration of forestry (2), Nordic development aid in forestry (4).
Three Scandinavian agencies for international development took part in the course: DANIDA (Denmark), NORAD (Norway) and SIDA (Sweden).
It is hoped that the 1975 course will be held at the Agricultural University of Norway.
Finn Helles, Copenhagen
(From Scandinavian Forest Economics)
Mountain roads and harvesting course in Austria
A training course on forest roads and harvesting in mountainous forests will be held in Ossiach, Austria, 1-29 June 1975. The schedule includes lectures, discussions, field trips, surveys and excursions. The list of speakers and lectures includes 34 specialists, and representatives from about 30 developing countries are expected to attend.
The course is a joint FAO and Austrian Government venture. For information write to R. Heinrich at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
More environmental education urged by OECD
The establishment of national councils on environmental education has been recommended for member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The recommendation was one of several to come out of an environmental education conference organized by OECD'S Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, held in Rungsted, Denmark, 4-7 June 1974.
In addition to setting up national councils with the aim of increasing environmental education, the group urged OECD members to establish "appropriate institutional structures," such as environmental forums, so as to strengthen and formalize lines of communication between scientists and decision-makers whose activities may influence environmental quality.
Other recommendation included:
- Adoption of "recurrent education" as a long-term strategy. This should aim at generating greater awareness of environmental issues and problems as well as creating more expertise in fields particularly relevant to environmental quality.
- Education and information activities should be designed to reach three separate groups: managers and decision makers, professional specialists with major environmental commitments, and the general public.
- A multidisciplinary approach is the essence of an environmental point of view, therefore it should play a part in all professional education.
Mixed feelings about increased enrolments in North America
The steady increase in enrolments in the forestry schools of North America, especially in the United States, is a trend viewed with mixed feelings by all those involved. The larger proportion of transfer students in forestry programmes has added to difficulties in scheduling sequences of courses and in reaching higher levels of training in advanced courses. The larger numbers of graduates have raised concern about overproduction for the available professional jobs. However, the variety of jobs which graduates are entering is broadening; the greater variety in background of transfer students is frequently an asset. Many more options or specialty curricula are being developed, and high school graduates are entering college with higher attainment in mathematics, science and communication. One other result of the tighter and more varied job market is a greater premium on the master's degree, with a wider distinction between the relative competencies and functions of the technician and the professional:
All these trends toward improvement of education raise the cost. Yet at this time requests for support for institutions of higher learning are receiving very severe questioning, and inflation is further eroding the actual funds available. Therefore, many forestry school faculties are forced to admit that they know how to teach better than they are doing at present under the crossfire of limited budgets and increased enrolments.
Forestry education in the United States and Canada is tending toward making the professional more of a land resource manager and perhaps less of a biological scientist, trying to teach him to work with people as well as things, and responding to the stronger environmental quality interest of the general public. At the same time forestry education is exposed to the countervailing demands of other sectors of that same general public who want more of the material goods which the forest can produce.
The balance point
The net result must eventually be a professional capable of avoiding both these extreme positions and of leading us to a balanced management programme for the greatest total welfare. But the means of reaching the balance point is not yet clearly seen, and all of us are going to suffer self-doubt and criticism while we work toward it. Variety in the nature of education programmes and a willingness to profit by experience are the best means of evolving toward that balance.
O.F. Hall, United States, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; J.A. Gardner, Canada, University of British Colombia
Coping with specialization in western and northern Europe
The goals of forestry education in western Europe and the Fenno-Scandinavian countries have widened. The amount of knowledge available to forestry has increased very much in recent years as a result of research. Students therefore have to give more attention to applied sciences than previously. But the number of years of university study have not expanded and the old conflict between education in breadth and education in depth is more acute. Forestry needs more and more specialists, but it still needs generalists. It can even be said that today "generalism" has become a form of specialization.
The cost of education per student increases sharply when studies become highly specialized. It becomes difficult for relatively small countries to maintain the minimum number of qualified teachers required for each specialty. One way of approaching this problem is through cooperative efforts between countries within a region and an attempt at this has been initiated in the Fenno-Scandinavian countries. It includes, among other things, the arrangement of joint specialized courses in subjects where the number of interested students is too small to warrant the same specialty being taught in each country.
The Fenno-Scandinavian countries used to lay great emphasis on practical training in forestry education. Students were required to gain experience as forest workers before they started their university studies and forestry education was, in that respect, markedly different from other forms of education. Today, however, under pressure from a general standardization of education, practical training in forestry education is more and more declining. This has proved unfortunate. The motivation for study has decreased and students do not have a frame of reference for their newly acquired experience and knowledge. Their study results have therefore deteriorated.
There have been attempts at reintroducing practical training but these have met with unexpected difficulties. Forestry in the Fenno-Scandinavian countries is today highly specialized and involves advanced technology, therefore it is hard to place students as forest workers. The result is that today much of the practical education is carried out within the framework of the forestry schools. This is unfortunate, because students are losing valuable opportunities for social training and experience which they can only get as workers on the job.
Vadim Söderström, Sweden
University of Stockholm
Ecological certification in U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service has established a new, strict certification programme to ensure that treatments applied to national forests are prescribed or reviewed for ecological soundness by certified Forest Service silviculturists. Certification is based on experience, graduate-level education and comprehensive examination. (candidates are screened on a competitive basis by the Forest Service and university professors. Foresters considered for training must have a minimum of one year of recent professional-level experience in a silvicultural or closely related field, and a bachelor's degree in natural science. Certification is valid for a three-year period after which the forester is required to take a two-week refresher course and pass an examination to maintain his qualifications.
This programme is officially known as "Continuing Education and Certification in Forest Ecology and Silviculture."