Expert Consultation on Forestry Education

Society's attitudes towards forests and forestry have changed as awareness of the many values of forests has increased. These changes have resulted in an observable evolution in the forestry sector, particularly in forest science; education systems and information and communication technologies; forest management practices and technologies; job markets and stakeholders; and global conventions and forest policies. Forestry education must adapt to these changes in order to provide foresters with the knowledge, abilities and attitudes necessary to ensure the future sustainability of the world's forests.

An Expert Consultation on Forestry Education, organized by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Forests of Morocco, was held from 17 to 19 October 2001 in Rabat, Morocco. The main objective was to discuss the current status of forestry education, global changes in the forestry sector and the implications of these changes for new profiles of foresters.

Participants of the Expert Consultation on Forestry Education held in Rabat, Morocco, 17-19 October 2001.

The Consultation developed a number of recommendations for FAO and its member countries, which were grouped into four sections:

  • Mechanisms and tools to help forestry education institutions interact and exchange information. These include networks at the national, regional and international levels to encourage conceptual debate.
  • Strengthening forestry education programmes. The capacity of institutions and programmes should be reinforced and updated to respond to recent changes.There is a need to reorganize the teaching-learning system and to develop qualifications for continuing learning, such as critical thinking skills and analytical and problem-solving skills, based on real issues. Forestry education should include the development of the social skills necessary for foresters' role as advisers to forest users and as participants in dialogue with various stakeholders.
  • Curriculum revision, development and implementation. Forestry education curricula should respond to the evolving values assigned by society to forest goods and services. There is a need for an interdisciplinary focus in forestry education; the curriculum should include social and economic aspects. Teaching approaches should be sequenced to proceed from a holistic view to the specific, and should foster the understanding of the social, economic and biophysical dynamics in forestry. Promotion of staff training in participatory curriculum development was also recommended.
  • Provision of forestry education to all stakeholders. The meeting discussed types of stakeholders and methodologies for ensuring their education through both formal and non-formal means, including the media. Rethinking of traditional roles in forestry education and the education of the general public were emphasized.

The meeting concluded that forestry education, as an integral part of national forest programmes, should address the need for an integrated approach at the technical and policy levels towards management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. It should give attention to the link between forestry and agricultural sustainability, and more specifically to the role of forestry in food security, income generation and the livelihoods of different sectors of society.

For more information on the Expert Consultation please consult theMeeting ReportandCase Studiesthat were prepared for the meeting.
last updated:  Thursday, December 9, 2004