FAO-ITTO-IUFRO Global Forest Education Project

Why forest education is important

Forest education is fundamental to achieving sustainable forest management. Forest education must keep pace with changing societal demands on forests and the increasing pressures on forest resources.  Concern has recently been expressed in international fora that forest education is insufficient, outdated and deteriorating in many places. Without a cadre of well-trained forest managers and policy makers, it will be impossible to maximize the contributions of forests and trees to sustainable development. The future of forests depends on attracting talented students to forest programmes and equipping them  with the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace. Expanding continuing education and informal training opportunities for forest professionals, members of forest communities,  private forest owners and the private sector is also crucially important. Providing easy access to information on forest education and to learning materials, including through web-based platforms, will expand the opportunities of forest-related learning to a far wider audience. Complementary efforts to raise the profile of forestry professions in educational curricula and within the general public are important to increase awareness and understanding of forests and of forest-related professions.

Global Forest Education Project

The Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Tropical Timber Organization and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations are the lead partners in a project entitled “Creation of a Global Forest Education Platform and Launch of a Joint Initiative under the Aegis of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests”.  The project is financed by the Germany Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It is operational from November 2019 through June 2021. 

The goal of the project is to catalyze, accelerate and enhance broad efforts in forest education at national and local levels in developing countries and to counteract the considerable deficiencies in forest education in many parts of the world.

The project is designed to prepare the foundation for a longer-term effort in forest education, envisaged as a Joint Initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.


Global assessment on forest education

The project undertook an assessment of the status of forest education globally. For the first time ever, a survey was carried out to inventory ongoing activities, key actors, objectives and achievements at all levels of formal education.

Six regional assessments based on the survey results and information from a literature search and from forest education experts were completed.  These reports were synthesized in a global report on the status of forest education




International Conference on Forest Education  

©FAOThis major international conference brought together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the status of forest education in the six regions, identify needed actions to improve forest education and provide recommendations for a multi-partner effort to address the needs.  




Online forest education resources

©FAO/Roberto CenciarelliTwo project components are aimed at improving online resources on forest education.

  • Online Platform on Forest Education
    A prototype of an online platform to provide information on forest education globally is being developed under the leadership of IUFRO.
  • Online Learning Course on Legal and Sustainable Supply Chains for Tropical Timber and Forest Products
    This course is being developed under the leadership of ITTO as a pilot effort in online forest-related learning.

Vision and strategy for a multi-partner initiative on forest education

©Sonya YangFAO, ITTO and IUFRO along with other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests will prepare a vision and strategy that will form the basis for a Joint CPF Initiative on Forest Education. 





Students call for Investing in forest education for a sustainable future

Providing students with a foundation to better understand the vital role of forests is a critical step to safeguarding natural resources for future generations. Raising awareness among today’s children about sustainable use and conservation encourages the young adults of tomorrow to make responsible decisions about the environment.


Message on the importance of forest education from Matthias Schowerer of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Matthias Schwoerer, Head of Division, European and International Forest Policy, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany explains why the German Government has committed to support major new initiatives to increase professional training and early skills development in forest education for children.



last updated:  Friday, February 24, 2023