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The Breakdown

Forests are fraught with complex economic, social and ecological issues. From sought after timber to recreational opportunities, they offer valuable resources that must be delicately managed. As a forestry major, you’ll learn all about this intricate ecosystem and how to ensure its renewability and sustainability.

Majoring in forestry means your course-load will be chockfull of rigorous science classes. Of course, you’ll study the more “traditional” subjects like biology and chemistry. However, you will also take classes in more specialized and targeted areas such as soil science, botany and silviculture (the art of tending a forest). You will also likely study wildlife habitat, watershed integrity and wood production as well as fire prevention. Additionally, many programs are increasingly adding green elements to their curriculum, including courses on land ethics, sustainable design and responsible forestry. And if you’re wary of textbook learning, you’re in luck. Most forestry departments combine classroom study with both laboratory and field work. In fact, a number of schools require you to log time in forests and national parks.

It's understood that forestry majors, by and large, have a love of the outdoors and a passion for nature and conservation. Students should be math and science oriented and able to synthesize information from a number of different fields. Leadership and problem solving skills are also paramount as is a strong desire to implement environmentally sustainable practices.

Nuts and Bolts

Forestry majors will have a science (and social science) laden curriculum with classes such as: Botany, Introduction to Soil Science, Environmental Sociology, Landscape Design, Dendrology, Forest Ecology, Forest and Watershed Restoration, Physical Geology, Natural Resource Management Decisions, Chemistry, Silviculture, Principles of Conservation Biology.

Decisions, Decisions

Forestry majors are typically fascinated by a variety of science and nature fields and might also consider studying ecology, environmental studies, environmental engineering, botany, biology, chemistry, hydrology, geology, landscape architecture, conservation biology and wildlife management.

What's Next

Fear not forestry majors; there are a wide variety of employment opportunities available to you. Not surprisingly, a number of graduates land positions as a forest ranger, supervisor or pathologist. Others put their knowledge to use as arborists, ecologists, plant physiologists or even zoologists. Additionally, some apply their education to farming or managing wildlife or fisheries. Whatever the path you ultimately take, a forestry major will allow you to combine your love of nature and science and surely lead to a rewarding career.


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