Forests have traditionally been managed primarily as sources of timber and revenue. However, there is increasing recognition of their immense cultural, social and environmental role, focused particularly by recent United Nations conferences in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. Increasingly the focus of forest management has shifted to include biodiversity maintenance, ecological sustainability, and the protection of wildlife and their habitats. Canadians, as custodians of 10% of the remaining global forest cover, and 25% of the undisturbed frontier forest, have both the option and the responsibility to provide global leadership in forest conservation and sustainable forest management. Forest conservation programs prepare students for this critically important role by combining traditional ecological (biology, zoology) and physical (soil science, hydrology) sciences with social sciences. Forest conservationists increasingly focus on complex, emerging social and community issues, such as aboriginal rights and land tenure, protection of wilderness parklands, preservation of urban green space, and the use of forests for carbon sequestration.
Responsible stewardship of our forests and the changing focus from industrial timber production to forest conservation has greatly expanded the range of expertise necessary. Graduates can pursue a wide range of new career opportunities developing in private, government and non-government environmental organizations where forest conservationists increasingly work as members of multidisciplinary teams of environmental and resource managers. Graduates from forest conservation programs can also pursue graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines, including forest conservation, forestry, environmental sciences and international development.
Students may take a specialist 4-year degree leading to an H.B.A. in Forest Conservation or an H.B.Sc. in Forest Conservation Science. The arts program focuses on communal forest management, development of forest policies, forest economics and forest product trade, with electives in social sciences, while the science program concentrates on forest biology and ecology with electives in life and physical sciences.
The specialist programs provide a grounding in forest conservation with emphasis on breadth as well as research depth, and can particularly meet the needs of individuals who are considering graduate level education in forestry (M.F.C., M.Sc.F. or Ph.D.).
The major programs in Forest Conservation are intended to build on a students interest in forestry and related issues. Students should consider combining these programs with a major in another related discipline such as environment, geography, biology, chemistry, urban studies or architecture.
A minor in Forest Conservation Science (Science program) and a minor in Forest Conservation (Arts program) are also available. Students should consider combining these programs with a minor in other related disciplines.
Forest Biomaterials Science
Canada is not only a key player in global forest conservation but also a world leader in Forest Biomaterials Science and Biorefinery education and research. Wise and innovative use of forest biomaterials is a mandatory component of global forest conservation. It is recognized that right and proper use of forest-based materials can help resolve global environmental problems as they are renewable, have low life cycle costs and contribute to carbon sequestration. Traditionally, forest materials have been used in wood construction and paper products. Today, new and exciting technologies are transforming the forest resource into biodegradable polymers, specialty chemicals, nanomaterials and carbon neutral fuels. Students in this program will acquire a thorough understanding of forest sustainability; material science of wood, lightweight composites, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products,and other forest based materials; bio-conversion technologies related to forest and agricultural materials and optimal use and maintenance of natural fibre based materials. The program is highly interdisciplinary, combining aspects of forestry, biology, chemistry, chemical and mechanical engineering and building sciences.
The major and minor in Forest Biomaterials Science will be of interest to students that recognize the value of conserving the forest through good design, application and utilization of forest based products. Graduates from this program can pursue careers in private industry, research and government organizations where knowledge of new and changing technologies will be required to lead the transformation from petro-chemical based industries to ones established on renewable biomaterials.
Undergraduate Co-ordinator: Professor Sean Thomas, Room 4012 , Earth Sciences Centre (416-978-1044)
Undergraduate Administrator: Laura Lapchinski, Room 1017A, Earth Sciences Centre (416-978-5480)