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Forestry MSc and BSc courses gain ICF accreditation

Posted 7 March 2016

Interest in forests, forest products and the ecosystem services provided by wooded landscapes, has never been higher as the economic, environmental and social benefits of woods and forests are increasingly recognised by governments, scientists, businesses and communities."

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The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has announced that it has accredited four forestry-related courses at Harper Adams University. 

The ICF is the Royal Chartered body for foresters and arboriculturists in the UK.

Two of the ICF-accredited courses are at postgraduate level, MSc Conservation & Forest Protection and MSc Forestry Management, and two at undergraduate level, BSc Countryside Management and BSc Countryside & Environment Management.  

Senior Lecturer Jim Waterson said: “This is an exciting time for forestry, both ecologically and economically.  Interest in forests, forest products and the ecosystem services provided by wooded landscapes, has never been higher as the economic, environmental and social benefits of woods and forests are increasingly recognised by governments, scientists, businesses and communities. 

“Global forest resources show both losses and gains in physical area and the policy and practice of forest conservation and protection has gathered pace and impact.  It is widely recognised that forests are the lungs of the world. 

“The great boreal forests cover almost 17 million square kilometres of North America, Europe and Asia. Tropical forests cover perhaps 6.5 million square kilometres and temperate forest systems another 10 million square kilometres.  

“Tropical forests are renowned as sources of biodiversity, the northern boreal forests are major regions of carbon sequestration and they too are under threat through timber and mineral exploitation. Without forests our climate would be drastically different from the one we experience today, much of the globe would be desert and uninhabitable.  Natural forests worldwide are under threat, both directly from human activities and indirectly through climate change.

“Forests and woodlands occupy distinct and highly important niches in global conservation strategies and our knowledge of these ecosystems and how they function is still inadequate to deliver complete inventories of their diversity or to put adequate conservation measures into place.  Our two MSc courses are ideally placed to meet the demands for highly skilled job-ready graduates for the 21st Century.”

Outlining the opportunities in forestry, which could lead to rewarding careers, Mr Waterson added: “New generation plantations offer the prospect to bring timber to world markets using faster rotations, advanced tree breeding, fully mechanised harvesting and greater technological input to planning and management of forests.  They are also important refugia for threatened wild life and provide educational and recreational uses for a significant proportion of the population.

Investment in forests and forestry is strong and continues to attract UK and global investors seeking the excellent returns and high environmental integrity that forestry offers. 

“With ever increasing demand for forestry products, and demand for commercial UK forests continuing to outstrip supply, there is a great future in this industry.   The forest management industry is actively seeking new management level staff to meet current and future workloads and development opportunities and Harper Adams graduates are increasingly filling these roles. 

“The increasing pressure on our forest resources by invasive pests and diseases means that more and more graduates able to recognise and identify these threats and to put into place preventive and curative strategies are needed.   A distinctive and integral feature of both our MSc courses is the high degree of input from forest and conservation scientists in collaborating governmental organizations and consultancies. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organisations.  

“The postgraduate programme offers a solid and effective way of studying forestry with a strong applied focus.  Both MSc courses offer considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions. 

Students holding a postgraduate qualification in Forestry Management could go on to work for the Forestry Commission, Tilhill Forestry, Kronospan, Lockhart Garratt, the Woodland Trust or private sector forest estates.  Students from the MSc in Conservation and Forest Protection have gone on to work for Research Institutes such as Forest Research, FERA, RHS Wisley and Kew, or become ecological consultants.  They have also gained employment with conservation bodies such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, The National Trust or overseas.  A number of graduates have worked as Council Tree Officers and Biodiversity Officers and others have joined the Forestry Commission.  

Research opportunities are also available, particularly in forest health and forest resilience, forest management and silviculture. Working in modern forest management and forest conservation offers exceptional opportunities for people who seek to combine challenging technical, scientific and commercial work with some of the best working environments that a professional career can offer.   

Why study forestry at Harper Adams:

  • Input from industry professionals, many of them Chartered Foresters, will ensure that curriculum is relevant and current and that students benefit from the experience and insight of managers with real-world responsibilities.
  • Industry visits and assignments based on professional projects and case studies reinforce this approach and help build links and networks that assist in employment and career development.  
  • Teaching is delivered through week-long modular blocks, which enables many students to successfully combine postgraduate studies with existing work commitments.
  • Students opting for the MSc in Conservation & Forest Protection will receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter a conservation or forestry-related work environment or a research career in conservation or forestry and woodland ecology.
  • The MSc was designed in response to demands from conservation bodies for people with practical conservation skills as well as a strong academic background and has a strong practical field based component in each taught module. 
     
  • Government loans are now available for Masters courses. Click for more information.

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