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The current state of professional forestry education in the United Kingdom

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Enrolments to Higher Education forestry courses have been in decline in the UK over the last decade. This trend has sparked widespread concern about the future of professional forestry education and recruitment of qualified graduates to the forestry sector. It is not clear if this decline is cyclical, or a permanent loss of interest in forestry as a university course and career option. A complex range of factors are responsible for the current situation; some are related to the education system in the UK, some to the forestry sector, and some are socioeconomic and cultural. Nonetheless, a similar pattern of decline in recent years has been seen in other natural resource disciplines, most notably agriculture, leading to the closure or merger of several university departments. This paper explores some of the issues that need to be addressed in order that forestry remains a relevant, viable and attractive university course.

Keywords: UK; decline; education; forestry; perceptions

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National School of Forestry, University of Central Lancashire, Penrith Campus, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0AH, UK.

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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