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Forest, Forestry, Forester: What Do These Terms Mean?

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The terms forest, forestry, and forester are fundamentally linked. Definitions have evolved over time in response to changes in knowledge, use, and increased needs for clarity and precision in communication. Thus the terms have had different meanings depending on location, time, and societal use. They should be viewed as a trilogy to ensure that mutually compatible definitions are used–ones coined at the same time that meet comparable scientific, technical, and professional needs. As we communicate across agencies, regions, and nations and share information about the world's forests, the lack of standard definitions means that we should use forest, forestry, and forester with care and use definitions that reflect current knowledge and context.

Keywords: communication; education; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; policy; public relations

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Professor Emeritus University of California–Berkeley, 145 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3114,

Publication date: December 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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