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Natural Resource Professional Continuing Education Needs in Minnesota: Focus on Forest Management Guidelines

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Approaches to forest management are changing as the public's expectations for forest resources broaden, environmental concern grows, and scientific knowledge about forests advances. Natural resource professionals rely in part on continuing education to stay abreast of new ideas and strategies for managing forest resources. In Minnesota, new voluntary timber harvesting and forest management guidelines are changing forestry, and continuing education is a vital strategy for encouraging use and demonstrating the application of these nonregulatory guides. To ensure that such educational programs are successful, a series of focus groups was conducted to learn about natural resource professionals' education needs with regard to the voluntary timber harvesting and forest management guidelines. This needs assessment reveals that natural resource professionals want to become familiar with the rationale and background behind the guidelines, learn how to work with the flexibility built into the guidelines, and practice making decisions about which guidelines to use in various situations. Natural resource professionals prefer outdoor workshops with loggers that allow for interaction among participants. We present recommendations for conducting forest management guideline education programs; these recommendations also apply generally to education programs for other natural resource professionals.

Keywords: Continuing education; forest management guidelines; natural resource professionals; needs assessment

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Resources, 2: Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 55108,

Publication date: June 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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