Forests cover around 31 percent of the world’s surface and play a critical role in ensuring the health of our planet. They serve as shelter for humans, habitat for animals, source of livelihoods, nourishment for flora and fauna as well as a crucial mitigator of climate change.
Despite their significance, their existence are under threat from excessive farming and deforestation, among other destructive agents and natural threats.
For instance, the Australian bushfires – said to be one of the worst to have struck the country in decades – have ravaged large swathes of land, reducing homes to ashes and threatening the existence of thousands of animals and plants who have had large portions of their habitat burned.
In a world facing a climate crisis and other natural disasters, it’s never been more important for there to be a new generation of foresters to keep us and our planet healthy.
A forestry degree typically covers a wide area of study, and may include subjects such as ecology, conservation biology, geography and public health, among others.
It teaches students how to actively plan for, observe and manage the health of the entire forest ecosystem. In addition, students also gain an understanding of the multiple usage of natural resources as well as knowledge on how to manage forested landscapes for sustainable business, conservation or recreational purposes.
So, if you’re looking to make contributions in this area or become an environmental changemaker, a degree in forestry or a related field might be on the cards.
Here are four universities in the UK worth considering:
COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING – BANGOR UNIVERSITY
The College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering offers world-class education in forestry and its related fields.
Bangor university has a wealth of expertise in the field, with over 110 years’ worth of experience in teaching forestry. As a testament to its prowess, the school is ranked fourth in the UK for the subject category “Agriculture Forestry and Food” in the Guardian League Tables 2020 and 10th for Agriculture and Forestry in the Complete University Guide League Table 2020.
Students can choose from numerous programmes, including the BSc (Hons) Forestry, a three-year long programme that aims to prepare students for the challenges of sustainably managing forests at a time of global environmental change. It is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and will provide partial fulfilment for Professional Membership Entry.
Meanwhile, the BSc (Hons) Geography with Environmental Forestry programme helps students develop knowledge and transferable skills across traditional subject boundaries. The courses place an emphasis on field visits and fieldwork, as well as opportunities to enhance employability through professional placements. Currently three students are on a conservation placement in Costa Rica, and others are on paid placements at James Jones and Sons in Lockerbie, with AW Jenkinson Forest Products in Cumbria and with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. The second year students are currently applying for paid placements with Forestry and Land Scotland, Furlong Forest Surveys, involving forest surveying work across Wales and Scotland Pryor and Rickett Silviculture and with Natural Resources Wales
There are also postgraduate programmes including the MSc Environmental Forestry and MSc Agroforestry and Food Security, among others.
SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE, POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT – UNIVERSITY OF READING
This university is ranked ninth globally in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019 (Agriculture & Forestry).
They offer numerous agriculture-related programmes under its School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. Agriculture combines the study of natural and life sciences with valuable academic and practical aspects of management.
The School covers a diverse range of academic topics, and has expertise spanning agriculture, international development, environmental management, marketing and animal science. They have 170 academics and researchers, who belong to five academic departments: Sustainable Land Management, Crop Science, Applied Economics and Marketing, International Development and Animal Sciences.
Prospective students can choose from a wide array of programmes, which include the BSc Agriculture programme, which covers everything that impacts production in the supply chain. It prepares students for senior roles in a wide range of farming enterprises.
As part of the degree, you can study globally-recognised farming practices on Reading’s own farms, in addition to having the option to focus on areas such as animal science and production, crop science and production, agri-environment or agri-business, or tailoring the course by combining these areas.
Other related programmes include BSc Agricultural Business Management, BSc Agriculture with Placement Year, MSc Agricultural Economics, MRes Agricultural and Food Economics, to name a few.
SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES – QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
Located in Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast is currently ranked 173 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2020.
This Russell Group university is also ranked in the top 140 in the world for graduate prospects in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020; 96 percent of Queen’s undergraduates and 94.1 percent of Queen’s postgraduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation, according to the HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, 2016/17.
If your interest lies in food safety and nutrition, this university offers agri-food degrees that are specifically designed to focus on areas of particular relevance to the future of the global food supply chain. They note that agri-food is increasingly operating in a global market for production, processing and distribution.
Undergraduate degrees offered by the School focus on contemporary food, animal and human health issues pertaining to agriculture and food industries.
At the postgraduate level, they offer varied programme of research to provide tomorrow’s industry professionals with an in-depth knowledge of current and emerging issues in the field of global food security, plus practical experience of the latest developments to provide the world’s population with a sustainable, safe and secure food supply.
Some of their other programmes include BSc Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition, BSc Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition with Professional Studies, MSci Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition, to name a few.
FACULTY OF SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE AND ENGINEERING – NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY
If you’re looking for a university with close industry links and high standards of teaching and academic guidance, this Russell Group public research university is for you. Newcastle provides prospective students with academic knowledge that are complemented by “real world” insight.
Its Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAGE) ensures students benefit from academic, pastoral and professional support services to so that they enjoy the best possible student experience. Every student has a personal tutor, with this relationship supported by an ePortfolio system.
Some of their programmes include the BSc Honours Agri-Business Management programme, which prepares students to learn about the management of businesses operating from the farm gate to consumer plates. Students can expect to gain business management skills and reflect on the key challenges of securing a sustainable food supply for this and future generations.
Some of the key topics covered in this course include food economics and management of agri-food businesses; food policy and its implications for businesses and consumers as well as evidence-gathering through data analysis.
This degree could lead to work in a range of international business sectors, such as food markets and marketing, retail management, and business consultancy.
Other agriculture-related programmes offered here include MEnvSci Honours Environmental Sciences (Agricultural and Environmental Science) with Placement and MEnvSci Honours Environmental Sciences (Agricultural and Environmental Science).
*Some of the institutions featured in this article may be commercial partners of Study International
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