Forestry is an applied science that involves managing forest ecosystems
within increasingly complex social environments. It combines forest ecosystem
sciences, management sciences, and communications skills for managing forest
resources to meet society’s ever-increasing needs for desired products,
services, and forest conditions.
A forester is a professional who must understand the many different aspects
of managing natural and human elements of forest systems. Forestry requires a
broad education. Biological and physical sciences deal with the complex
interactions of forest ecosystems. Social sciences provide understanding of how
humans value forest conditions and forest-based products and services.
Management sciences help foresters to match human needs and desires with the
sustainable capabilities of forests. A forestry student faces a challenging and
The University of Maine has the longest, continuously accredited professional
forestry program in the United States. We will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the program in 2003. Forestry, Forest Operations Science and
the Master of Forestry program are the only programs in Maine
that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters as first degrees in
professional forestry. The goal of the Bachelor of Science degree program at the
University of Maine is to combine instruction in 1) the basic sciences and
liberal arts that are fundamental to a college education, 2) practical forestry
skills that will allow a graduate to compete for entry-level positions, and 3)
fundamentals of applied forest resources and management sciences on which
graduates can build throughout their careers.
The BS in Forestry curriculum requires completion of 128 credits of
coursework. In addition to the University’s general education requirements in
science, human values, communications, mathematics, and ethics, the curriculum
includes forest-oriented courses in biology, soil science, measurements,
mapping, inventory, protection, ecology, tree culture, economics, policy, and
administration. These are combined into an integrated approach to the management
of forests for desired, sustainable conditions that respond to society’s demands
for a healthy forest environment, wood-based products, wildlife habitat,
recreational opportunities, and water resources.
The Forestry program at the University of Maine retains a strong field
orientation. Training in a forest setting begins with the first semester. The
University’s 1270-acre Dwight B. DeMeritt Forest is adjacent to the campus.
Together with the nearby Penobscot Experimental Forest, this property is part of
nearly 10,000 acres of forestland, owned by the University, that provide living
laboratories for forestry education and research. Large areas of public and
private, industrial, and non-industrial forestland near the University provide
additional opportunities. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of
the numerous opportunities for summer employment with public and private
Students in the Forestry program have an opportunity to study, interact, and
often work with the large number of graduate students from around the world who
have been attracted to forest-related studies at the University of Maine. The
forestry faculty members are involved in active research programs, as well as
teaching. Students learn from teachers who, themselves, continually explore and
extend the latest knowledge in their areas of forest science. Faculty members
are assigned between 10 and 15 undergraduate students for academic advising.
The Forestry program provides a very broad education that allows foresters to
seek employment in a wide range of positions, but most work with some aspect of
forest resources management. Federal agencies, such as the United States Forest
Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service employ
many foresters. State natural resources agencies hire foresters to manage state
forestlands and to provide advice to owners of small woodland properties.
Non-governmental conservation organizations employ foresters to further the
interests of their programs. Especially in Maine, which has more industrial
forest acreage than any other state, forest industry is a major employer. An
increasing number of forestry graduates become independent consultants, serving
mostly non-industrial private forestland owners such as the thousands who own
more than half of Maine’s timberland.
The B.S. in Forestry program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters. The Society is recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation as the specialized accrediting body for forestry in the United States.