A Comparison of Forestry Continuing Education Academic Degree Programs de Jong, Wil; Huang, Kebiao; Zhuo, Yufang; Kleine, Michael; Wang, Guangyu; Liu, Wei; Xu, Gongxin
Forestry professionals are expected to be well trained and skilled. This facilitates progress in multiple global efforts to ensure a synergistic contribution of forests and the forest sector to sustainability goals. In recent years, societal demands and expectations associated with forests and the forest sector have changed profoundly. Forests have traditionally been a key resource that contributes to people’s livelihoods; however, this has only been fully embraced among forest professionals within the past 30 years as one of the responsibilities of the sector’s role in society. Forests are the largest repository of carbon stocks and have been assigned a major role in global efforts related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The changing role of the forest sector is resulting in changes in forestry higher education programs and curricula; however, these changes are occurring unevenly in different regions of the world. One major effort to ensure that forestry professionals have the requisite training and skills, and the ability to implement technical management, public administration, and knowledge creation, are post-graduate training and higher education programs for early career forestry professionals. These programs aim to update a professional’s knowledge and skills to adjust to the changing societal demands on forests, and to address deficiencies in professionals’ undergraduate education. This paper reviews and compares five programs that aim to update and improve knowledge and skills among forest professionals, with a special focus on the Asia Pacific region. After reviewing and comparing several programs, the paper reflects on trends and their possible implications.
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