For many people, the forest is a synonym for nature and relaxation. But of the forest areas that once covered almost all of Germany, only eleven million hectares are left. Wood is one of the most important renewable raw materials . At the same time, the forests offer a unique habitat for many animals and plants and are essential for the climate budget.
The field of study forest sciences
You can study forest sciences at several universities and technical universities in Germany. An essential focus within forest sciences is the subject of forestry, which is usually offered by universities of applied sciences . Basically, studying at the FH is more practical than at the university and is characterized by practical exercises and practical semesters.
If you want to become a forest scientist, you shouldn’t just love the forest. Knowledge of natural science subjects such as biology or chemistry is required for the course. In addition, the students should be interested in economic, legal and political issues .
In the forest science course, students learn how to use, care for and protect forests optimally. After graduation, forest science graduates are fully familiar with the ecological and economic aspects of forests .
Bachelor’s degree in forest sciences
In the bachelor’s degree, prospective forest scientists first get to know the forest ecosystem . They are also introduced to the basics of forestry . At the beginning, basic subjects such as biology, chemistry, zoology or economics are on the curriculum in order to be able to understand all connections correctly.
In later semesters, subject-specific content such as forest business administration, dendrology or forest inventory is taught. In addition, forest science students choose a focus at most universities :
- Environmental Protection
- Economic use of the forest
Master’s degree in forest sciences
According to microedu, a master’s degree in forest sciences offers the opportunity to deepen the knowledge acquired and to qualify for management positions . Depending on the university, different focus areas such as wood management or forest ecology are on offer. The bachelor’s degree in forest science qualifies for a master’s degree in related fields, such as agricultural sciences or environmental protection.
Forest science abroad
Similar to Germany, foreign universities prefer to offer forest sciences in more rural areas . Interesting courses in forestry and forest science can be found in the areas of agricultural or environmental science .
Depending on the climatic, geographical and political conditions of the region , the focus of the forest sciences degree differs . This is expressed in specialized courses such as Wildland Fire Management or Forest Hydrology .
Advantages of studying forest sciences abroad
Studying forest sciences abroad offers the exciting opportunity to get to know new forest forms in addition to the Central European mixed forests . For example, the Redwood Forests in Northern California with their majestic sequoia trees, or the eucalyptus forests in Australia, threatened every year by bush fires and the “cravings” of koalas .
As part of the course, excursions and “field work” take place in which the differences between the ecosystems – partly in the university’s own forests – can be experienced up close. In contact with local students and professors, international students experience the challenges forest scientists face in other parts of the world.
Many forest scientists work in the public service after completing their studies. The training at German universities prepares the graduates specifically for the higher state forest career as forest office manager . Studying at the University of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, enables you to work as a district manager or forester in the higher service .
Typically, forest managers or foresters are employed by a state institution:
- State forest districts and forest offices
- Forest Directorates
- Forest planning agencies
- State forest administrations
- Forestry departments of governments and ministries
Alternative employers for forest scientists in the private sector include:
- Offices and authorities in nature and environmental protection
- Administrations of local recreation areas
- Advocacy groups
- Educational institutions
- International organizations
- Private forest companies
- Companies in the wood processing industry
- Engineering offices
- Management consultancies
A scientific career at the university or in state and private research institutes is also possible, especially for Master’s graduates.
Career options with studying abroad
Anyone who deals professionally with the forest sector inevitably works in an international environment . Problems like global warming and the extinction of species can only be solved on a global level. Exchange projects, cooperation with international authorities and companies or work in development cooperation are not uncommon.
One or more semesters abroad can prepare you for successful work abroad: They offer a unique opportunity to sharpen your professional profile, improve your foreign language skills and make valuable international contacts.
Equivalence of a degree abroad
With a foreign degree, the path to the state forest service is basically open if the degree is equivalent . A foreign bachelor’s degree is sufficient for senior service . If you are planning a career in higher forest service, you need a master’s degree abroad .
It is advisable to clarify the equivalence of the degree before starting to study abroad . Depending on the federal state, the contact persons for this are the environment or agriculture ministries, chambers of agriculture or state forest administrations.