Forestry is the practical application of scientific, economic and social principles to the establishment and management of ecosystems dominated by and including trees. This means that forestry encompasses management of natural forests and woodlands, tree plantations, and the many combinations of trees and agricultural activities known as agroforestry or farm forestry.
Forest management is concerned with the ecosystem as a whole, integrating all components of a particular ecosystem to achieve the objectives set by the forest or land owner. Forest management problems often require a multi-disciplinary approach, so foresters frequently work with other professionals in the natural and social sciences and in business.
Forestry focuses on the long-term sustainability of forested ecosystems, usually with time horizons from decades to centuries. These timeframes pose both strategic and operational challenges and means that planning on a variety over a range of time horizons underpins forest management.
Forestry education and training therefore involves the integration of many disciplines to manage forest ecosystems sustainably. Forestry programs typically include learning across the natural and social sciences, and in business principles; and the development of practically-oriented skills to apply them across a wide spectrum of forested ecosystems. Career paths can include professional foresters, natural resource managers and administrators, environmental managers, forest biologists, rangeland ecologists, conservationist biologists and park managers, forest and wood engineers, forestry business administrators, forest researchers, forest economists and rural-enabling practitioners. With increasing urbanisation and associated pressure on fragmented ecosystems, strategies and principles traditionally used in management of native forests are increasingly applied to urban forests and woodlands.
The Australian Research Council’s State of Australian University Research 2015 identifies eight Australian universities undertaking world leading forestry science research: the Australian National University, Murdoch University, Southern Cross University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Western Sydney. All eight universities offer forestry and forest-related undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in environmental science and environmental management that are forest-related are offered by other Australian universities; these include Charles Darwin University, Griffith University, James Cook University, University of New South Wales and University of Western Australia. Outlines of forestry and forest-related courses offered by Australian Universities were sourced from these universities and are described below.
International forestry schools such as the Faculty of Forestry University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), School of Forestry University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand), Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences (University of Freiburg, Germany) and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Yale University, New Haven, USA) offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that have attracted Australian students studying forestry, forest science and forest-related environmental management.