BS in Forestry in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) is a four year degree program that helps students gain a thorough understanding of the forest ecosystem and how it can be properly conserved and managed. The course combines ecology, biology, economics and social science to educate students how to manage forest ecosystems and apply knowledge of forestry science to help solve natural resource, environmental and energy problems.

The BS in Forestry program teaches students essential skills in the development of management plans and options for forested landscapes and implementing them while maintaining ecosystem integrity.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSF curriculum are divided into four main categories:
  • General Education Courses: Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Core Courses:
    • Forest Biological Sciences: Forest Ecology, Morphology, Taxonomy and Dendrology, Forest Wildlife and Biodiversity, Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement, Geology and Forest Soils, Forest Health, Tree Physiology,
    • Forest Resources Management: Introduction to Forestry, Forest Surveying and Engineering, Silviculture I – Forest Nurseries Plantation, Silviculture II – Silvicultural Systems, Forest Resource Economics and Valuation, Forestry Statistics and Measurements, Forest Management, Forest Business Management, Watershed Management, Geology and Forest Soils
    • Social Forestry and Forest Governance: Principles and Concepts of Social Forestry, Forest Governance and Policy, Forest Laws and Regulations, Forestry Extension, Agroforestry Systems
    • Forest Products Utilization: Wood Structure and Identification, Properties and Utilization of Forest Products, Chemistry of Forest Products, Production Management in Forest-Based Industries
  • Thesis or Practicum: The BSF program allows students to choose one of two graduation requirements; thesis or practicum. A student who chooses to make a thesis will find a topic of interest related to forestry and make an intellectual paper. Once finished, he/she will defend the thesis in front of a panel of judges. If a student chooses the Practicum/On the Job Training he/she should complete the number of hours intended for the program.
  • Electives: Multiple-Use Management, Range Management, Ecotourism, Environmental Impact Assessment, Geo-Spatial Method in Forestry, Forest Resource Policy and Advocacy
Students of the BSF program are taught lessons through classroom discussions and practical exercises. Aside from this, students also go on field trips to be able to observe and learn tasks related to forestry.

Is Forestry a profession?

Forestry is a profession. A graduate of BSF who passes the Forester Licensure Examination is called a Licensed Forester.

The responsibilities of a Forester include:
  • Establish short and long term plans for management of forest lands and forest resources.
  • Choose and prepare sites for new trees, using controlled burning, bulldozers, or herbicides to clear weeds, brush, and logging debris.
  • Plan and supervise forestry projects, such as determining the type, number and placement of trees to be planted, managing tree nurseries, thinning forest and monitoring growth of new seedlings.
  • Negotiate terms and conditions of agreements and contracts for forest harvesting, forest management and leasing of forest lands.
  • Analyze effect of forest conditions on tree growth rates and tree species prevalence and the yield, duration, seed production, growth viability, and germination of different species.
  • Plan and implement projects for conservation of wildlife habitats and soil and water quality.
  • Map forest area soils and vegetation to estimate the amount of standing timber and future value and growth.
  • Monitor wildlife populations and assess the impacts of forest operations on population and habitats.
  • Plan and direct construction and maintenance of recreation facilities, fire towers, trails, roads and bridges, ensuring that they comply with guidelines and regulations set for forested public lands.
  • Study different tree species' classification, life history, light and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions and resistance to disease and insects.
  • Develop new techniques for wood or residue use.
  • Develop techniques for measuring and identifying trees.

What are the admission requirements for the BS in Forestry program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • General Weighted Average (GWA) requirement: some schools that require a specific GWA upon graduation from secondary school.
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Aptitude for Science – interest in science most especially in plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment
  • Love for the outdoors
  • Ability to work in unfavorable conditions – as a student, you will be exposed in the field doing forestry related work thus you must be ready to face sudden weather changes and uncomfortable working environments
  • Interest in Environmental Issues
  • Inquisitiveness – the desire to discover new things and investigate existing information.
  • English Proficiency – since you will be writing a lot of technical reports and research materials, you need to be proficient in English most especially in written form
  • Mechanical Inclination – studying this course will require you to learn and use a variety of instruments utilized in forestry work therefore you must have strong mechanical inclination
  • Analytical skills – the ability to determine how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes
  • Detail Orientation – the ability to notice and identify even the most minute problems in a system, process or equipment
  • Planning skills – the ability to organize and prioritize activities/tasks effectively; must be able to think of ways on how to do a job efficiently

How difficult is BS in Forestry?

BS in Forestry is considered a fairly difficult course. Although it does not require high level mathematical skills, you need to pass many science based subjects, thus analysis and logical thinking is very much needed. In addition, you will be required to prepare technical papers and reports based upon issues or problems that you’ve observed in forest ecosystems that you will visit. The process of making this will consume a lot of time and will require a lot of thinking and analysis.

Expect to be exposed to different forest ecosystems, agencies and companies that protect the environment. Usually, you will be out in the field observing plants, trees and even animals and how they interact with the environment therefore you must always be ready. Students who cannot tolerate the outdoors and tiresome work will find this program very hard.

How long does it take to complete the BS in Forestry program in the Philippines?

The BS in Forestry program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Thesis/Practicum

Unlike other courses that require their students to make both a thesis paper and complete a Practicum/On the Job Training, the BSF program allows students to choose one from the two to comply. Students who are research inclined may choose the thesis option while those who are not may choose the Practicum/OJT.
  • Practicum:
    A student of the BSF program who chooses Practicum/OJT will most likely be assigned in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), private tree farms, forest nurseries or other related agencies and establishments which will provide more practical experience. This is done under the supervision of a Licensed Forester in the agency which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member. The number of hours required for the Practicum/OJT varies from one school to another.
  • Thesis:
    A student that chooses the thesis option will select a topic of interest related to current trends/issues in Forestry which will be approved by the Research Adviser. Upon completion, the student will defend his/her work in front of a panel where he/she will be graded on a certain criteria.

Forester Licensure Examination

To become a Licensed Forester in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Forestry needs to pass the Forester Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Foresters under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC). The exam is conducted once a year.The subjects included in the exam are as follows:
  • Forest Ecosystem
  • Social Forestry and Governance
  • Forest Engineering and Utilization
  • Forest Resource and Management
(See source)

Career opportunities for Forestry graduates

  • Jobs for licensed Foresters (board exam passers)

    • Forester in public and private agencies – survey and assess the health and status of public and privately owned woodlands, and develop conservation and management strategies.
    • Conservation Officers – responsible for managing resources and overseeing maintenance and recreation in regional, provincial, state and federal parks
    • Urban Foresters – oversee the maintenance of public parks, street trees and inner-city reservations; responsible for new planting, tree removal and monitoring problems and diseases with pests
    • Procurement Forester – responsible for the oversight and management of the procurement of timber and safe execution of the service contracts that conduct harvesting and transport work
    • Soil Conservationist – responsible for managing and protecting the integrity of soils, primarily by helping farmers and other land managers make the best use of the land without causing harm
    • Forest Ecologist – responsible for furthering our understanding of how natural and human-caused changes in the environment influence the behavior and abundance of species, and how interactions between species and their environment influence the natural world
    • Forest Hydrologist – work with water and water related tasks in the forest.
    • Forestry Scientist – concerned with tree genetics and biotechnology. Through research and selective breeding programs, foresters are finding ways to develop trees with more resistance to devastating pests.
    • Arboriculturist – cultivate and manage trees, hedgerows and shrubs.
    • Natural Resource Policy Analyst – responsible for leading in the development of management policies and legislation pertaining to land use, natural resources, fish and wildlife.
    • Forest Manager – work to preserve and protect forests and woodlands. They are responsible for carrying out safe and sustainable management of areas used for timber production, public recreation and natural preservation.
    • Forest Engineer – perform duties related to log removal from timber harvesting areas. These duties entail planning and directing the construction, installation and use of structures and equipment related to logging transport.
    • Forestry consultants – provide a wide range of services to commercial, governmental, recreational and conservational clients in determining the best way to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality and soil stability. They assist clients with the task of ensuring they are compliant with environmental laws and regulations.
    • Environmental Manager – responsible for overseeing the environmental performance of private, public and voluntary sector organizations; they also develop, implement and monitor environmental strategies, policies and programs that promote sustainable development.
  • Jobs for Non Board Passers:

    • Forestry Technician – responsible for performing a wide range of duties related to forest protection, management, harvesting and conservation
    • Forestry workers – making sure the natural habitats and forests are not harmed and is restored when necessary
    • Park Rangers – patrol parks, enforce rules and assist visitors who need help and information. Rangers also monitor problems such as flooding or insect infestation, and report conditions to supervisors.
    • Park Warden – responsible for the management and oversight of law enforcement, public safety and natural resources within national and provincial parks

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Reviews of BS in Forestry graduates:

A. C.
◈ Studied Bachelor of Science in Forestry
◈ At University of the Philippines Los Banos
◈ Graduated 2014

list bulletWhy did I choose Forestry: Besides the fact that the world needs "environmental superheroes", I wanted to land to a job where I can travel (a lot) and apply my field of expertise at the same time.

list bulletAbout my college education: I wouldn't say it's the most difficult degree program in the university but hey, nothing GOOD ever comes easy.

To be honest, in the 100+ years of existence of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources in UPLB, nobody has ever been a summa cum laude.


list bulletMy current job: Field/Action Officer - I travel, process papers relating to forestland tenure instruments, travel, perform ground validations, travel, submit reports and basically see the world, one step at a time.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: Less than a month

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: If you're up for an adventurous life, go. Forestry is not for the weaklings.
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