The Applied Forest Management Program is conservation-based, promoting the wise and sustainable use of our natural resources through an understanding of science. This theme is emphasized throughout the forestry curriculum.
It is the mission of the UMFK Forestry Program to nurture its students to become individuals who are responsible and skilled forestry professionals capable of performing all technical field tasks; who understand the tenets of good forestry and personnel management; who possess good communication and problem solving skills; who are aware of the ethical dimensions of their actions; and who are prepared to further their education at the university or as life-long learners.
The Applied Forest Management Program leading to an Associate Degree in Science is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). The program is designed to prepare students for careers in forestry. Students in the program study basic forestry, such as tree identification, tree measurement, forest ecology and silviculture. UMFK faculty members have worked closely with forestry professionals in industry and the Maine Forest Service to develop a curriculum that satisfies the needs of the employer. UMFK graduates provide skills that are the foundation of good forestry and conservation in Maine. Some of these skills include boundary surveying; forest inventory and mapping; and supervision of harvesting, thinning, and planting crews; as well as fire suppression, emergency management and other skills. UMFK’s forestry graduates have a broad forestry education and graduate with many marketable skills. Graduates find work as forest technicians, foresters, and forest rangers. Many graduates work in forest operations and several are GIS specialists. Potential employers include consulting foresters; land management companies; forest industry; and the forestry, conservation, and agriculture departments of the state and federal governments. Presently, the job-to-student ratio is very high, and a number of UMFK students have received permanent job offers prior to their graduation. Summer internships also are numerous.
This associate degree also may serve as entry to a baccalaureate education in business management, rural public safety, environmental studies, forestry or other fields. Several programs are available where students can complete the Associate of Science in Applied Forest Management and a baccalaureate degree within four years. For example, local industry encouraged UMFK to develop a forestry concentration under the Business Management major. With proper planning, a student can complete both degrees (Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science) in four years. Refer to the Business Major for more information. The Maine Forest Service worked with UMFK faculty to develop the concentration in Wildland Firefighting. UMFK graduates are fully-qualified to work as rangers for the Maine Forest Service, or for federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. Students interested in pursuing careers in government can further their education with a baccalaureate degree in Rural Public Safety, easily completing both degrees in four years.
Many of UMFK’s forestry courses are field-oriented and require the student to possess mobility in a field setting. Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented limitations; nevertheless, all students must be able to visit field sites and should realize that employment in forestry often requires a physical fitness exam by the employing agency.
Student Learning Outcomes
To successfully complete the Applied Forest Management program, each graduate will demonstrate proficiency of essential forestry Student Learning Outcomes that include:
1. Science: The student will understand the role of formal and informal scientific inquiry in sustainable forest management.
- Apply knowledge of identification, prevention, and control of forest insects, diseases, and invasive species in forest management planning
- Recognize the role of fire in natural disturbance regimes, the use of fire as a management tool, and the methods of wildfire control
- Demonstrate how to acquire and properly cite peer-reviewed scientific literature using online databases
- Describe basic botany concepts and how they pertain to the growth of forest trees and other plants
2. Technology: The student will demonstrate proficiency in the use of technology to collect, manage, analyze, and display data to support decision-making.
- Demonstrate skills in the collection and analysis of natural resource data using Global Positioning Systems (GPS), remote sensing and LiDAR, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and to make informed decisions utilizing such data.
- Effectively use various computer applications to collect, manage, analyze, and display natural resource data.
3. Forest operations: The student will develop an understanding of the relationship between forest operations and sound regulatory, ecological, and economic principles.
- Demonstrate the ability to layout harvest blocks and forest roads according to best management practices and applicable regulations
- Comprehends the interrelatedness between timber harvesting, silvicultural practices, and economic viability
- Recognize the common harvesting systems of the northeast
4. Communications: The student will communicate effectively and professionally with audiences of diverse backgrounds in both oral and written form.
- Prepare and deliver effective oral presentations
- Comprehend and evaluate information in a variety of writing styles
- Compose papers and reports in a clear and concise manner
5. Management: The student will develop a management skillset sufficient to be successful in entry-level forestry careers.
- Recognize and describe the federal, state, and local regulations and standards relative to the practice of forestry and be capable of assessing compliance.
- Plan, conduct and analyze forest inventories.
- Prepare a management plan with multiple goals and constraints
- Develop silvicultural objectives and prescriptions based on sound forestry practices
- Demonstrate the ability to solve problems both independently and as a member of a team
- Demonstrate ability to reason through problems to reach a solution both in the field and office
- Recognize financial concepts important to forest management
6. Field proficiency: Students will develop proficiency in important field skills relevant to careers in natural resources.
- Demonstrate ability to work in a safe manner and to recognize and correct unsafe work conditions
- Demonstrate proficiency in the use of forestry hand tools
- Identify locally important woody and non-woody species and understand their ecology and use.
- Demonstrate the ability to navigate through a forested environment using multiple methods of orienteering.
7. Conservation and multiple uses: Students will develop an appreciation and understanding for multiple use and conservation of natural resources.
- Develop respect for all components of the ecosystems that organize around forest trees
- Comprehend the importance and interrelatedness of all-natural resources
- Develop awareness of the multiple and sometimes competing benefits that society can obtain from forests
8. Professionalism: Demonstrate professional behavior in the workplace as well as in personal life.
- Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethics, including the SAF Code, and recognition of the responsibility to adhere to ethical standards
- Develop respect for others and their opinions and act in a professional and ethical manner
- Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of continuing education and lifelong learning