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Canada’s forestry industry learning hard lessons


February 21, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

“Graduates of forestry programs are needed and in demand,” said Alex Drummond, a professor at the University of Alb…

“Graduates of forestry programs are needed and in demand,” said Alex Drummond, a professor at the University of Alberta. According to Drummond, immediate attention is needed in order to bridge the widening gap between the overwhelming number of people retiring from the industry and declining enrollment in forestry sector programs.

The past ten years have marked a dramatic drop in the number of students over the age of 25 choosing to enter post-secondary forestry programs at technical/technologist and university levels. Drummond contends that if the problem is not soon addressed, Canada’s forestry sector will have a crisis on its hands.

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“The forest sector plays an important role in the stewardship of Canada’s forests as well as its modern and technologically advanced outlook, a role that is often misunderstood,” he said. “There is also a misconception about jobs and career opportunities in forestry,” he noted.

A report released by the Canadian Institute of Forestry entitled, “The Crisis in Post-Secondary Enrollments in Forestry Programs: A Call to Action for Canada’s Future Forestry Professional/Technical Workforce,” highlights some of the major issues contributing to and compounding the problem. The document states that, “if graduate and career technology forestry programs are discontinued, it will be increasingly difficult to find the next generation of forest practitioners and other qualified, trained modern forest workers to maintain the important economic standing of the forest industry in Canada.” The report calls for partnerships with industry, government, professionals and post-secondary forestry schools to encourage the pursuit of careers in the sector.


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