Students attend a class at the National Forestry School, Mbalmayo, Cameroon. Photo: ENEF Mbalmayo
Mastering the forestry profession has never been a mere walk in the (forest) park, but meeting the needs of sustainable forest development is an increasingly complex task. In addition to traditional fields such as forest ecology, mensuration, planning and economics, foresters must now embrace integrated landscape approaches, participatory forest management, new technologies and climate change.
An ITTO study conducted in five countries in the Congo Basin more than a decade ago concluded that there was a shortage of personnel with the qualifications needed to ensure sustainable forest development in the subregion. Several ITTO projects have since been undertaken to address this, culminating in a subregional project conducted between 2012 and 2019 encompassing seven main beneficiary education institutions across five countries. The project contributed to several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 4 (quality education).
Several ITTO projects have been undertaken in the Congo Basin to improve the qualifications of forestry professionals to implement sustainable forest management. The latest project has benefited seven education institutions in five countries.
Nowadays women are also enrolled in forestry careers at all levels.
Upgrading forest-sector education and training is essential for ensuring sustainable forest management, efficient domestic processing and sustainable supply chains.