Time to Enhance and Revise Forestry Education!

Jun 25, 2024

Joel Lindblom, a Swedish forest student and IFSA delegate, called for a profound revision of forestry education in his presentation “A Student’s Perspective Regarding Education and the Increasing Complexity of the Forest” at the Innovation Stage. He addressed the evolving role of forests in modern society and the urgent need for forestry education to keep pace with these changes.

Lindblom opened his presentation by highlighting the growing significance of forests in various industries and political arenas. “In recent years, we have found more uses for our forests. The trees, which not especially long ago were disregarded by most people as something that simply grew where it was possible, are now cogs in our industries and the subject of politics of the highest order,” he remarked.

Despite the heightened public interest in forestry, Lindblom pointed out a critical gap in Swedish forestry education. “The public interest is high; however, this is not mirrored in Swedish forestry education. I want to raise the question on how the forest is supposed to become ever more multifaceted if we are not able to educate people who, in turn, are capable of seeing such a development to its end.”

Lindblom, who attended the Congress as a representative of the student union at SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – emphasized the importance of student representation in such significant forums. “There are two parts of the university: the ones who are employed doing research and lectures, and the ones that are paying to be there and also have a right to be represented in the revisions of education,” he explained.

“We see that the new generation is one of the first that doesn’t think that the world will actually get better. This definitely makes a big impact when talking to young people today, growing up, and seeing the increasing challenges of the climate,” he said.

Lindblom also reflected on the diverse opportunities presented by the Congress, both in terms of research and professional careers. “This really shows us in a unique way how there are many more opportunities than maybe you see at the university,” he said, emphasizing the importance of international exposure and networking.

In conclusion, Lindblom underscored the value of building networks and making connections, even as a student. “Even if you’re only doing your bachelor’s or your master’s and maybe not planning on doing a PhD yet, you still build these networks. Maybe you talk with those who are doing research that you may be interested in the future,” he said