Monday, 7 January 2008

Social science

As well as the natural sciences, like biology, chemistry and physics, forestry involves the social sciences - the study of human behaviour and society. Forests provide many important benefits to people and communities.

Social forestry is the study of things like:

  • How people interact with forests
  • How foresters can improve engagement with local communities
  • How forests support employment and rural economies
  • How forests contribute to health and wellbeing

As a public body, the Forestry Commission has been particularly active in this area, but private forestry companies also make use of social forestry.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Forestry, timber and climate change

Forests and climate change are very closely linked, but in ways that are not generally well understood by the public. The science is complex and interconnected and often you hear only one side of the story. Fortunately the Forestry Commission has recently released a video that covers the subject in a very clear and balanced way. It also tackles a few widely believed myths too. I challenge you to watch it and see if it doesn't tell you something that surprises you.

The reality is that human impact on forests is both a problem and a solution - and that we need science to tell us what the consequences of our actions are. If you are thinking of a science or engineering based career that helps save the planet you couldn't do much better than working in the forestry and timber.

Forests are vast sinks of the greenhouse gas CO2 but they offer so much more - from renewable energy to low carbon building materials...just so long as they are sustainably managed. The challenge for foresters is to use science to understand both the effect of forestry on climate change ...and the effect of climate change on forestry.

You can download a high quality copy of the video at the Forestry Commission's website: