Forests cover one third of the world’s land area and half of Florida. They impact the lives of all people through the products and services they provide. Florida’s forests support a $12 billion industry, larger than any single agricultural crop. In addition, these forests provide non-timber products, clean water, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, climate stabilization, recreation, hunting, fishing, tourism, biodiversity, medicinals and aesthetic beauty. The demand for these goods and services is increasing every year; yet, the forested land to meet these needs is decreasing.
Similarly, our marine and freshwater resources are critical for their economic values, recreational opportunities, biodiversity and ecological services. One third of the world’s population depends on fish protein in their diet every day and yet the world’s fisheries are being challenged from overfishing. Further, the world’s waters are being impacted by human influences such as pollution, nutrient discharge and climate change.
Welcome to the School of Forest Resources & Conservation (SFRC). Since 1937, the SFRC has been developing new knowledge and educating students and citizens about the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources. We emphasize integrative, interdisciplinary approaches spanning three main programs: (1) Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences emphasizing sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic ecology and health; (2) Forest Resources and Conservation including the biology, ecology, economics, policy and human dimensions associated with sustainable management and conservation of forests; and (3) Geomatics specializing in modern geospatial sciences such as surveying, mapping, remote sensing, satellite imagery, GIS and GPS.
The SFRC is part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences with four missions: undergraduate education, graduate education, research and extension. Our programs provide: (1) a rich personal educational experience for students; (2) new discoveries and applications that enrich lives, communities and natural resources; and (3) lifelong learning opportunities for professionals, policy makers, landowners, youth and the general public.
The SFRC’s four undergraduate majors lead to exciting, well-paid careers that provide the opportunity to work both indoors and outdoors, to work with cutting-edge technologies and to make an impact on day one.
- The Forest Resources and Conservation major is the only professional forestry program in Florida with options accredited by the Society of American Foresters. Graduates work for government agencies, private industry and consulting firms that guide sustainable management and conservation of production forests, conserved forests, urban forests and agroforests.
- The Geomatics major deals with the measurement of earth-based data that are gathered using tools such as satellites, air and sea borne sensors, and ground based instruments like surveying and GPS devices. Graduates work as surveyors, mappers, and in many other high tech fields. The Geomatics major is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
- The Marine Sciences major combines marine biology, ecology, conservation and sustainable resource management to prepare students for either graduate school or a career in a variety of public agencies or private companies.
- In the Natural Resource Conservation major, students work with a flexible curriculum and a faculty advisor to develop a unique course schedule tailored to their specific interests and career goals. Graduates work in a wide variety of fields, including environmental education, wildlife conservation, community forest management and energy sustainability.
SFRC Graduate programs lead to both masters and doctorate degrees and include traditional academic degrees, as well as professional masters and certificates. Programs are available in Gainesville, as well as online through distance education.
- In our Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs, students take exciting classes and conduct research as part of their degree and work directly with a faculty advisor to conceive, implement, analyze and interpret an advanced investigation in forest, natural resources, geospatial sciences or fisheries and aquatic sciences. Whether working in a laboratory, forest or aquatic setting, students hone their skills to become tomorrow’s scientists, resource managers and policy makers.
- Through our professional masters programs (non-thesis Master of Science, Master of Forest Resources and Conservation and Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences), students gain professional training and experience to advance their careers.
- For students who do not want a complete a full master’s degree, students and working professionals can still gain knowledge and add to their resume through a Graduate Certificate that requires completion of 3 to 5 classes in a specialized area such as geospatial analysis, quantitative fisheries, natural resources policy and administration, aquatic fish health and many more.
- Many of the SFRC master’s degrees and all of the Graduate Certificates are offered completely online so that students can complete them from any location in the world. These distance education programs allow students to take exciting classes from their own home and on their own time.
The SFRC’s extension, outreach and continuing education programs provide information about forest resources, environmental education, geospatial sciences and fisheries and aquatic sciences to educators, youth, policy makers, land managers, landowners and citizens to enable them to make informed decisions.
Now more than ever, the world needs scientists and professionals to measure, manage and conserve our natural resources. If you want to make a difference in the world, we urge you to explore this website for the information you need, or to contact us directly about the SFRC and its programs.