Majoring in Ecosystem Management and Forestry
Ecosystem Management and Forestry (EMF) is replacing the Forestry and Natural Resources major in the College of Natural Resources
Students admitted Fall 2017 can follow the Forestry and Natural Resources curriculum in the 17-18 guide but freshman will be expected to declare Forestry and Natural Resources by the end of their sophomore year (before the end of Spring 2020) to be eligible for the old program. Incoming students in Fall 2018 will be expected to follow the new requirements Ecosystem Management and Forestry.
Ecosystem Management and Forestry (EMF) focuses on the conservation and restoration of the earth's natural resources through hands-on study of the ecology, stewardship, and management of forest, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. The program offers two specializations to choose from, and if the student chooses a specialization in Forestry, they can qualify to take the Registered Professional Forester's licensing exam in California. Topics studied include wildlife and conservation biology, ecosystem restoration, rangeland management, water policy, fire science, GIS and remote sensing, environmental justice, and rural sociology. Students can participate in an 8-week summer field program in the Sierra Nevada. Offered by the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM).
What will I study?
Students in the EMF major select between two specializations:
The Forestry specialization provides students with the ecological, quantitative, and social foundation to be the managers and leaders in the management of forests and forest resources. The Forestry specialization is accredited by the Society of American Foresters and provides four years of qualifying education or professional experience for licensing as a professional forester in California. The goals of the Forestry specialization are very closely associated with the educational requirements of the forestry profession and prepare our students for a variety of careers in forestry or closely related natural resource fields.
The Natural Resource Management specialization provides students with greater flexibility to explore subjects in ecology, physical environment, monitoring and measurement, and management and policy. Students can choose to concentrate their studies in water management, ecology, climates change or design their own concentration based on interest.
Students in the program, regardless of concentration, have ample opportunity to acquire interdisciplinary skills in the ecology, stewardship, and management of ecosystems such as forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Within the program, students can choose to emphasize topics such as wildlife biology, water policy, fire science, ecosystem restoration, environmental justice, remote sensing and GIS, and rural sociology.
Forestry students are eligible for a series of endowed scholarships based on academic performance and financial need. These scholarships are awarded to students at all academic levels and are usually awarded in the fall semester. In 2012, scholarships totaling $60,000 were awarded in scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Beginning in 2013, additional awards will be targeted for students in their first and second years in the major.
How much coursework is required?
Lower division requirements include courses in chemistry, environmental sciences, physical science, biology, calculus, statistics, GIS and economics. All students in EMF are required to complete three core upper divison courses in ecology, resource management, and a capstone course for a total of 11-12 units. Upper division electives vary for each specialization.
Participation in the eight-week summer field program—Forestry Field Camp—in the northern Sierra Nevada is required of all students specializing in Forestry. Natural Resource Management students have the option, but are not required, to complete a field program and can choose either the eight-week summer field program or the fall semester course on the Polynesian island of Moorea (Biology & Geomorphology of Tropical Islands).
What can I do with this major?
EMF provides specific analytical tools needed for graduate school or virtually any type of career in natural resources. Graduates can pursue careers in
- environmental consulting
- public agencies
- non-profit conservation organizations
- private companies
- professional forestry
- wildlife biology
- range management
Some may tackle the planning and implementation of forest management projects, including fuel reduction, timber harvest, reforestation, urban forestry, and prescribed burning.
Others focus their professional work in areas such as wildfire, fire, water, wetlands, restoration, vegetation management, soil/erosion, cultural resources, policy, and the human aspects of natural resources. Much of natural resource management today is about working with, communicating with, and engaging the public and landowners.
The program itself has a longstanding history, so our graduates often find themselves sought after for employment by alumni established in both the public and private sectors.
The Cal Alumni Foresters (CAF) is the alumni association for the 100 year old forestry program at UC Berkeley. CAF helps bring alumni working in forestry and the diverse fields related to resource and environmental management together to support ongoing discussion and camaraderie. Alumni of all ages are bonded by memories of classes in Mulford Hall, bean feeds put on by the forestry club and summers spent in Meadow Valley learning about Sierra Nevada ecology and timber cruising.
Forestry has changed over the last hundred years since Berkeley’s program began, but this discipline is still very important as an ever growing local and global population place increasing pressure on California’s and our world’s forests. Therefore, CAF supports current Cal forestry students by providing scholarships, mentoring and introducing the new crop of managers to the Society of American Foresters (SAF) at the national convention each fall. We hope that these efforts will help ensure that Berkeley will continue to train excellent foresters and resource managers for our future state and world.
Forestry alumni who complete their qualifications can test to become Registered Professional Foresters in California. Results of the exams are available at
Dean Emeritus and Professor Keith Gilless
Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management