UBC Forestry History

The first Forestry Class of 1918

The first Forestry Class of 1918


Malcolm Knapp Research Forest 1949

Malcolm Knapp Research Forest 1949


Malcolm Knapp Research Forest 2002

Malcolm Knapp Research Forest 2002


Soprons arriving in BC - 1957

Soprons arriving in BC – 1957


Forestry Building, 1918

Forestry Building, 1918


Forest Sciences Centre

Forest Sciences Centre, completed 1998

The history of the Faculty of Forestry at UBC is unique. Professors, staff, and fellow Forestry alumni are very proud of the achievements and contributions, they have all made over the years.

1915: UBC officially established with three Faculties: Arts and Science, Applied Science, and Agriculture

1918: First forestry course implemented at UBC: a four week course allowing returning war veterans to qualify as forest guards
1920: Department of Forestry authorized at UBC.
1923: UBC’s first B.A.Sc. degrees (Forest Engineering) awarded
1933: First M.A.Sc (Forest Engineering) awarded
1941: UBC Research Forest in Haney, BC obtained
1947: Four year B.S.F. program authorized
1949: Master of Forestry and Ph.D programs authorized
1951: Faculty of Forestry established
1953: The Canadian Institute of Forestry’s (CIF) main objective is to welcome students to the forestry profession. One way they accomplish this is by offering the Silver Ring marked with a raised tree to each graduating student from an accredited Canadian forestry program. The very first Ring Ceremony was held in 1953 by the UBC Forestry graduating class. By 1967 it became tradition for all Forestry graduates across Canada to receive a Silver Ring.
1957: This date signifies the welcoming of the Sopron students and staff to the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. The students of the Sopron School of Forestry in Hungary were forced to flee their homeland when the anti-Soviet Revolution failed. The Dean of the Sopron School of Forestry sent letters to 20 countries explaining the necessity for a new home to allow the current students to complete their degrees. The Faculty of Forestry at UBC offered a place for the Sopron students to finish their forestry studies.
Incorporating the Soprons in to the Faculty was a major alteration as the Sopron School had 50% more students and three times the number of instructors than the current UBC Faculty at the time. This move was also difficult for the Sopron students who were forced to learn English and immerse themselves in Western culture as quickly as possible. Despite these difficulties, this mass immigration provided BC with a new perspective on forestry and a major contribution to the industry.
1962: Forest Engineers degree program suspended
1981: Departments of Forest Resources Management, Harvesting and Wood Science, and Forest Science are established
1983: Majors in Harvesting and Forest Resources Management introduced to the B.S.F. program. Majors in Wood Science and Industry and Forest Science introduced to B.Sc.
1986: Faculty of Forestry acquires the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake
1997: NRC program authorized and established
1998: Forest Sciences Centre completed to house the Faculty of Forestry
2000: UBC and UNBC enter agreement to jointly manage the Aleza Lake Research Forest
2002: Co-op Program is established for all five of the Faculty’s degree programs
2012:  Department of Forest Sciences name change to Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
2012:  New Master of Sustainable Forest Management (MSFM) program authorized and established
2013:  MSFM program accredited by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board
2014:  New Master of International Forestry (MIF) program authorized
2015:  MIF program established
2015:  New Bachelor of Urban Forestry (BUF) program authorized and established
Much of this information has been derived from:
Smith, J. Harry G., UBC Forestry 1921-1990: An Informal History. Vancouver : Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 1990. For further information or copies on this book please contact Dr. Susan Watts at sue.watts@ubc.ca or 604-822-6316.