History of UBC Forestry

Our History

100 years of Forestry Education

1921 marked the first formal forestry instruction offered at the University of British Columbia with H.R. Christie becoming the Department of Forestry’s first Associate Professor.

Since then, the Faculty of Forestry was formed and evolved over a century into a world-class leader in research, education and initiatives.

UBC Forestry - 100 years of forestry education
YearNotable Event
1915UBC officially established with three Faculties: Arts and Science, Applied Science, and Agriculture
1918First forestry course implemented at UBC: a four-week course allowing returning war veterans to qualify as forest guards
1920Department of Forestry authorized at UBC
1921First formal forestry instruction offered at UBC with H.R. Christie becoming the Department of Forestry’s first Associate Professor
1923UBC’s first B.A.Sc. degrees (Forest Engineering) awarded
1933First M.A.Sc (Forest Engineering) awarded
1941UBC Research Forest in Haney, BC obtained - later named Malcolm Knapp Research Forest
1947Four-year B.S.F. program authorized
1949Master of Forestry and Ph.D programs authorized
1951Faculty of Forestry established
1953The 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 a tradition for all Forestry graduates across Canada to receive a Silver Ring.
1957Students of the Sopron School of Forestry in Hungary were forced to flee their homeland when the anti-Soviet Revolution failed and were welcomed to the Faculty of Forestry at UBC to continue their education. The Sopron School had 50% more students and three times the number of instructors than the current UBC Faculty at the time. Learn more about this extraordinary story here
1962Forest Engineers degree program suspended
1981Departments of Forest Resources Management, Harvesting and Wood Science and Forest Science are established
1983Majors 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.
1986Faculty of Forestry acquires the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake
1997Natural Resources Conservation (NRC) program authorized and established
1998Forest Sciences Centre completed to house the Faculty of Forestry
2000UBC and UNBC enter an agreement to jointly manage the Aleza Lake Research Forest
2002Co-op Program is established for all five of the Faculty’s degree programs
2012Department of Forest Sciences name change to the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
2012Master of Sustainable Forest Management (MSFM) program authorized and established
2013MSFM program accredited by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board
2015Master of International Forestry (MIF) program established
2016Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) program established
2018Land One program established
2019Forest Bioeconomy Sciences & Technology (BEST) program established
2019Haida Gwaii Institute established
2020Master of Urban Forestry Leadership (MUFL) established
2020CVA Micro-Certificate and GCFMC Graduate Certificate established
2021Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Initiative developed

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.

The first Forestry Class of 1918
The first Forestry Class of 1918
Construction of Forestry building 1925
Construction of Forestry building – 1925
Malcolm Knapp Research Forest 1949
Malcolm Knapp Research Forest – 1949
Sopron students in classroom – 1957
Forest Sciences Centre, completed 1998
Forest Sciences Centre, completed 1998
Haida Gwaii Institute
Haida Gwaii Institute, established 2019