What You’ll Study

While the topic of ecological forestry has a range of definitions, most are based on a few key themes: understanding what forests are made of and how the many micro-ecosystems interrelate; managing responsible consumption (and cultivation) of important forest products such as wood, raw materials for medicine, and more; and understanding the intrinsic experiential value of these lush landscapes. In addition to taking core courses within Environmental Science, Ecological Forestry majors complete a four-course sequence:

  • Forest biology
  • Silviculture
  • Forest management
  • Geographic information systems

Senior Capstone Course

In the forest management capstone course, you’ll work in a small team with fellow students writing forest management plans for private landowners, municipalities, or land conservation organizations. Much of your time is spent outside the classroom in professional settings with landowners or other natural resource and conservation experts. You’ll practice skills like:

  • Remote data gathering
  • Forest inventory and analysis
  • Development of management recommendations
  • Presentation of a management plan

Where You’ll Go from Here

Where does a forestry degree take you? Past graduates have gotten jobs with:

  • Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Private Consulting Foresters
  • Plum Creek Forest Products
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • Forest Stewards

Students from this program have also gone on to prestigious graduate programs at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, SUNY Environmental Studies and Forestry, and more.

Explore Classes in This Program

GBL 225

Intro to Geographic Information Systems

Learn how geographic data is created and managed for all kinds of business and scientific applications. You’ll cover topics like data visualization and geocoding and apply GIS techniques to answer a question or problem in your own research project.

ENS 233

Forest Biology

Forests are biological ecosystems with their own unique structures, compositions, and species interactions. We’ll spend lots of time out in the woods focusing on the temperate forest systems of Southern Appalachia.

ENS 334


Compare the many different practices for managing forests and woodlands in the U.S., examining each system in terms of important species, economics, goals, and environmental protection.

Meet Our Faculty

Warren Wilson has some of the most accessible experiential learning opportunities of any college campus in the country. It is one of the primary reasons why I wanted to be here as a faculty member, particularly when the forest is a stone’s throw away from the classroom!

Eric Griffin
Faculty Member Eric Griffin stands smiling outside of Orr Cottage.
Eric Griffin, Ph.D
NSURS Presentation
Capstone Experience

Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence

All students in the Ecological Forestry concentration take this three-semester sequence of courses, which gives you graduate-style research experience at the undergraduate level. You’ll work with a faculty advisor to design your own project, collect and analyze data, present your findings, and publish a thesis.