School Profile

Historical Timeline

Mission: The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is dedicated to generating and disseminating knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services through teaching, research and outreach.

Vision: The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences will provide world-class, internationally recognized knowledge and leadership for environmental and natural resource issues.

Core Values: Open communication, respect, accountability, excellence
  • Established in 1907 as one of the oldest units on the University of Washington campus and one of the original natural resource programs in the country, our vision is to provide world-class, internationally recognized knowledge and leadership for environmental and natural resource issues.
  • Our students and faculty study everything from environmental restoration to wildlife science and conservation, sustainable forest management and silviculture to forest ecology and economics, human dimensions of natural resource management and planning to the production of biofuels and bioproducts, wildfires and disturbance ecology to hydrology and plant microbiology, and so much more.
  • From urban to wildland settings, forests to wetlands, deep soil to tree canopies, natural to social sciences, labs to field sites, our academic niche at the University of Washington is to study the key principles and processes that explain the behavior and interaction of biotic and social systems.
  • Our teaching and research programs are immensely collaborative, with campus and external partners from nonprofit, industry, government and tribal communities.
  • Our curriculum is fundamentally interdisciplinary with a heavy emphasis on field-based, hands-on learning supported by the school's field sites and centers, including the Union Bay Natural Area, Pack Forest, the Olympic Natural Resources Center and the UW Botanic Gardens.

Our graduates

are leaders in natural resources and public and private land management throughout the state, the region, the nation and around the world. The management of natural resources for products and environmental services is vital to political, social and economic decisions made every day by leaders and citizens and is a key element in our state and regional economy. As faculty members in universities throughout the country, our graduates are educating the next generation of leaders in natural resources and environmental issues.

Our faculty

research topics of global importance, including fire ecology, ecological restoration, invasive and endangered species, bioresource science, urban sustainability, climate change, forest health, pulp and paper processing, health/ environment interactions, and natural resources policy. Committed to the integration of teaching and research, they provide students with real-world experience and hands-on learning in our Pacific Northwest urban-to-wildland laboratory.

Our academic programs

 use the array of biological-social interactions in the Pacific Northwest as a learning environment for problem-based, interdisciplinary inquiry. We offer undergraduate programs in environmental science and resource management (ESRM) and bioresource science and engineering (BSE). Graduate study areas include environmental horticulture and urban forestry, forest ecology, forest soils, bioresource science and engineering, restoration ecology, social sciences, sustainable resource management and wildlife science.

Our outreach

 and technical transfer programs provide knowledge and training focusing on international trade in forest products, precision forestry, regional natural resources, urban ecosystems and environmental horticulture.

Our partnerships

 include formal interdisciplinary links across campus as well as collaborations with academic institutions, federal, state and local governments, and industry and Native American natural resources managers.

The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at a Glance

The School was rated among the top three forest science graduate programs in the United States in a report released by the National Research Council in October 2010. The most recent edition of the Gourman Report rates the School as having the number one graduate and number seven undergraduate forestry programs in the nation.
Strategic Plan:

School faculty, students and staff meet each autumn to update future goals and objectives. The School's most recent strategic plan is for 2011-2012.

BS, MS, MEH (Master of Environmental Horticulture), MFR (Master of Forest Resources), and PhD
Anderson, Bloedel and Winkenwerder Halls are located on the Seattle campus. Major field sites for teaching, research and outreach include the 4,250-acre C. L. Pack Experimental Forest 70 miles south of Seattle, the Olympic Natural Resources Center near Forks, Wash., the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, comprising the Center for Urban Horticulture on Union Bay, the 60-acre Union Bay Natural Area, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, and the 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum managed in conjunction with the city of Seattle.

Faculty and Staff:
40 teaching faculty, 4 research faculty, 98 staff (includes research and scientific).

Students (academic year 2016-2017):



The School's Centers of Excellence

  • The Center for International Trade in Forest Products, leading research on the changing character of global trade, secondary manufacturing options for the forest products sector, and environmental tradeoffs.
  • The Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest, discovering, teaching, and demonstrating the concepts of sustainable forestry and providing services such as forest certification consulting and technology transfer.
  • The Olympic Natural Resources Center, engaged in teaching and research about forest and marine management that balances sustainable commodity production with the maintenance of ecological systems.
  • The University of Washington Botanic Gardens, comprising the Center for Urban Horticulture providing research and extensive public service programs about environmental horticulture and urban forestry, the Washington Park Arboretum , a 230-acre urban green space that is a dynamic, living museum with internationally known collections of oaks, conifers, camellias, Japanese maples and hollies, and the 60-acre Union Bay Natural Area.
  • Research cooperatives in stand management and in precision forestry develop new ways to make forests more productive and forestry processes more efficient, including technology transfer to rural timber-dependent communities. The School participates in a global network on forest health, studying the toll of acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change on the world's forests, is a pioneer in tree nutrition, and is developing strong programs in phytoremediation, the use of plants in the cleanup and restoration of contaminated sites, and bioresource sciences, researching sustainable bio-based products and sources of energy that better serve society. An urban ecology initiative studies interactions between humans and ecological processes in urbanizing environments. The Northwest Environmental Forum brings together decision makers and stakeholders to apply science and policy to critical environmental and natural resources management challenges. The School has strong partnerships with Washington State University, the USDA Forest Service, and the USDI National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey that include courtesy and joint faculty appointments and collaborative research on climate change, landscape and quantitative ecology, management and stewardship of the nation's public lands, and forest and plant health.


is provided by Director Dan Brown. The School is committed to diversity, access and inclusion, promoting respect for the rights and privileges of others, and the understanding and appreciation of human differences.

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
University of Washington
Box 352100
Seattle, WA 98195-2100