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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

Differences in Forestry Students’ Perceptions across Study Years in a Brazilian Undergraduate Program


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 39 No. 1, p. 94-101
    Received: Jan 11, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): javier.arevalo@uef.fi
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  1. Javier Arevalo Barbara Jarschel *ab,
  2. Sari Pitkänena,
  3. Liisa Tahvanainena and
  4. Jorma Enkenbergc
  1. a School of Forest Sciences, Univ. of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland
    b Dep. of Forest Sciences, Federal Univ. of Paraná, 80210-170 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
    c School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, Univ. of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 55, 57101 Savonlinna, Finland


Forestry higher curricula reform is being debated globally. This study examines the views of students on aspects related to forestry education and the profession, focusing on how these views differ across the study years of a higher education forestry program. The objective of the study was to investigate the differences across study years with regard to the students’ forestry-related concerns, the value they give to competencies and experiences, and their preferences with respect to future work and studies. The case study of a 5-year Brazilian undergraduate program was selected, analyzing the responses to a questionnaire of 268 students. Results indicate students in the later years of their study program have a much broader variety of forestry-related concerns, have a greater interest in choosing a different university for doing a Master's degree, and more often consider working as consultants upon graduation. Additionally, students in the later years give a higher importance to competencies related to traditional forestry areas (silviculture, management, policy), computer-related subjects (Forest Information Systems, statistics, computer skills), and generic communication competencies (oral and writing skills). On the contrary, students in the first years give a higher value to environmental and climate change–related issues and to international forestry, as well as to achieving their best. Our findings show there are numerous differences in students’ perceptions across the study years of a program. The consideration of these differences in the reform of forestry and life science curricula, aiming at increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of the programs, is suggested.

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