Forest Ecosystems, Minor

Program Code: FECO_UMNR

Program Description

The Forest Ecosystems minor introduces students to the functions and values of forested ecosystems. After a prescribed foundation in tree and shrub identification and forest ecology, students may choose from a variety of related subjects including climate change, invasive species, tree physiology, agroforestry, fire ecology, forest soils, forest ecosystem management, forest measurements, community forestry, and global forest conservation.

What are Forest Ecosystems?

Forest ecosystems are central to the health of our planet. They exist on every continent except Antarctica, support essential processes on Earth to make life possible, contribute strongly to the stability of our climate, provide habitat for innumerable plant and animal species, offer recreational and spiritual values for humanity, and supply goods and services that benefit humans. Studying forest ecosystems facilitates your understanding of how forest ecosystems work, how ecological processes affect forest functions, how these functions are linked to the provision of ecosystem goods and services, and how forests—a renewable resource with one of the lowest carbon footprints—can be managed to ensure these functions are sustained.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are passionate about the health of the planet, its forests, other natural resources, and humanity’s future.
  • You enjoy nature and want to develop skills to identify trees and shrubs in the field.
  • You are curious to know how forests work.
  • You are concerned about sustaining forests and the values they provide.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18-20

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
FOR 203Field Dendrology3
FOR 308Forest Ecology3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select a minimum of 12 credits of the following FOR courses: 112-14
The Profession of Forestry
Global Change and Ecosystems
Silvics and Forest Dynamics
GPS and GIS Applications for Natural Resources Professionals
Forest Resources Measurements
Herbaceous Forest Plant Identification and Ecology
Wildland Fire Management
Forest Ecosystem Monitoring and Data Analysis
Urban Forest Management
Invasive Forest Plants: Identification, Ecology, and Management
Tree Physiology
Elements of Forest Ecosystem Management
Agroforestry: Science, Design, and Practice
Silviculture: Applied Forest Ecology
Conservation Biology
Timber Sale Administration
Forest and Conservation Economics
Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Remote Sensing and Spatial Data Handling
Forest Management and Planning
Watershed Management
Watershed Management Laboratory
Principles of Forest Soils Management
Policy and Administration
Global Forest Conservation

Six credits must be at the 400 level.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Ellen A. Rom
Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs and Alumni Relations
114 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Career Paths

Our department’s career development and employment opportunities websites offer a variety of resources to assist you in exploring professional pursuits related to natural resources and environmental science.


The Forest Ecosystems minor may complement other academic programs that can help prepare you for a career related to natural resources and environmental sciences. The Forest Ecosystems minor does not qualify you for forester positions.



Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The Forest Ecosystems minor can help prepare students for graduate-level study in forest and environmental sciences.



University Park

117 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802