Welcome to the UNITECH Department of Forestry Web Site
Thanks for coming and checking out our PNG Department of Forestry section of the PNG University of Technology web site! We hope you find a lot of interesting and useful information here to read and images to learn from, no matter what age you are or whether or not you even know anything about forestry.
We are proud of our Department, not only because it has a rich history but because it is also clear that we will play an important role in PNG’s future, specifically in the area of training and research. From the perspective of our history, formal forestry training in PNG began in 1962 at the Papua New Guinea Forestry College in Bulolo. Bulolo is home to the oldest and largest national forest industry, PNG Forest Products, which has created as one of its legacies, an innovative and well-managed company that has lasted more than 50 years. Bulolo is one of this company’s creations and it is PNG’s most extensive and durable company towns, offering amenities that you simply will not find elsewhere in rural PNG.
Bulolo’s Forestry College was the first tertiary training institution of any kind in the country, teaching students well before either UPNG or UNITECH existed. That campus, now known as Bulolo University College (BUC) is our main forestry field training area, as it is surrounded by tree plantations and scattered patches of natural forest, including the Mt Susu Nature Reserve.
Taking our eyes from our past and peering into the future, two of our faculty, Dr Mex Peki and Eko Maiguo, teach or have carried out research in the area of climate change, a critical global transformation that will certainly affect many Papua New Guineans and which they will play an active role in. We’re starting to put more emphasis into reforestation training, including tree planting, simply because PNG needs to increase its production of timber. Reforesting kunai grassland is a way to achieve this and it can add great value to the land.
Today we offer a separate Diploma in Forestry (3 years) and Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry (4 years). The B.S. degree curriculum is taught both at Taraka and Bulolo campuses, while the Diploma is offered exclusively at Bulolo. Because Forestry itself is a multi-disciplinary field that requires skills as diverse as research, management, surveying, engineering, forest inventory, wildlife management and conservation, and economics, our curriculum is equally diverse in the array of topics our students learn about in their classes.
At the postgraduate level, we offer Master’s degree programmes, and even the possibility of earning a PhD for those who want to get more deeply into research. Forestry graduates are employed by an unusual variety of organisations and companies, including industry, different types of non-government organisations (NGOs), and government. Some of our graduates have become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses, an activity that provides people with a high degree of freedom, prospects for earning a good income, and much more flexibility than those working under a boss ever have. Most important of all, they are playing an important role in growing PNG’s economy.
Over the years, we have seen with our own eyes that Forestry students who use their free time to perfect their forestry skills as well as associated life skills (everything from how to present one’s self professionally to professionals, how to create different types of written products efficiently and of good quality, how to use different types of office software productively, and how to develop an impeccable good character during their years at UNITECH) are the ones who usually get jobs the fastest after graduation, and have the potential to go all the way to the top. That’s why we are transitioning into a department that is putting a lot more effort into providing more opportunities for our students to improve the life skills that employers most desire.
It may be surprising to you, but many of today’s forestry students grew up in the towns or cities of PNG. Some did not choose forestry as a first preference for university study. However, once they got into their courses and field practicals, many of them became almost addicted to being able to walk under the shady tree canopy, breathing the cool clean air, listening to the birds, and experiencing nature of a diversity that few people in the world will ever have a chance to experience for themselves. The fact that PNG has more species of orchids than any other country, more kinds of birds than the entire North American continent and such amazing organisms as the world’s longest lizard and world’s smallest vertebrate (a tiny frog found in Milne Bay Province) are good evidence not only of the world class nature of PNG’s forests, but the many roles those forests can play in PNG’s development.
Countries who put effort into using their natural resources sustainably are the ones that are saluted rather than looked down upon. PNG’s forests are potentially a highly renewable resource of many values and uses that can be utilized for economic development while at the same time maintaining their world class biological diversity.
All this is the wonderful challenge that our forestry graduates can take on, being blessed with many different ways that they can earn a living, develop a career, while making a real contribution to PNG’s development. The tree seedlings we plant as youth become the gentle giants that we can someday point out to our grandchildren with pride – because after all, how many people in this world end up creating so much in their lives while starting with so little?
That is the pride of working with trees and forests.
We invite you to join us in meeting the challenge!
Dr Larry Orsak
Head (Chair) of the Department
Department of Forestry, PNG University of Technology,
Private Mail Bag, Lae 411,Morobe, PNG