Forestry Field Camp at the University of California, Berkeley is an eight-week intensive program to provide an introduction to the scientific and professional dimensions of forest and wildland resource management. It consists of four courses: 105A, B, C, and D which provide students with 11 semester credits from the University of California, Berkeley. Forestry Field Camp is a component of the Forestry and Natural Resources program at Berkeley (though students need not be attending Berkeley to attend).


The overall goal of the Summer Field Program is to provide an introduction to the scientific and professional dimensions of forest and wildland resource management. Students participating in the program learn about ecology, forest, range and wildlife management, measurements, forest operations and products. At the end of the eight-week program, students will have broad, working knowledge of concepts and techniques used by wildland resource managers. The experience of studying these topics in a field setting inevitably enriches students’ subsequent on-campus academic studies.

Specific objectives of the Summer Field Program include:

  • Provide experience with both the ecological and social aspects of wildland environments
  • Introduce students to professional practice in the various resource management fields
  • Introduce basic subject matter in ecology, measurement and inventory systems, and resource management
  • Teach field skills
  • Develop close student and student-faculty relationship


Course Information



Because of the wide variety of backgrounds of people attending the Summer Field Program, some students may need extra preparation before attending camp. Following are suggestions for people lacking a background in either statistics or botany.

  • Botany: Prior study of botany is recommended. Students may want to review some of the essential concepts of botany, such as basic plant classification, physiology, and ecology covered in beginning botany or forest ecology texts. The material is nicely covered in A Brief Introduction to Plant Biology (Rost et al. 1984. John Wiley & Sons, New York.) This and similar books are available in the Biosciences Library at UC Berkeley, or can be ordered through any bookstore.
  • Statistics: Students who have not had an introductory course in statistics may find it advantageous to read the introductory sections of a basic statistics text, and to bring the text with them.


The Courses

ESPM 105A, Sierra Nevada Ecology (4 credits, 3 weeks). Prerequisites: 8 units of biological science or consent of instructor. Includes Saturday sessions. Ecology of forests, mountain meadows, montane chaparral, and riparian zones of the Northern Sierra Nevada. Major emphasis on ecology as a basis for resource management and the maintenance of biological diversity.

ESPM 105B, Forest Measurements (1 credit, 1 week). Prerequisite 105A. This course teaches students how to use common forestry tools, maps, and various sampling methods to collect information about the forest environment. Thirty percent of the time is spent in the classroom learning about the techniques and working up field data. The remaining time is spent in the field applying these techniques in real world settings. Skills taught will include tree and plot measurement procedures, map reading, and simple field orienteering principles.

ESPM 105C, Silviculture and Utilization (3 credits, 2 weeks). Prerequisites: ESPM 105A, B. Introduction to silvicultural theory, forest operations, and utilization and manufacture of forest products. Evaluation of silviculture for managing forest stands for multiple objectives including regeneration, stand density control, forest growth, genetic improvement, and prescribed burning. Introduction to harvest and access systems, wood structure and quality, and manufacture of forest product. Field trips and lectures to local areas illustrating different approaches to forest problems.

ESPM 105D, Forest Management and Assessment (3 credits, 2 weeks). Prerequisite ESPM 105A, B, C. Develop skills in evaluating forests and developing management strategies to meet ownership objectives. Develop integrated forest management plan for 160 acre parcel.  During first week, inventory and assess ecological condition of the assigned parcel. During second week, develop comprehensive integrated forest resource plan, integrating water, wood, wildlife, range, fisheries, and recreation. Oral reports in both an office and field setting required and written management plan.