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


A lower division class in environmental science/studies or botany (upper division classes in these areas would be great). Ecological principles are the core of the curriculum and some background in this area is needed. A class in restoration ecology would be excellent. We learn most of the plants in the Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest so an introduction to plant identification is helpful but not required.

We learn how to inventory forests during summer camp so some background in statistics is desirable. A lower division class or AP stats in high school would be useful but not required.

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.