Hugh Brown: Managing Ghana’s Forest Lands

I wanted to share another great alumni profile. Hugh also writes about his experience in the midcareer program below:

Hugh Brown is currently the Operations Manager of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana. His responsibilities include the planning and coordination of the development and management of forest plantations country-wide. Hugh has over 18 years’ extensive experience in tropical forest management. He has been involved in the establishment and management of various exotic and indigenous commercial and community-based hardwood timber plantations – teak being the most prominent. He has held several middle-level management positions as Assistant Conservator of Forests and District Forestry Manager in different forest districts across the country covering various forest ecological zones. He has held his current senior management position since September, 2004.

Hugh has been instrumental over the years in developing different plantation investment appraisal models; different mixed species planting designs, and contributed immensely in the development of artificial form factors for teak and other plantation timber species; inventory methodologies for determining standing tree volume of plantation stands; and the development of guidelines for coppice management of teak and enrichment planting in degraded forest reserves using indigenous timber species. He has been undertaking and coordinating capacity building programmes for communities, field officers and junior managers of the Forest Services Division and private plantation companies in plantation establishment and maintenance, team building and leadership. He provides extensive consultancy services to both small and large-scale plantation developers.
He has travelled to interact and share knowledge with peers in forest management and plantation development in Ivory Coast, Liberia, United Kingdom, U.S.A., China and India.

Hugh holds a BSc. (Hons) Natural Resources Management and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi – Ghana. He also holds a Masters in Forestry (MF) from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut – U.S.A. His professional affiliations include the following; Ghana Institute of Foresters (member), Society of American Foresters (member, Certified Forester) and Society of Ecological Restoration International (member).

His professional interests include forest restoration, commercial plantation development, financial appraisal of reforestation projects, combating illegal logging, payment for ecosystem services and forest certification.

The mid-career program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES) offered me the opportunity to access world-class post-graduate education from one of the best Universities in the world, and probably the best Forestry school while keeping my job back in Ghana (my employers were unwilling to offer me a study leave beyond 1 year and but for the Mid-career program I would have had to settle for a school in Europe and not my first choice – Yale)

The flexibility offered by the program enabled me sift through the host of courses at my disposal and select without restrictions those that addressed my identified weaknesses and maximized my value as a forester.

Thanks to the mid-career program I left Yale barely 10 months after entering with a Master of Forestry (MF) degree and well equipped with valuable experiences, exposure and loads of information on a wide range of topics needed for the fast-changing field of natural resource management in the 21st century.

For candidates with some good practical professional experience, who know areas they intend to focus on or upgrade their knowledge in, and do not want to spend two years in a post-graduate program, I highly recommend the 1-year mid-career program.