The Forest School
Connecting people, forests, and forestry for a sustainable future
Education and Research
Education and research centered in applied forest ecology and social sciences with a global scope spanning a spectrum of forest landscapes, geographies, and societies.
Training and Practice
A hub for practitioners and land stewards in forest-related fields worldwide, bringing together cross-disciplinary research in science and practice to find solutions to the challenges that face the world’s forests.
Student and Alumni Impacts
Stewarding Forests in the Face of Climate Change
Forests help mitigate climate change because of their ability to remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but they become carbon emitters during wildfires. PhD student Reid Lewis '20 MF is researching how satellite data and machine learning models can help fire-prone forests become more resilient.
“When we make these forests more fire resilient, we can not only store more carbon, we can also help protect human communities, foster wildlife habitat, safeguard watersheds, and can use the process of restoration to partner with and empower Indigenous nations,” says Lewis.
Fighting Fire with Fire
As wildfires across the U.S. and Canada continue to endanger human health and wildlife, Pete Caligiuri ’10 MF, forest strategy director for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, is working on fire suppression.
And these efforts include setting fires. “Frequent, extreme wildfires are a threat, but fire has to be part of the solution. Fire always has been a part of these landscapes. Beneficial fire — like prescribed burns and managed wildfires — is essential to the long-term resilience of these forest landscapes into the future,” Caligiuri says.
Empowering Young Leaders
In July, Indonesia hosted the Y20 Summit, an annual gathering of youth leaders from G20 nations. This year's summit emphasized a sustainable and livable planet, and its recommendations will be presented at the upcoming G20 Summit in November. Caroline Tasirin ’19 MFS — a lecturer in the forestry program at Indonesia’s Sam Ratulangi University and co-founder of SULUT Semangat, a program that empowers Indonesian youths to connect with nature — represented the host nation and served as co-chair of the selection committee for Indonesia. “I'm proud to have contributed my insight and honored to collaborate with diverse youth leaders,” she says.
Financing Community-led Climate Action in Africa
As a YSE student, Rita Effah ’12 MFS participated in COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. She says her experience at the annual U.N. climate change conference was the catalyst that sparked her interest in working to mitigate climate change impacts in Africa.
Now a senior climate finance officer at the African Development Bank, Effah is managing the Africa Climate Change Fund, which implements small grant projects in 28 African countries.
Restoring Belize’s Landscapes
Ki’ila Salas ’19 MF returned to her home country of Belize to participate in its first landscape restoration initiative, helping to develop its National Landscape Restoration Strategy for the Belize Forest Department. The project is part of the country’s national restoration commitment to the Bonn Challenge, which has a global goal to bring 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes into restoration by 2030.
“The project gave me great pride and joy in guiding the process of how the restoration strategies should be accomplished,” Salas says.
Rehabilitating Ghana’s Forests
After a decade as director of operations for Ghana’s Forestry Commission, overseeing the country’s commercial forest plantation development and land restoration, Hugh Brown ’10 MF was named executive director of the Commission's Forest Services Division in 2022.
The Commission has begun the restoration of more than 450,000 hectares of degraded forests and planted millions of new trees under Brown's leadership — part of a major reforestation initiative by the Ghanaian government to contribute to global climate action.
Mapping Panama’s Sustainable Farmlands
A researcher for the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative, Cecilia Rogers ’22 MFS is mapping the success of ELTI’s Panama program that helps cattle ranchers incorporate sustainable practices, such as the use of forested pastureland, into their land management.
Working with fellow students, she found that the amount of sustainably managed farmland had significantly increased from 4% in 2011 to 66% in 2020.
Indigenous Restoration Approaches
As co-founder and executive director of Shelterwood, Nikola Alexandre ’18 MF, MBA leads the restoration of a 900-acre forest in Northern California with Black and Indigenous community approaches to land care.
His work creates partnerships with and between traditional conservation NGOs, Indigenous and racial justice organizations, government agencies, and private landowners to model socially just and ecologically sound pathways to protecting and restoring nature. In 2020, Alexandre was named a Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award candidate for his work.
Tracking Forest Inventory
Richard Guldin ’76 MFS, ’79 PhD has helped reinvent the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program by integrating new sampling designs, field procedures, and innovative software to create an annual inventory that has become a global model. His work earned him the Society of American Foresters’ Sir William Schlich Award.
Forests and Climate Change
Conducting innovative research, trainings, and multi-stakeholder dialogues to increase understanding and leadership on forest-climate interactions, forest resilience, and the role of forests in mitigating climate change.
People and Livelihoods
Engaging forest communities on stewardship, conflict resolution, and environmental justice through place-based knowledge and relationships with the land.
Leading the way in forest and natural resource management education, research, and engagement for more than 120 years.
Centers and Programs
In critical natural landscapes rich in biodiversity, ELTI empowers local leaders to design and implement land use practices and initiatives that protect tropical forests and the livelihoods of local landowners and their communities.
The Forests Dialogue provides a platform for ongoing, multi-stakeholder conversations focused on collaborative solutions to challenges in achieving sustainable forest management and forest conservation.
Centered on generating science to support decision making, YASSP produces quantitative, reputable, scientific syntheses that guide and inform direct actions around land stewardship.
Contact the Yale School of the Environment admissions team for more information about admission into the forestry-focused degree programs.