Faculty of Forestry

 

The predecessor of the Faculty of Forestry was the School for Training Mining Officers founded by Charles III in Selmecbánya in 1735, which was raised to an academic rank by Maria Theresa. In 1807 the Chamber of Royal Mint established the Forestry School within the Mining Academy and made Henrik David Wilkens its director. The professor started giving lectures in 1808. This year is regarded as the year of foundation of the legal predecessor of the Faculty of Forestry, and this date appears on its crest.

As a result of the high level education, the Forestry School was advanced to an independent academic rank in 1840. During the 1846 higher education reform, the institute was integrated into the Academy of Mining, which was renamed the Academy of Mining and Forestry.

The most distinguished professors of the era were: physicist Christopher Doppler, Rudolf Feistmantel, who reorganised the order of the imperial wooded properties and supervised the elaboration of the first Austrian forest law, Károly Wagner, the creator of the Hungarian professional terminology of forestry, and of the first Hungarian forest law, the founder of the Forestry Journal still published today, and Jenő Vadas, the establisher of the Hungarian forestry research.

In 1919 Selmecbánya ceased to be a Hungarian town. It belonged to the new Czechoslovakia and therefore the College moved to Sopron. The town offered a building complex to the College in a ten hectare park. The buildings, planned by Ignác Alpár and erected from 1896-1898, had served as the Hungarian Royal Military School. The institutes of the Faculty of Forestry operate in these wonderful surroundings, in the constantly thriving Botanical Garden, in the buildings which were completely renovated in the years 2006/2007.

Owing to the armed resistance of the students admitted from Selmec, the powers of the Triple Entente ordered Sopron to hold a referendum, to decide which country the town would belong to. The activity of the students also contributed to the result of the referendum, as a consequence of which Sopron remained a Hungarian town. The College obtained the right of conferring honorary lecturer titles and the right to offer habilitation processes for professors. From 1949 the Faculty of Mining and Metallurgy was gradually separated and moved to Miskolc. After the defeat of the 1956 Revolution and Freedom Fight a large proportion of teachers and students left the country. Most went to Canada, where they formed the Hungarian division of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, and finished their studies there. Several of those who left Hungary won international recognition as a result of their work in the USA, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Beside losses, there was also development. Within the Faculty of Forestry the training of wood industry engineers started in 1957. With the establishment of the Faculty of Wood Sciences, the University of Forestry and Wood Sciences came into being in 1962. In 1972 the Land-Surveying and Land Management College Faculty joined the university.

The Faculty of Forestry has a significant scientific capacity. Its research strategy fits into the research-development innovation strategy of the University of West Hungary; it represents the areas of science characteristic of the faculty, and serves as a basis for a high level university education.

Its most important research areas are: the forest as an ecosystem, the natural and economic conditions of forest management, impact assessment of the changing environment (e.g. climate change), nature conservation, wildlife biology - wildlife management, molecular bases of the physiological processes of forest trees and dendro-chemistry.

The demonstration school of the Faculty is the Roth Gyula Demonstration Vocational Secondary School and Student Hostel, where there is forestry, wildlife management and environment protection technician education in addition to secondary-school studies.

The Faculty of Forestry maintains relations with several (17) domestic and foreign universities. There are frequent student and lecturer exchange programs. There is excellent co-operation with the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, the Georg August University of Göttingen and the University of British Columbia in Canada. It has close relations with universities and professional institutions at home and abroad, including ERTI (Forest Science Institute), OEE (National Forestry Association), MEGOSZ (Association of Hungarian Private Forest Owners), FAGOSZ (Hungarian Federation of Forestry and Wood Industries), EFDSZ (Trade Union of the Workers of Forestry and Wood Industry), Hungarian Chamber of Engineers, IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organisations), EFI (European Forest Institute).

According to a student opinion poll, made by the National Higher Education Information Centre (OFIK), published under the title “Universities on the Balance” in 2005, the Forestry Faculty of the University of West Hungary is the faculty with the best atmosphere.

The Faculty of Forestry received the Civitas Fidelissima award from the Mayor of Sopron on the “Day of Fidelity” in 2008.