Department of Forest and Wood Science

Research is conducted in the fields set out below.

Forest Science

  • Silviculture: The genetic improvement of trees, propagation of trees, tree establishment, management of indigenous forests and woodlands as well  site/species matching.
  • Forestry Development: The use of indigenous trees by communities, the participatory management of indigenous forests and woodlands and the use of agroforestry technologies for community development are investigated.
  • Forest Management: Research focuses on forest inventory, growth and yield modelling of natural and commercial plantation forests, GIS-modelling, informatics, forestry economics and finance, business management and policy.
  • Forest Engineering: This field deals with logistics and supply-chain management, operations research, harvesting systems optimisation, optimal building and management practices for access roads and forest road networks, and timber transport, costing and work-study protocols.

Wood Science

  • Wood Properties: Deepening study of the biological, physical and chemical properties of importance during the processing and use of wood-based products. Include amongst others, micro and macro structures, biodegradation, wood/water relationship, thermal behaviour, mechanical strength, and electrical and acoustic properties.
  • Wood pPocessing: Further studies of the processes, economics and management of primary and secondary wood processing industries.
  • Wood-based Constructions: The design, manufacture and properties of wood-based constructions, joints and fasteners, durability and performance testing.
  • Industrial Research and Practice: Identification and solving of an industrial problem or development of a product.

Postgraduate qualifications

(Visit the links below for Calendar information on the programmes' curricula)

Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry and Wood Sciences

MSc  in Forestry and Natural Resource Sciences OR Wood and Wood Products Sciences

PhD or PhD (Agric) in Forestry and Wood Sciences

DSc in Forestry and Wood Sciences



Programme co-ordinator: Dr Brand Wessels

Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3323