Considering changes in wood utilization a european perspective
Keywords:wood science and technology, education, global change
Worldwide, continuous change is evident. What impact does it have on the utilization of wood? What should be considered when educating professionals in Wood Science and Technology (WS&T)? Where did we come from and where do we need to go? .Throughout history, forests provided important social, ecological, and economic values. Wood utilization advanced along with an unprecedented and exciting industrial evolution and WS&T became an interdisciplinary field. Recently, stronger environmental concerns and “globalization” impacted societies in major ways influencing timber availability, processing, and trade. Demand is growing for bio-energy, “green” chemicals and composites. CO2 savings are to be made by using timber in construction. Globalization created entirely new business that communicate and network worldwide. Quality assurance for products and manufacturing increases in importance. Globalization demands interdisciplinary education in WS&T. While recognized as a material science, it must retain its identity and association with related industries. Undergraduate education requires a broad knowledge base, then specialized topics, and finally, integration of information with options available. Graduate programs are ideally tailored to background and professional needs of students, but thesis topics are best selected from faculty research. Bodies for accreditation of curricula may be wise to require a standardized core of subjects, but show flexibility.