George Campus is a firm favourite of students who study Forestry because of its beautiful setting, natural surroundings and rich forestry history. The campus itself is surrounded by commercial forests, making it the ideal setting, integrating academic training and practical experience so that students enjoy broad exposure to the industry and its practices.

The South African forestry industry prides itself on the strong emphasis it has placed on the management of renewable resources, continually striving to ensure sustainability on an economic, social and environmental basis. Forest management has become one of the most important pre-requisites for the survival of the forestry industry today. It is of the utmost importance that the application of technical knowledge and skills are integrated with sound management principles. The Forestry course offered at the George Campus more than adequately equips its students to satisfy this need.


What do Foresters do?

Our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career in forestry and related fields. There are an array of jobs available to a forester, however the main emphasis is to sustainably manage commercial forestry estates by protecting the natural resource base, establishing and promoting the growth of planted trees and by harvesting the raw material (timber) in order to satisfy the downstream need for the product.


Career Opportunities

Career opportunities include: forestry management, silvicultural management, forest engineering, nursery management, forestry contracting, conservation management on commercial forestry estates, fire protection and management, forestry research, human resource management within the forestry sector, computers in forestry (such as global information systems or GIS), transport management, agro-forestry.



The history of the campus at George and the development of forestry and natural resource education in South Africa is an interesting and exciting one. George Campus has its origins in 1911 when a forestry college was established at Tokai near Cape Town. In 1932 the government of the day moved the college to a new location, Saasveld, near George in the Southern Cape. From 1932 to 1985 almost 1300 foresters were trained at this campus. A proud tradition of excellence and service to the forestry industry was established over these years. The third phase was entered when Saasveld was transferred to the Port Elizabeth Technikon in 1986. Tremendous growth and expansion has occurred, and new courses and degrees were introduced, including wood technology, nature conservation and agricultural management. An additional campus, the historic building of Hurteria, was acquired in the centre of George Town, where courses in business and information technology were introduced. Since January 2005, the campus formed part of the new Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, an institution that was established after the merger of the PE Technikon, University of Port Elizabeth and a campus of Vista. Being part of this new comprehensive institution which was rebranded and relaunched as Nelson Mandela University in July 2017, this campus faces exciting new opportunities for training and education in the broader field of natural resource management.

The South African forest industry relies upon the intensive management of exotic monocultures. The forest and wood processing industries forms an important part of the South African economy, and contributes significantly to the GDP of the manufacturing industry. This industry can be regarded as of a world class standard, and many technological developments and research findings have been pioneered by forest scientists of this country. Forestry today is a vibrant and dynamic industry that forms the backbone of the country’s pulp and paper, sawmilling and furniture manufacturing industries. It is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the South African economy.

The forest industry provides career opportunities for plantation managers, forest engineers, nursery specialists, soil scientists, ecologists, human resource managers and many others. The dynamic forestry market also creates an economic climate for entrepreneurs. The trained wood technologist can practice this occupation in various fields, including timber processing and treating, plywood manufacture, fibre and particle board manufacture, sawmilling, furniture and joinery manufacture, as well as building and timber construction.

George Campus provides forestry training that promotes the goals and philosophies of the South African forest industry. The career focused programmes in forestry and wood technology is driven by industry’s needs and standards. There is a strong focus on practical application and the skills of George Campus students are sought-after locally and internationally.

A new offering in Veldfire Management (Higher Certificate) complements the diploma and degree qualifications in Forestry and Wood Technology.

George Campus offers a range of formal programmes that allows students to progress to the highest levels of academic training. After two academic years, and a year of experiential training, the Diploma is awarded. Currently the BTech degree in Forestry or Wood Technology enables students to specialize in specific disciplines to prepare them for careers in management or research (Note: BTech degrees are being phased out - to be replaced by equivalent Advanced Diplomas). Masters and doctoral degrees provide students with the advanced levels of training necessary for applied management and research within the fields of forestry and wood processing.

Contact information
Prof Josua Louw
Director of School of Natural Resource Management
Tel: 27 44 801 5031