Just over seven decades have passed since the establishment of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University (SCMU) in Skopje. This is an important jubilee and with it coincide the jubilees and age of the first several faculties which were the nucleus of the forming of the university. Namely, after the establishment of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1946, as early as 1947 the Faculties of Agriculture and Forestry, Faculty of Natural sciences and Faculty of Medicine were formed, enabling conditions for the establishment of what will always be the first and oldest university in the Republic of North Macedonia.
After establishment of the Faculty of Forestry in 1947, history books will mention 1950, as the year in which the first graduated forestry engineers were promoted, coming from the first generation of students from the Forestry department of the former Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. In that same year the forest-research station was formed, as a separate functional unit of the faculty. Several education and research objects were formed under its framework on sites at Trubarevo and Kitka near Skopje, as well as in Krushevo, on mountain Karaorman and in Krushino near Kavadarci. All these objects served for long-term trials in several areas of forestry sciences, and on many occasions, they were used for educational purposes for undergraduate and postgraduate students. In the same year the dendropark was officially established, being under construction since 1947. At times, the dendropark has counted up to 600 species of woody and green plants, and by this was among the most valuable parks in the wider region, while regarding the number of plant species was considered to be the richest. Throughout the years, the surface area of the original dendropark has decreased due to construction of several objects of SCMU, or of commercial objects and enlargement of the surrounding road infrastructure.
During its existence, the Faculty of Forestry has passed through several phases, either of administrative or organizational nature, or regarding changes related only to educational matters, i.e. study programs.
One of the more important changes happened in 1975, when conditions were ripe for formation of two independent and separate units – the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Forestry, emerging from the former Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. This was formalized by a decision of the Assembly of P.R. of Macedonia, and as early as 1976 the Faculty of Forestry merged with the Forestry Institute, otherwise established at the end of WWII, in 1944.
Another bigger institutional change happened in early 2011, when the former internal unit, the Institute of wood industry, was extracted from the Faculty of Foresty and a new faculty was established within SCMU, the Faculty for design and technologies of furniture and interior. From that moment on, the Faculty of Forestry evolved into a new phase, in which sciences and art related to wooden industry and design of furniture and interior are no longer focus of interest. It must be stated that the relations between the institutions are close, and there is good cooperation, both on educational and on research aspects, where there are needs, complementarity and possibilities.
One of the basic positive characteristics of higher education is the capability of permanent evolution and adaptation. This capability is an indicator for assessment of the quality of institutions, i.e. universities, and consequently, of whole societies. Inert and inflexible higher education, especially in the highly dynamic world we live in, will not only not achieve its basic social goals, but can even be a factor of serious negative implications, i.e. be a factor contributing for lagging behind other societies and nations. The academic personnel of the Faculty of Forestry in Skopje has taken these premises in consideration, and throughout the 70 years existence, has materialized bigger or smaller changes and adjustments of the educational process and of the curricula, in accordance with world trends in forestry and environmental sciences. The basic goals have always been modernization of the educational process and the study programs and compatibility with appropriate programs of related faculties from European universities, and those goals have been achieved. Thus, apart from education and formation of cadre in the field of classic forestry, depending of needs and trends which were initiated by wider social interests, study programs at the Faculty of Forestry have been created and adapted through which cadre of various and specific qualifications have been educated. For that matter, apart from forestry, cadre have been educated for establishment and amelioration of forests, utilization and transport, landscape design, improvement of the environment, mechanical technology of wood, and others. It was out of the same reasons that the Faculty of Forestry went through major changes within the latest accreditation (2012). Parallel with the changes and adjustments of the current modules “Forestry” and “Landscape design”, a novel module was established – “Ecoengineering and ecomanagement”.
Recently, the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the Faculty experienced a new, bigger change through its rebranding in the Hans Em Faculty of Forest Sciences, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Engineering, named in honor of Academician Hans Em – Director of the Forestry Institute of the People’s Republic of Macedonia, founder of prominent scientist in the field of forestry.
The forests of Macedonia are one of our most important resources, and with it are connected various other values, all equally important, from material/financial, through social, to environmental. All relevant factors which directly work or are related to forestry and to the environment, are more or less, related with the Faculty of Forestry. The activities of the faculty have always been in close correlation with those entities, be it public (public enterprises, ministries, national parks, protected areas) or commercial and non-governmental institutions. We hope that this will remain so and that collaboration will increase in the future.