Methodological and methodological problems of ecologization of forest education in Russia

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At the end of 2005, Professor V.G. Gorshkov, the author of the scientific concept of biotic regulation of the environment [Gorshkov, 1995], together with A.N. Makarieva, put forward the theory of the biotic pump of atmospheric moisture [Gorshkov, Makarieva, 2006; In memory of Viktor Georgievich Gorshkov, 2020], according to which virgin forests and swamps provide transport of moist air from the ocean to land. With this conclusion, the authors are trying to draw the attention of the scientific community and authorities to the catastrophic consequences of large-scale destruction of forest cover in many countries, including Russia. In the open letter dated 05.05.2006 (Forests as guarantors of the existence of Russian rivers and life on land (on the issue of adopting a new Forest Code)) [] they noted: “Scientific evidence has been obtained that the existence of rivers and precipitation on land is determined by the activity of undisturbed natural forests. An undisturbed forest is a living pump using solar energy to pump atmospheric moisture evaporated from the surface of the ocean onto land. It is shown that droughts, fires, floods, as well as hurricanes and tornadoes on land are the consequences of forest cover disturbance and the termination of the forest moisture pump operation. The destruction of the forests leads to the complete desertification of continents."

In this regard, the need to form a competent community of universal scientists and specialists from various branches of the economy, who are deeply versed in the theory of biotic regulation of the environment, is becoming increasingly acute. Appropriate environmental education should contribute to the formation and development of this community.


The low level of environmental education in forestry universities in Russia hinders the penetration and development of the environmental ideas in the field of forest policy, science and practice.

In our opinion, the problem comes from the fact that natural science disciplines are poorly represented in the curricula of training in this area: theoretical physics, evolutionary biology, meteorology and climatology, the ecological cycle of knowledge (ecology, nature management, etc.), that is, all those academic disciplines that, according to V.G. Gorshkova (2006) "form views on life and the environment" and guide to solving the problem of forest conservation as guarantors of conservation of biological diversity and sustainable maintenance of the global climate.

The purpose of our study was to provide comparative analysis of the content in the curricula of disciplines forming modern views on the environment. The objective of the study is to identify a potential direction for optimizing the content of curricula with disciplines of the environmental cycle of knowledge.


 When choosing universities for the survey, we used such an integral indicator as the rating for 2019. Experts have traditionally adopted the main criteria in compiling the rating: the quality of education, scientific activity, international relations, the demand for university students by employers. 496 universities participated in the rating (out of 2067 universities in the country). 52 universities of them provide training in accordance with the bachelor's degree program 35.03.01 Forestry. They annually graduate more than one thousand specialists in forestry and forestry management [Лесное-дело-35-03-01].

The main source materials became the curricula of the surveyed universities in the program 35.03.01 Forestry, which provide a quantitative characteristic in hours of the share of the academic load in physics, biology, meteorology and ecology. We have selected universities included in the "TOP-10", as well as for representativeness, universities in the middle and lower positions.

The data obtained during the survey allowed analyzing the information contained on the websites of the institutes of higher education and identifying the main problems on the way to the formation of modern views on the environment among future forest workers.


 Analyzing the table, it is difficult to disagree with the associate professor of the Ural State Forest Engineering University E.Yu. Serova [Serova, 2016, p. 23-24] that “the quality of training of specialists in Russian forestry institutes of higher education raises certain questions” from the fact that “there is a lack of breadth of outlook on life, knowledge in related fields - forest biology, chemistry, economics, social sciences, etc. The forest education is most often very narrow, technical, aimed more at mastering the implementation of routine procedures that have been developed over decades than at critically comprehending and reworking these procedures from the standpoint of modern science and practice. The rapid development of related fields of science, primarily biology and chemistry, has very little effect on the theoretical foundations of Russian forestry and has very little effect on the standards of forest education.”

Considering the presence in the curricula of disciplines that form modern views on the environment (be reminded that they are necessary for understanding the role of natural forest ecosystems in the biotic management of the environment and understanding the processes of functioning of the biotic (forest) pump of atmospheric moisture, etc.), it is necessary to note the following methodological and methodical errors.

1) in 6 out of the 18 universities presented in the table, the physics was taught in a small amount - 108 hours for the entire period of study, in one - only 54 hours, and in another - it was not presented at all;

2) in 5 out of the 18 universities, the role of biology is "downplayed" (180 or less hours for the entire period of study);

3) in 10 out of 18 universities, meteorology and climatology were taught in an abridged version, and in another 5 universities, these disciplines, traditionally considered relevant for forest workers, were ignored when compiling the curricula;

4) in 6 out of 18 universities the role of environmental disciplines was clearly “belittled”, and in another one, the ecology as a discipline was not included in the curriculum;

Only in 3 out of 18 universities (items 1, 2 and 4 in Table 1) we have not identified methodological and methodical errors hindering the formation of modern views on the role of the natural forests in the sustainable maintenance of the global climate.


 To repair the current situation in the forest education, the curricula is needed to be essentially adjusted by increasing the role of disciplines that form the modern views on forests as "guarantors of the existence of Russian rivers and life on land." It is this idea that is being implemented by the leaders of the forest education: the National Research Tomsk State University, the Pacific State University and the Siberian State University of Science and Technology. In the curricula of these universities, a significant number of hours is devoted to the study of the disciplines of the natural science cycle (physics, biology, climatology and meteorology, ecology) reflecting the modern methodology of biotic regulation of the environment.

About the authors

Alexander V. Kaverin

ФГБОУВО «Национальный исследовательский
Мордовский государственный университет им. Н.П. Огарёва», г. Саранск


д.с.-х.н., профессор

Russian Federation

Dmitry A. Masserov

ФГБОУВО «Национальный исследовательский
Мордовский государственный университет им. Н.П. Огарёва», г. Саранск


Nikita V. Dyukov


Gayaz R. Rezakov

Author for correspondence.


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Copyright (c) 2022 Kaverin A.V., Masserov D.A., Dyukov N.V., Rezakov G.R.

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