The science of Forestry first emerged in Central and Northern Europe in response to the continuously growing needs for timber as a resource material in industrial development, and the ensuing environmental problems created by the extended deforestation and exploitation of the natural environment.
The anxiety of the scientific world regarding management of these resources led to the development of Academic Departments and Institutions initially in Central Europe, and later on throughout the continent. The First University Faculty dedicated to Forestry was founded in 1917 in Athens, but it was transferred to Thessaloniki in 1927 so as to function at the time as one of the basic Educational Institutions of the newly founded University of Thessaloniki.
The Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Democritus University of Thrace operates from the city of Orestiada since the academic year 1999-2000, when it first admitted undergraduate students in the first year of studies. Its current enrollment rate is 105 freshmen in first year.
The Department was founded by the Presidential Decree 203/99, with the stated goal to:
Promote the Sciences of Forestry and the Environment with particular emphasis in fostering and advancing scientific knowledge in the area Natural Resource Management, as well as in training of highly qualified personnel capable of investigation, research, and applied use of advanced technologies for the development, improvement, protection and management of forests and forest lands and the natural environment.
Forestry is built on fundamental principles of the Natural Sciences such as Physics, Botany, Zoology, Oryctology, Weather and Climate forecasting, Chemistry and others. It also needs the contribution and support of Theoretical Sciences such as Economics and of Positive sciences such as Mathematics and Informatics whereas applied sciences and engineering, play an equally important role. In this manner, the entity of Forestry is an interdisciplinary structure that combines several related fields. In some cases development of application of Forestry requires collaboration with specialists from other fields, such as engineers, chemists and biologists.
The Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources aims in contributing towards the development of the Science of Forestry through academic training, research, scientific publications and textbook development. Also, through the involvement of its faculty and graduates to help in improved management of forests in Greece and in the protection of the country's natural environment.
The presence of D.U.Th. in the greater area of Thrace, in the province of Evros, and in the remote City of Orestiada prescribes an even more important role for this Department, as a leader in the cultural and intellectual life of the region.