SouthwestForestry University (SWFU) was initially founded as the Department of Forestry in Yunnan University in 1939. Following the establishment and merger of Kunming College of Agriculture and Forestry and Yunnan Forestry College, Southwest Forestry College was founded as a separate institution in 1978 and became an affiliate of China’s Ministry of Forestry. During the general reform of China’ higher education institutions in 2000, SWFU’s affiliation to the State Forestry Administration was transferred to “an institution for joint development but predominantly managed by the Yunnan Provincial Government“. During 70 years of cumulative education experiences and 30 years of independent operation, the university has become the only institution of higher learning that specializes in forestry in the Western Region of China. Its campus is located in Kunming City in Yunnan Province. The university has been a recipient of the awards for “University of Excellence in Campus Greening in Yunnan”, “National Advanced Greening Collective Institute”, and National Model Institute for Greening Campaign”.
SWFU’s fields of study are mainly centered on disciplines relevant to forestry, with special features and excellence in environmental and biological subjects that encompass multidisciplinary degree programs in agriculture, science, engineering, law, arts and management. Its multi-tier education programs include mainly Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as continuing education programs. Also included are higher professional and vocational education programs, together with special programs for international students. The university’s mission is to serve the economic and social development of the Southwest frontier regions of China by focusing on the building of a sound ecological environment and the development of the forestry sector in the region. SWFU is one of the first universities accredited for conferring a Master’s Degree in 1982 since China adopted the reform and opening policies, and has been ratified as a university selected to develop PhD programs in 2009. Presently the university offers 28 Master’s and 48 Bachelors’ Degree programs.
In total, the university has nine faculties and five departments which have enrolled 12,463 fulltime students, including 817 students registered for Master’s Degree programs and 11,155 for Bachelor’s Degree programs. The university has 1,027 faculty members, including 739 instructors of whom 114 are professors, 282 associate professors, 10 mentors for PhD candidates and the rest are adjunct faculty members.
The university has developed an effective system of facilities and laboratories for its education and research programs, including 18 laboratories certified for basic and major courses in Yunnan province and 65 off-campus sites for field practicum. Amongst a large number of research institutes and centers, the university has developed one national-level research institute, one key laboratory of the Ministry of Education, one key laboratory of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), one key laboratory of Yunnan Province, three key laboratories for universities in Yunnan, two engineering (technical) research centers for universities in Yunnan, three model experiment centers for universities in Yunnan, one model laboratory for universities in Yunnan, and one training base for innovative scholars of Yunnan.
The teaching and research competency at SWFU pioneers its peer universities in plateau wetland research, biodiversity and nature conservation, silviculture, forest management, forest protection, bamboo research, and wood science and technology. Unique regional features have developed in the fields of landscape gardening and ecotourism. Outstanding achievements were made in research on birds, fishes and ants.
The research funds received by the university in recent five years totals 160 million Chinese yuan. More than 3,000 papers, 110 monographs and six translated monographs have been published.
Our campus occupies 80 hectares and has an arboretum of 46.2 ha and floor space of 488,600 m2. The university library stocks about 1.12 million books, and more than 226,000 volumes of electronic magazines and books that are shared on a campus network.
The university has established cooperative and exchange ties with universities and research institutes in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam for joint research and the training of graduate and undergraduate students. Based on reciprocal credit transferrable programs, SWFU has started to develop joint-education programs for undergraduate students based on “2+2” model, as well as exchanging graduate students for field practicum which are mandatory for thesis research with universities in the US, Canada, Netherlands, Thailand and Poland. Joint research and training programs have been conducted in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation (FF).