In 1973, the Virginia Tech Industrial Forest Operations program was initiated as a cooperative effort among the pulp and paper industry, forest equipment manufacturers, and Virginia Tech to provide undergraduate and graduate education programs. These programs were designed to prepare foresters for careers in wood procurement, working with independent contractors, and overseeing the operational aspects of forest industries. To create opportunities for graduate students, research became a larger focus in 1984 when faculty members and students began regularly cooperating with forest industry and equipment manufacturing personnel in the selection of research focus areas and projects. The program has since evolved with a name change to Forest Operations and Business to better reflect students’ and employers’ needs in a changing forest industry. Based in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, the Forest Operations and Business Research Cooperative taps a broad range of university and industry resources to provide students with educational and research opportunities that address forest industry needs.
The cooperative works in four major research areas related to forest management activities: