A History of the Department

Natural Resources teaching, research, and outreach have a long history at UNH. Even before the first formal forestry programs began in 1911, forestry and soils courses were part of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture's curriculum. The Wildlife and Forestry programs have been linked for decades and together with Soils, Hydrology, and Resource Economics, merged to form the Institute of Natural and Environmental Resources (INER) in the very early 1970s. The faculty within the newly formed INER launched the Environmental Conservation program in response to growing interest in conservation and the environment.

In 1983, in response to perceived threats to the professional accreditation of the forestry program, INER was dissolved. The hydrology program became part of the Department of Earth Sciences, Resource Economics and Community Development became its own department, while the Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, and Environmental Conservation programs emerged as the Department of Forest Resources. The Water Resources Management degree program was added in 1988. Recognizing that the interests and expertise of the students and faculty had broadened beyond forests, the Department was renamed the Department of Natural Resources in 1989. We have since combined the Soil Science and Water Resources Management programs, along with the Hydrology program from Earth Sciences, to create the Environmental Sciences undergraduate degree program.

NREN Presently

In 2008, the merger of the Natural Resources (NR) and Resource Economics and Development (RED) departments enhanced our capacity to address the human dimensions of natural resources and environmental problems, providing a strong foundation in ecology for the social sciences. The newly developed Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, integrates the applied social sciences and natural resources sciences, enabling a more holistic, integrated approach to education, research, and outreach about use and conservation of resources.

Forestry Program Accreditation

The bachelors of science in forestry (B.S.F.) at UNH is a professional degree, accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) since 1959.

It is one of only four accredited undergraduate forestry programs in New England. As part of the accreditation process, the forestry program and its curriculum undergo both periodic internal review and an external review every ten years.  The most recent on-site review by the Society of American Foresters was conducted in May, 2009.

The forestry program met the following standards.

  • Forestry Program, Mission,Goals and Objectives
  • Curriculum
  • Forestry Program Organization and Administration
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Parent Institution Support

The Society of American Foresters Committee on Accredition grants continued accreditation to the foresty curriculum leading to a B.S.F degree in forestry through December 31, 2019.

LEED Gold Certification

James Hall Restoration

James Hall reopened in January after an environmentally friendly renovation and is the first LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), certified building on campus. The renovation increased the building's size by 14,000 square feet, using 75% of the existing exterior walls, floors and roof. Historic architectural elements of the building were salvaged and restored, maintaining the character of the building.

  • Four story historic staircase, brass hand rails and light fixtures 
  • Built-in-millwork bench seating
  • Yellow brick walls and wainscoting
  • Terrazzo floors
  • Hitchcock map

Sustainable innovations in James Hall include a gray water system that captures rainwater from the building’s roof and gutters for use in toilets; daylight harvesting, which utilizes motion sensors to turn off electrical fixtures when natural daylight provides adequate light; and a heat wheel recovery system, which makes the air handling unit extremely efficient. Chilled beam technology is used to condition or regulate the temperature throughout the building, proving to be more efficient in utilizing less electrical energy of conditioned air required to meet the same thermal load.

The James Hall renovation included a “green” roof that utilizes plantings to clean and conserve water; an outdoor “classroom” featuring a slate chalkboard from the original building; and an 1878 wooden New Hampshire geological relief map by Charles Hitchcock, restored by Professor Emeritus of geology Wally Bothner.