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The chair of seed science, nursery practice and afforestation

Brief history of the development

If history of a chair can be viewed through the establishment, development and continuity of subjects that it is composed of, then we can certainly say that the Chair of seed science, nursery practice and afforestation has as long a tradition as the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Belgrade.

The subject Botany was part of the curriculum of the Department of Forestry, of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry since the academic year 1930/31. Since the school year 1945/46, the curriculum of the silvicultural stream introduced the subjects Genetics and Forest cultures. During later years, these subjects changed their names, merged and separated, retaining their basic biological orientation towards plant production development for forestry, landscape architecture and ecological engineering.

The original name of the Chair comes from the subject Forest cultures, which was transformed into the subject of Forest Cultures and Plantations in 1958. In 1988, the subject changed its name and still exists as Seed science, nursery practice and afforestation, according to which the Chair was named. In addition to this subject, the backbone of the Chair are Botany and Genetics, as well as the theoretical bases of other subjects. The subject with the longest tradition at the Chair is Botany, referred to as a common subject in both departments of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Since then, the subject developed and intertwined with other disciplines, such as genetics and anatomy of wood, often changing its name to: Botany with genetics, Botany with the anatomy of wood, up to the present – Forest Botany and anatomy of wood.

As an independent subject Genetics was introduced to the curriculum of the Faculty of Forestry in 1945, with the establishment of the independent Faculty of Forestry. Since then, the subject developed following the latest developments in genetics. In 1961, the subject of Genetics is expanded with plant breeding as a practical discipline, and as such it has been in use for more than fifty years. In recent accreditations of the curriculum this subject was divided into two subjects: Forest Genetics and Plant Breeding. An elective subject Breeding of ornamental plants was also introduced at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. Current trends in forestry lead to the establishment of the subject Conservation and directed utilization of forest genetic resources, which served as the basis for the establishment of a new module in the study program of Forestry entitled: Plant production and conservation of forest genetic resources, from the accreditation of the 2014 curriculum. The same accreditation introduced new subjects in the master’s degree course: quantitative genetics in master studies, breeding for selected properties and molecular genetics of forest trees in doctoral studies. Since the establishment of the independent Faculty of Forestry the subject forest cultures has been in use, which, over time, evolved and changed its name. Today, the basic subject is called Seed science, nursery practice and afforestation and several subjects in master’s and doctoral studies have been derived from it.

From the beginning of the long chair history, to the present day, professors of the Chair have taken significant positions at the Faculty of Forestry, as deans (prof. Dr. Slobodan Stilinović) or vice-deans (prof. Dr. Aleksandar Tucović, prof. Dr. Vasilije Isajev and prof. Dr. Mirjana Šijačić-Nikolić ), Heads of Department (prof. Dr. Slobodan Stilinović and prof. Dr. Dragica Vilotić) or Deputy Head of the Department (prof. Dr. Mirjana Šijačić-Nikolić) and President of the Faculty Council (prof. Dr. Dragica Vilotić).