The Department of Biomaterial Sciences and Technology has been offering undergraduate education since 2003. Currently the Department offers a Bachelor of Science in Wood science and technology. This degree programme was reviewed in 2007 and 2014 in line with the University Strategic Plan 2014-2018 and, to be in tandem with forest industries and business, to this extent the Department works very closely with commerce and industry. The degree programmes offered by the Department focus on building a strong foundation in basic sciences, wood sciences, wood processing, timber engineering, joinery and furniture construction, pulp and paper technology, bioenergy technologies, biofuels, environmental management, as well as in entrepreneurship and management of forest industries. The cohort of graduates being produced will help optimize the utilization of wood and non-wood products from plantation and indigenous forests in Zambia and the region. The Department boasts of a state-of-the-art sawmill at Chati Plantation block in Lufwanyama District, where students regularly do their wood harvesting and sawmilling practical work and research. The Department taps into the good will of several organizations, among them National Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Zambezi Paper Mills Ltd, Wood Processing Industries Ltd, Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Plc, Rainland Timbers Ltd, Copperbelt Forestry Company Ltd, KroupWood Company Ltd, Forestry Department and many more for industrial placement of students.

Degree Programmes

The Department currently hosts:
1.    Bachelor of Science in Wood Science and Technology
2.    Bachelor of Science in Bioenergy Science.

All undergraduate degree programmes are only offered on full-time basis at the moment.
The Department is additionally offering postgraduate in Renewable Materials & Energy:
•    MSc/MPhil
•    PhD

Postgraduate degree programmes are being offered on full-time, part-time and distance learning modes. For admission to a postgraduate programme, a candidate must possess a first degree in related field from a reputable and recognised institution
Research and Teaching Interests

Research in the Department is coordinated by a senior faculty member under three sub-themes, namely: Biochemicals and energy, Green construction materials and, Biomaterials value-addition, entrepreneurship and marketing. Great strides have been made to establish partnerships, to foster research and consultancy. The research projects range from wood quality and wood coatings performance, biodegradation of wooden poles, Xylarium and wood database for timber species in Zambia and, bioaccumulation of chemical elements in trees.

Availability of research equipment which is housed in the Department and other university laboratories fosters quality research which has resulted in presentation of results in scientific fora and publication in international peer-reviewed journals. Some of the state-of-the-art-research equipment items are: Quanta Scanning Electron Microscope for wood anatomy and microbial degradation analysis, LINTABTM for tree ring research, and Testometric Universal Testing Machine for quantification of mechanical properties of wood.


Felix K. Kalaba, Associate Professor

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences


Academic Qualifications
•    PhD in Environment, 2014, University of Leeds, UK
•    MSc in Forest Science, 2007, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
•    BSc in Forestry, 2004, The Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia

Brief Introduction
Felix joined the Copperbelt University in 2005. He is an Associate Professor of Environment and Development and Dean of the School of Natural Resources at the Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia. He has over 14 years of teaching and research experience within various aspects of environment and development. Professor Kalaba is a lecturer of Climate change mitigation and adaptation and has led research in climate adaptation. Felix’s research is interdisciplinary and uses theories and methods from both the natural and social sciences. His work engages significantly with research users, and is instrumental in informing international policy interventions. Felix is currently a Cross-Chapter Paper Lead on Tropical forests as well as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR).

He is Lead Author for Africa addressing impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Felix has published widely and provided consultancy services to several organisations including the World Bank and various UN agencies (e.g. FAO, UNCCD), private companies and government.  
Research Interests
Felix's research focuses on understanding human-environment relationships, land –uses changes and natural resources management in developing country contexts.

focusing on:
•    Ecosystem services and rural livelihoods
•    Risk and vulnerability assessments
•    Science, policy and environmental governance, and
•    Adaptation and mitigation to climate change

See Google scholar:


The sustainable use of natural resources is essential for the survival and development of mankind. The increasing needs and demands for natural resources such as forests and forest related resources, wildlife and fisheries urgently calls for sustainable management of these resources. There is clear evidence that anthropogenic activities are leading to problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. It is undeniable that greenhouse gases emission from deforestation and forest degradation are causing harm to our environment. Industrial growth and unsustainable agricultural practices are also resulting in loss of biodiversity and soil quality respectively leading to decreased soil productivity. Problems the country and the world at large are facing justify the need for professionally trained human resources in sustainable management of natural resources and conservation agriculture such as agroforestry. Generally, there has been a scarcity of professionally trained human resources in the sustainable management of natural resources in Zambia and elsewhere in Africa. The School of Natural Resources was set up to adequately train and produce professionals in agroforestry, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, wildlife management and, wood science and technology.

In 1995, the School of Natural Resources started operating as  one of the Schools of the Copperbelt University to offer degree programmes in Agroforestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, Wildlife Management and, Wood Science and Technology.
In 1996, the first student intake was enrolled for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry only. Other undergraduate degree programmes were later introduced as follows: Wood Science and Technology in 2002;  Agroforestry in 2006;  Wildlife Management, Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2009; Bioenergy Science, Plant and Environmental Sciences as well as Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Climate Change in 2016 and most recent, Aquatic Resource Science and Management in 2020.


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