Posted by: Landscape Ecology Working Group | September 28, 2013

Prof. Dr. Bostjan Anko: in memoriam (1939–2013)

bostjan_anko_shAs an IUFRO community we are sad for the loss of Prof. Bostjan Anko who was the Alma Matter of this Working Party. He served as chairman and was one of the initiators of the IUFRO – Landscape Ecology Working Group.

Prof. Anko was born in 1939 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the Forestry Department of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, and he graduated in 1963. He continued his studies in the United States, earning a Master’s degree at Yale University in 1975, then returned home to earn his Ph.D. from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana in 1983.


After earning his Ph.D., he became an assistant professor at the Biotechnical Faculty in 1984; he became an associate professor in 1989, and a full professor of landscape ecology, natural heritage conservation, forest functions, forest resources, and management of forested landscapes in 1994. These were his key areas of interest, and he has mainly focused on changing attitudes toward nature and the location of forests in past and present landscapes. More recently, he became increasingly interested in forestry history, environmental education, and nature conservation.
In addition to his research work, he has always been attracted to educational work. He participated in the training and education of 21 generations of forestry students, and served as supervisor for 70 graduate students, including 17 Master’s students, 6 Ph.D. students, and 47 postdoctoral specialists.
He participated in numerous professional workshops and conferences both at home and abroad, some of which he also managed and organized. In particular, he organized a series of conferences dedicated to the different functions of forests. In the 1980s and 1990s, he paved the way for an interdisciplinary integration of forestry with other disciplines such as nature conservation. He edited a series of monographs on historical forest laws and the history of forests and forestry in Slovenia as well as a series of symposium proceedings on forest functions. In 1993 and 1994, he was head of the Department of Forestry, Biotechnical Faculty, and was also the first head of the faculty’s Department of Landscape Ecology.

Prof. Anko was a member of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, a member of the IUFRO working group on Forest History and served as chairman and vice-chairman of the IUFRO – Landscape Ecology Working Group. He also represented Slovenia in a COST (European Union) program for the forestry sector.
Later in in his career, he has focused on the protection of nature. He was the initiator of an inter-faculty postgraduate program for the protection of Slovenia’s natural heritage. This program has attracted many individuals from a range of fields to share their knowledge and experience, thereby deepening and broadening research on nature conservation. Even more important than the academic degrees attained by participants in this program is the interdisciplinary and integrated focus he taught to generations of students. This program led to the founding of DONDES -Slovenian Association for Conservation of Natural Heritage.
Prof. Anko was intellectually and spiritually strong, and combined these strengths with his loyalty to the forestry profession, which he considered a way to promote practical nature conservation in Slovenia. We will remember him as a pleasant, unobtrusive, and sophisticated interlocutor who strove to see the forest from more perspectives than timber production, and to share that vision with generations of students.

Janez Pirnat
University of Ljubljana

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