Silviculture Technician

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Silviculture Technician


For millions of years the earth has been regenerating itself. From the soil to the trees this naturally occurring process has taken place without the help of humankind. Over the past century however, the rapid growth of industries such as logging have endangered our forests and created the need for specialized workers to help in the process of reforestation.

The basis of forestry is silviculture, the science of growing trees. Silviculture technicians are forestry workers who work to manage, improve and conserve forests. They do this by assessing planting sites and the soil, selecting seedlings and planting trees. Silviculture workers thin trees and undergrowth and collect seed cones to help in the conservation and reforestation process.

The office of a silviculture worker is the great outdoors, so being a nature enthusiast is an asset to this job. They must be prepared to bend, stoop, stand and walk for long periods of time, possibly while carrying heavy equipment. Needless to say this work demands physical endurance and the ability to withstand heat, cold and unexpected weather conditions daily. It is important to note that a lot of this work takes place in remote areas where workers live in camps with little or no contact with the outside world for weeks at a time.

Silviculture technicians have become an integral part of forest management, conservation and preservation in this country.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
People employed as silviculture technicians must be able to work well independently and as part of a team. They are concerned with the conservation and preservation of our forests and most silviculture technicians love working out doors. They are physically fit and able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions in order to get the job done. Working with heavy equipment and occasionally chemicals is another component of silviculture work technicians must be prepared to do.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assess site, select seedlings and plant trees using manual planting tools in reforestation areas
  • Operate power thinning saw to thin and space trees in reforestation areas
  • Operate chainsaws to thin young forest stands
  • Control weeds and undergrowth in regenerating forest stands using manual tools and chemicals
  • Operate a skidder, bulldozer or other prime mover to pull a variety of scarification or site preparation equipment over areas to be regenerated
  • Perform other silviculture duties such as collecting seed cones, pruning trees and marking trees for subsequent operations.
  • Silviculture technicians can be found working in the forests and in clear cut areas. Sometimes, they work in nurseries producing seedlings for planting. They will spend time alone and working as part of a team or crew throughout the day. Isolation is definitely an aspect of this work with silviculture technicians being employed for weeks at a time in remote camps. This work tends to be seasonal with the peak work season running from spring through to fall.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Silviculture technicians work in reforestation and in the management, improvement and conservation of forests. They are mainly employed in the professional business services industry, the logging and forestry industry and in the government services sector.

  Long Term Career Potential  
There are a few opportunities for advancement within this field. Most opportunities require additional education depending on the individual's previous training. For example, with additional education and experience they can advance to becoming a registered professional forester upon completion of a bachelor's degree in forestry. With experience, these workers can also advance to supervisory positions.

  Educational Paths  
Education and training requirements vary widely. Generally, employees have a minimum high school diploma. On-the-job training is provided and coupled with previous volunteer or forestry crew experience it is sometimes enough to obtain employment. Often, completion of a college or other specialized programs such as a silvicultural worker's licence is required. It can also be helpful to take courses areas such as heavy equipment and machine operation, first aid, safety regulations, and forest-fire equipment handling and techniques. Most of these courses will be part of the training once one is hired. However, having them already might help an aspiring silviculture technician land a job

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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