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There is no denying importance of forest-related industries to the economy. Trees are primary resources that we harvest and sell off in order to stay competitive in a global economy. Mining or logging companies often own land that is regularly harvested of trees. However, without proper management, those forests would disappear forever. Thanks to the re-planting and careful assessments and planning of foresters, forests are remaining a natural renewable resource.

Foresters plan and direct the planting, growth and harvesting of trees meant for wood production, and they monitor animals, plantlife, and soil conditions. They work for governments, conservation authorities, and private logging companies, ensuring that forest land is used wisely, optimizing production of forest resources and minimizing adverse impacts on the land, water and wildlife. They may be involved in planning tree planting sessions, pruning and trimming trees, and monitoring for disease, forest fires, and assessing the impacts of pollution on forests. They monitor wildlife, and asses the impact forestry operations can have on their populations and habitats. They also get involved in genetic research with trees, as well as look for ways to bring conservation and logging information to the public in open, unbiased, and honest ways.

They are also involved in more technical aspects of forest management, such as overseeing bridge and road construction, as well as planning and supervising timber harvesting operations to achieve minimal timber damage and waste.

They aim to preserve the forests' esthetics, wildlife, soil and water resources, while still allowing for recreational activities, timber sales, and oil drilling operations. These professionals look to preserve a balance between exploiting a forests' resources without depleting them.
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Concordia University - Portland

Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland

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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Foresters need to be interested in nature, forests specifically. They should work well in a team environment, have good organizational and communication skills, as well as, a keen interest in all aspects of nature and a serious concern for the environment. Foresters should have leadership skills and be able direct the activities of others. Planning and time management skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills are also useful. They also need computer and calculation skills. They should also be adaptable, practical, responsible and alert.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Initiate reforestation by overseeing seed and tree planting programs
  • Assess the impacts of wild fires, insects, diseases and/or pollution on forests
  • Oversee forest engineering activities such as road layout and construction
  • Plan and supervise timber harvesting operations
  • Advise government and industry officials on forest management issues
  • Develop and deliver public education and awareness programs
  • Investigate the impact of forest operations on soils, water, wildlife and their habitats
  • Assess human and environmental impacts on forests
  • Develop and test new forest products and harvesting processes
  • Conducting research on tree improvement
  • A forester has a lot of tasks to take care of in a typical day. Along with tests, monitoring developments, and checking in with logging and engineering practices, a forester must also keep records of all activities taking place in their forest, communicate with logging and mining companies, conservation authorities, and the local government to keep them informed about forest conditions. They travel around the forest, and spend a few days a week outdoors.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Foresters divide their time working outdoors, by themselves or in small crews. They sometimes have to drive or hike to places of interest, sometimes camping out to do a proper assessment of conditions. They can be exposed to all types of weather and animals living in the woods.
  • The majority of the time, however, is spent in offices. They work on planning and administration for governments, forest management companies, and for companies that own forests. These could be logging companies. They also work for consulting companies, educational institutions, and oil and mining companies. Some foresters are self-employed as private consultants.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Foresters can advance to supervisory roles, or open their own consulting companies. Some become researchers, or forestry scientists, assessing the data gathered by forest technologists and technicians. With additional experience, foresters may move into management and administrative positions, or move into related fields such as land use planning, reclamation work, vegetation control, surveying or working in state or national parks.

  Educational Paths  
Foresters usually have a university degree in forestry. Research positions generally require at least a master's degree in forestry; often a PhD is required for independent research positions.

It is a good idea for prospective foresters to get some experience on their own. They might try camping, hiking, and traveling the bush in all-terrain or four-wheel-drive vehicles. There are also many opportunities for young people to work as tree planters. Some states require foresters to register with a professional association. Information about this is passed along in forestry-related programs at school.

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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Concordia University - Portland

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