How to become a Forester
If you have a deep concern for forests and wildlife around the world, then a career as a Forester might just be for you. So, do you want to learn about how to become a forester?
What is a forester?
A forester is primarily responsible for managing and maintaining forest lands (both public and private). Whether for the primary purposes of conservation, recreation or profit, as a forester you will be in charge of managing a broad range of conservation and maintenance related projects. Examples of these projects include implementing projects to minimise land degradation or managing the restoration of forest lands after bushfires.
To accomplish this foresters have set tasks and responsibilities to fulfil during their day-to-day operations. Firstly, foresters are in charge of managing and overseeing strategic conservation projects. These usually involves determining the type, number and placement of trees to be planted, monitoring growth of new seedlings, managing tree nurseries, thinning forests, and even determining the methods for cutting and removing timber. While overseeing these regeneration projects foresters are always monitoring and aiming to make the least possible impact on native animals, local rivers and creeks (including water quality) and soil quality.
Part of the management process for forestry workers is making sure that forestry projects comply with contracts that have been set and that processes adhere to government regulations. Lastly, foresters are always balancing the short-term and long-term resource management challenges that come hand in hand with working with natural resources that change seasonally, are weather dependent and can at times be highly dangerous.
Foresters are often employed in large scale project within the forestry sector. It is important for aspiring foresters to have a keen interest in science and the environment and a passion for the outdoors. This job also requires a broad range of planning skills to implement large scale projects. Included in this is the need for strong soft skills, in particular the need for highly developed communication skills and the ability to collaborate effectively. This is especially important as foresters are expected to engage with a broad range of different stakeholders including landlords, other forest workers and government officials.
Hours and Conditions
Foresters typically work full time with a standard schedule, although this depends on the employer. These hours also vary in response to emergencies such as forest fires or during critical periods during restoration projects.
There are several employment options for Foresters. They can either work for the government (Federal, State, or Local), on privately owned lands, or in social advocacy organisations. Whether foresters work for the government or in the private sector, a forester’s main goal and priority is always to nurture and protect native wildlife and the environment.
How to become a forester: Qualifications
If you hope to pursue a career as a forester, a strong education is important. A great way to start is to complete a degree in forest sciences or forest science and management. Another option is to have take up forestry or forest science as a postgraduate course after completing a Bachelor’s degree in a related area such as environmental science. Either pathway works as long as you complete a forest science degree.
To get into these courses you would usually need to have a high school certificate or equivalent. Subjects that will help you to prepare for this career pathway include english, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and earth and environmental science.
Most degrees in forestry are recognised by the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA). This association offers student, associate and voting memberships. A great way to get actively involved in the community and to boost your employment prospects would be to have a degree in forestry, plus to become a member of IFA. Lastly, practical experience is again not a direct requirement, but it would be to your advantage when trying to gain employment as a forester.
To look at courses that will help you find a role as a forester check out:
Employment opportunities for Foresters are not projected to grow rapidly and job growth is primarily focused around working in state-owned forest organisations. These include areas where the primary concern of government agencies is managing forests and preventing and suppressing bushfires. Despite the limited growth and opportunities for employment, forester remains an important part of the forestry industry.