Forestry technician

A forestry technician


Forestry technicians assist and support the forest manager and implement their decisions. They supervise a team of forestry equipment operators and support and supervise forestry and environmental protection through research and data collection. They also manage resource conservation and harvesting plans.

Forestry technicians typically do the following:

  • Assist with reforestation efforts, including working in nurseries, preparing sites, seeding, planting, controlling weeds, and pruning
  • Assess sites for reclamation and rehabilitation work
  • Carry out and supervise seed harvesting and cultivation of young trees
  • Take samples and forest measurements, including species, height, diameter, age, and quality
  • Manage, coordinate, and assist with forest fire-fighting efforts or controlled burns
  • Enforce fire protection regulations to protect forest zones
  • Survey, measure, and map forest areas and access roads
  • Assess the new growth of areas previously logged
  • Supervise the use of herbicides and insecticides to implement pest, weed, and disease control
  • Monitor compliance with regulations governing forest operations and provincial and Crown land management
  • Inspect sites for environmental field reports to assess new areas for oil and gas activity
  • Conduct and supervise forest inventory cruises, surveys and field measurement
  • Perform technical functions in preparation of forest management and harvest plan
  • Assist in planning and supervise the construction of access routes and forest roads
  • Implement, supervise and perform technical functions in silvicultural operation
  • Monitor activities of logging companies and contractors
  • Enforce environmental, fire safety and accident prevention regulation
  • Provide forestry education, advice and recommendations to woodlot owners
  • Develop and maintain computer databases
  • Supervise forest tree nursery operations
  • Provide technical support to forestry research
  • Assist in planning and supervise the construction of access routes and forest roads
  • Implement, supervise and perform technical functions in silvicultural operations involving site preparation, planting, and tending of tree crops
  • Co-ordinate activities such as timber scaling, forest fire suppression, disease or insect control or pre-commercial thinning of forest stands
  • Supervise and perform technical functions in forest harvesting operations
  • Monitor activities of logging companies and contractors and enforce regulations such as those concerning environmental protection, resource utilization, fire safety and accident prevention
  • Provide forestry education, advice and recommendations to woodlot owners, community organizations and the general public
  • Develop and maintain computer databases
  • Select and mark trees to be cut
  • Track where wildlife goes, help build roads and maintain trails, campsites, and other recreational facilities
  • Survey regrowth on cut areas
  • Survey trees and collect samples of plants, seeds, foliage, bark, and roots to record insect and disease damage
  • Use aerial photographs, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to map and collect data on forest areas.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to forestry technician:

forestry operations foreman
forestry operations technician
forestry foreman
foresty supervisor
forestry technologist
forestry operations technologist
forestry operations supervisor
forestry operations forewoman
forestry forewoman

Working conditions

Working conditions for forestry technicians vary with the kinds of work they do. Some technicians must live where they work. Others can commute to work each day from nearby towns and cities. Technicians work alone or in small crews with several aides, foresters, or other technicians. They may supervise small crews of temporary aides.

Sometimes forestry technicians travel deep into the wilderness, and they may be away from home for several days. Although forestry technicians work an average of forty hours a week, their hours are often irregular and vary with the seasons and the weather.

Minimum qualifications

To be a forestry technician, one to two years of training beyond high school is necessary. Many junior and community colleges offer two-year programs leading to an associate degree in forest technology. Necessary training can also be obtained at a four-year college. Training for forestry technicians generally includes courses in land surveying, timber cruising, forest protection, wildlife management, and logging.

Some forestry technicians learn their skills on the job by working as forestry aides. However, those who have no specialized training may experience difficulty finding work.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Forestry technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Forestry technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to forestry technician.

timber trader
forestry inspector
fire protection technician
fire inspector
deck officer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of forestry technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of forestry technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

forestry adviser
countryside officer
conservation scientist
airport environment officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of forestry technician.

  • Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
  • Fire-fighting systems: The devices and systems used to extinguish fires; the classes and chemistry of fire.
  • Forest ecology: The ecosystems existing in a forest, starting from bacteria to trees and soil types.
  • Logging: The process of felling, cutting trees and transforming them into timber, including mechanical felling and processing.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of forestry technician.

  • Monitor logging operations: Ensure that logging operation follow the contractually agreed terms and specified procedures. Strive to solve any problems that arise during the operation. Improve on existing methods and ensure compliance with safety, company, and government regulations.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Apply prescribed herbicides: Carry out, under supervision and as authorised, the spraying of prescribed herbicides in accordance with training and skills acquired, using manufacturers’ application rates, in accordance with materials safety data sheets and any formal procedure and practice in place, and for which clearance has been issued.
  • Apply forest legislation: Ability to efficiently apply forest legislation and principles.
  • Maintain forest roads: Inspect the forest roads in order to spot malfunctions, such as fallen trees, and organise repair processes.
  • Coordinate timber sales: Efficiently coordinate timber selling in a profitable way. Assist companies in reaching timber production goals by managing timber sales. Takes lead role in timber sale layout and road location activities including clearing and posting timber sale boundaries, cruising timber to determine volumes and grade and marking trees to be removed in commercial thinning operations.
  • Monitor work site: Regularly ensure that working conditions on site meet health and safety requirements; ensure that the proposed work will not pose a threat to the physical integrity of others.
  • Conduct reforestation surveys: Determine the maintenance and distribution of seedling . Identify disease and damage done by animals. Prepare and submit notifications, written plans and budgets for reforestation.
  • Perform tree thinning: Remove some trees from a stand in order to improve tree health, timber value and production.
  • Plant green plants: Plant seeds manually or by using ground equipment.
  • Maintain forestry equipment: Check forestry equipment to make sure that it is in working order.
  • Supervise forestry workers: Supervise and coordinate the staff that works in the forestry areas.
  • Vegetation control: Spray vegetation by the sides of roads to control its encroachment on forest roads.
  • Manage forest fires: Protect life, property and resources by preventing forest fires. Detect, control, restrict and suppress fires when they occur. Integrate knowledge of fire regimes, the effects of fire and the values at risk, the required level of forest protection, and costs of fire-related activities.
  • Operate forestry equipment: Operate various forest instruments such as skidders, bulldozers to pull scarification or site preparation equipment over forest areas to be regenerated.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of forestry technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Advise contractors: Advise contractors on the interpretation of plans and recommends changes when necessary.
  • Read maps: Read maps effectively.
  • Advise on tree issues: Provide advice to organisations and private persons on planting trees and tree safety. Investigate current conservation and tree management projects.
  • Work in a forestry team: Collaborate with other forest workers in a team in service of forestry or forest related operations.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Lead a team in forestry services: Direct a forestry team or crew and guide them to the common goal of completing a variety of forestry related assignments and tasks.
  • Monitor forest productivity: Monitor and improve forest productivity by organising growing, timber harvesting, and health measures.
  • Advise client on technical possibilities: Recommend technical solutions, including systems, to the client within the framework of a project.
  • Advise supervisors: Advise supervisor of problems, changes, or suggestions for more effective regulation practice or development activity.
  • Monitor drivers: Ensure that drivers meet the legal requirements to operate, arrive at work at required times, present no signs of alcohol or drug abuse, and follow the commissioned itineraries of the day. Monitor drivers to ensure quality work performance and efficiency. Ensure maintenance of record of time expended and distances covered.
  • Monitor equipment: Monitoring equipment implies watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Monitor workload: Monitoring the overall workload of a production in order to keep it within legal and human limits.
  • Operate GPSsystems: Use GPS Systems.
  • Advise on timber harvest: Provide guidance on how to apply the most appropriate timber harvesting method: clearcut, shelterwood, seed tree, group selection or single-tree selection.
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.

ISCO group and title

3143 – Forestry technicians

  1. Forestry technician – ESCO
  2. Forestry Technician/Technologist – ECO Canada
  3. Forestry Technician Job Description –
  4. Featured image: By Moinats – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on December 16, 2022