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What is a Forest and Conservation Worker?

Also known as: Forest Worker, Forest Conservation Worker.

Forest and conservation workers measure and improve the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and conservation technicians, they help to develop, maintain, and protect forests.

What does a Forest and Conservation Worker do?

Forest and conservation workers typically do the following:

  • Plant seedlings to reforest land
  • Clear away brush and debris from camping trails, roadsides, and camping areas
  • Count trees during tree-measuring efforts
  • Select or cut trees according to markings, sizes, types, or grades
  • Spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and protect the trees from disease
  • Identify and remove diseased or undesirable trees
  • Inject vegetation with insecticides and herbicides
  • Help prevent and suppress forest fires
  • Check equipment to ensure that it is operating properly

What is the workplace of a Forest and Conservation Worker like?

Forest and conservation workers typically work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations and in all types of weather. However, the increased use of machines has reduced some of the discomfort of working in bad weather and has made tasks much safer. Forest workers use proper safety measures and equipment, such as hardhats, protective eyewear, and safety clothing. They typically work for provincial, state, or local governments or on privately owned forest lands. Those employed by forest management services may work for the federal government on a contract basis.

Most forest and conservation workers’ jobs are physically demanding. They may have to walk long distances through densely wooded areas. Most are employed full time and have a routine work schedule. Seasonal employees may be expected to work longer hours and at night. Responding to an emergency may require workers to work longer hours and at any time of day.

How can I become a Forest and Conservation Worker?

Forest and conservation workers typically need a high school diploma. Most get on-the-job training as they help more experienced workers. They do routine, labour-intensive tasks, such as planting or thinning trees. When the opportunity arises, they learn from experienced technicians and forest workers who do more complex tasks, such as gathering data.

Training programs for forest and conservation workers are common throughout the US. These programs, which typically take place in the field, encourage the health and productivity of a country’s forests through national programs such as the Sustainable Forest Initiative in the U.S.. Some vocational and technical schools and community colleges offer courses leading to a two-year technical degree in forest management technology, wildlife management, conservation, and forest harvesting. Programs that include field trips to watch and participate in forestry activities provide a particularly good background.


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