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What is a Range Manager?

Also known as: Rangeland Manager, Forest Management Supervisor, Natural Resource Manager, Rangeland Management Specialist.

A range manager is someone who measures and improves the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, they help to develop, maintain, and protect forests. Range managers typically work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations and in all types of weather. They use proper safety measures and equipment, such as hardhats, protective eyewear, and safety clothing.

What does a Range Manager do?

Range managers 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

Range managers are often supervised by foresters and forest and conservation technicians, who direct their work and evaluate their progress. They do basic tasks to maintain and improve forest quality, such as planting seedlings or removing diseased trees. To plant seedlings, they use digging and planting tools. To cut trees, they use handsaws or power saws.

Some range managers work on tree farms, where they plant, cultivate, and harvest many different kinds of trees. Their duties vary with the type of farm and may include planting seedlings, spraying to control weed growth and insects, and harvesting trees.

Some range managers work in forest nurseries, where they sort through tree seedlings, discarding those that don't meet standards. Others use hand tools or their hands to gather woodland products, such as decorative greens, tree cones, bark, moss, and other wild plant life. Some may tap trees to make syrup or chemicals.

Range managers who are employed by or under contract with the government may clear brush and debris from trails, roadsides, and camping areas. They may clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds. Range managers with a fire protection background also help to prevent fires. For example, they may construct firebreaks, which are gaps in vegetation that can help slow down or stop the progress of a fire. They also may work with technicians to study how quickly fires spread and how successful fire suppression activities were.

What is the workplace of a Range Manager like?

Range managers typically work for local governments or on privately owned forest lands. Those employed by forest management services may work for the federal government on a contract basis. They typically work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations and in all types of weather. They may have to walk long distances through densely wooded areas. However, the increased use of machines has reduced some of the discomfort of working in bad weather and has made tasks much safer. Workers also use proper safety measures and equipment, such as hardhats, protective eyewear, and safety clothing.

Most range managers 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 Range Manager?

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