It is often overlooked how integral a forest technician is to the management and conservation of Canada’s forest resources. Their principle role is to oversee all forest operations, from mapping, trucking, and road-building, to harvesting, cultivating trees, and managing forest products. Without their continued devotion to Canada’s natural environment, our forests would not be as healthy as they are.
Skills and Responsibilities
A forest technician, or technologist, involves technical skills, managerial duties, and hands-on work. Some positions require mapping techniques and computerized information systems; others may demand physical labour for fieldwork. Most successful forest technicians are adept at both and have an interest in science, are precise and analytical, and are great communicators; their job often requires informing others about environmental regulations, making difficult calls for the benefit of the woodlands, and leading a team of workers to assist in their every-day tasks.
A lot of their tasks are dependent on the season:
- Spring/Summer. Duties usually comprise of quality checks, collaboration with planting contractors, monitoring herbicide applications, calculating requirements for seeding.
- This time of year usually involves conducting surveys to ensure all government standards are met.
- Hands-on tasks such as lumber scaling and taking measurements to determine how much wood has been harvested.
Other responsibilities include:
- Planning the construction of access routes and forest roads
- Planting and tending tree crops
- Timber scaling, forest fire suppression, and insect control
- Enforcing regulations with regards to environmental protection, resource utilization, and fire safety
- Provide forestry recommendations to woodlot owners and the general public
This is a job for a confident, versatile, individual capable of initiative. A forest technician’s biggest challenge is the balancing act between sustainability and the demand for wood products. Working closely with other forestry professionals, they manage, evaluate, and harvest forests whilst collecting data crucial to the conservation of the woodlands.
Forestry technicians can either be freelancers or employed by other institutions, such as the forest industry sector, provincial and federal governments, or consulting firms.