Foresters are responsible for maintaining, studying, and gathering data on natural habitats. This is not strictly limited to forests, and may also include lakes, mountains, and grasslands. As there is a wide range of habitats in the United States, the specific nature of their work can vary greatly. Their duties can include regulation enforcement, collection of data, overseeing fire safety programs, and repairing trail damage.
Foresters are employed primarily by state and federal agencies, but may also be employed by lumber companies or private businesses involved in managing natural resources. Some foresters focus heavily on research, conducting studies, and investigating ecological relationships to determine whether changes may be necessary, while others focus more on conservation, which may include keeping track of flora, fauna, water, and other resources. These foresters usually work alongside conservation scientists.
Foresters work mostly outdoors, though they also work indoors on computers. They generally work regular business hours, but may occasionally need to work on weekends. Some positions may require interactions with others, while others allow foresters to work alone. Their work can be physical, such as when cleaning and repairing trails, but this is not always necessary. Entry-level roles generally do not require any credentials beyond a high school diploma. Some employers may prefer those who have a college degree or technical training, preferably in a natural science-related field.
May locate timber, negotiate timber purchase contracts, and mark property lines.
May direct and manage forestry through inspection, natural resource inventories, or harvesting recommendations.
Manage resources and land for government, industrial, or consulting purposes including caring for forests, procuring timber, or harvest research.
Plan cutting programs, removal techniques, and fire prevention.