Foresters manage, use, and help protect forests and other natural resources.
Office paper, paper towels, tissues, greeting cards, shade, our very own houses -- these are all things we depend on trees for. Not to mention the simple pleasures of looking up into the top of a tall tree or leaning against a nice trunk to catch some afternoon shade! This means that people use trees both alive and harvested. Therefore, it's very important that forests are managed and replanted properly. Forests supply timber for paper and wood products. They also provide sites for recreation and habitats for wildlife.
Foresters manage forestlands for a variety of purposes. Foresters who work in private industry acquire timber from private landowners. To do this, they contact local forest owners to gain permission to inventory their timber. They check the type, amount, and location of all standing timber on the property. This process is called timber cruising. Foresters then appraise the value of the timber, negotiate a price, and draw up a contract. After the purchase, they subcontract with loggers for the harvest of trees. They also help with the layout of the road loggers will use. During the logging, foresters stay in close contact with both the workers and the landowner. They must be sure that the work meets the landowner's requirements and all government regulations.
Throughout this process, foresters consider the economics of the purchase and the impact on the environment. To do this, they decide how best to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality, and soil stability. They also decide how best to comply with regulations.
Foresters also supervise the planting and growing of new trees. This process is called regeneration. They choose and prepare the site. They use various methods, such as controlled burning, to clear weeds, brush, and logging debris. They advise workers on the type, number, and placement of trees to be planted. Foresters then monitor the seedlings. They watch for healthy growth and decide the best time to harvest. This also allows them to study different types of trees. If they detect signs of disease or harmful insects, foresters decide on the best course of treatment.
Foresters who work for state and federal governments manage public forests and parks. Managing public forests involves a number of possible duties. For example, foresters may plan and carry out conservation programs. They may plan ways to control floods or fires. They may also develop plans for harvesting timber. Often, they monitor cleared lands to make sure they are reclaimed to forests or another suitable use. Foresters may also fight forest fires or direct other workers as they fight them. They may conduct education programs for the public on forest care and conservation. Foresters may also design roads, buildings, fire towers, campgrounds, or recreation sites. In addition, they work with private landowners to protect and manage forests outside the public domain.
All foresters use a variety of tools to perform their jobs. They use different types of meters and gauges to measure timber. They use special types of imaging taken from airplanes or satellites to map large forest areas. They use computers in the office and in the field to store and analyze the data required to manage forests and natural resources. From this data, foresters prepare reports.