Photo Credit: Joni Packard, US Forest Service

The job of forester is a mid-level position in bioenergy, in the agriculture, life, and physical sciences career sub-sector. Job seekers with agriculture, life, and physical sciences backgrounds or a career in the sciences could consider this type of mid-level bioenergy job.

Foresters work with other conservation scientists and technicians to ensure forest biomass is being sustainably harvested and used for bioenergy products. They perform experiments and collect data on forest quality, work with landowners and others on planning sustainable forestry management practices, monitor forest land operations, and ensure forestry activities are in compliance with regulations and policies. People in these positions may have careers in bioenergy forestry.

 Forester

Alternate Title(s)

Forest Management Specialist; Conservation Scientist

Education & Training Level Description

Bachelor’s degree in Forestry, Forest Resources Management, Forest Ecosystem Management, Natural Resources, or a related field is required. Master’s degree in Forestry, Forest Resources Management, or a related field is preferred.

Experience

3-7 years

Job Skills
  • Broad knowledge of forestry theories, concepts, principles, techniques, and practices
  • Experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) remote sensing, and spatial analysis applications
  • Ability to effectively communicate technical issues verbally and in writing
  • Ability to organize, analyze, interpret, and evaluate scientific data to address challenges and propose solutions based on solid forest management practices.
Job Profile

A critical goal of the bioenergy industry is to develop commercially viable and sustainable technologies for converting biomass feedstocks into finished liquid transportation fuels (e.g., renewable gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel), as well as bioproducts (chemicals and materials) and biopower. Forest resources are an important component of the feedstock from which to produce these end products. Forestry skills will be important in assessing and ensuring that forest biomass is harvested sustainably, and that key innovations in forest management ensure the development of a productive, sustainable, and efficient industry.

Careers in forestry apply knowledge and understanding of forestry sciences and technology to ensure that forests are grown and utilized in a sustainable manner; that forest health is maintained through management, inspections, and rotations; and that best management practices are used to protect the environment (such as water, soil, biodiversity). They also work to ensure that timber is grown according to industry specifications and that the components that are used for bioenergy (usually harvest residues and byproducts from sawmill and pulpwood operations) and bioproducts (small diameter branches, forest thinnings) meet end processor requirements. Technologists apply their knowledge to generate new commercial applications for wood and fiber that is generated from forest biomass, such as pellets, biochar, and other energy-dense materials. The use of underutilized forest biomass is a key element of the bioeconomy, and helps maintain forest and ecosystem health, as well as decreases the risk of fires.

At the middle levels, Foresters work with other conservation scientists and technicians to ensure forest biomass is being sustainably harvested and used for bioenergy products. This person will perform experiments and collect data on forest quality, work with landowners and others on planning sustainable forestry management practices, and monitor forest land operations, and oversee forestry activities are in compliance with regulations and policies. For middle level positions, a Master’s degree in forest sciences and management or a related field, is highly preferred.