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What Forest and Conservation Workers Do

Forest and conservation workers measure and improve the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, they help to develop, maintain, and protect forests.


Forest and conservation workers typically do the following:

Forest and conservation workers 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 forest workers 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 forest and conservation workers 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.

Forest and conservation workers who are employed by or under contract with state and local governments may clear brush and debris from trails, roadsides, and camping areas. They may clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds.

Workers 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. For example, workers help count how many trees will be affected by a fire. They also sometimes respond to forest emergencies.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition