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What is a Forestry Degree?
Forestry is the field of study and employment that deals with the maintenance and well being of forests through the use of techniques, tests, and other measures, to ensure the longevity and health of trees and other plant life.Foresters may also work in the lumber industry, providing assistance in the growth and health of trees for the purposes of lumber, working on large tracts of land in order to maintain a steady and regular supply of wood. Individuals who begin their careers in this field will initially work under the supervision of more experienced professionals, often in outdoor settings for extensive periods of time.
A degree in forestry prepares individuals to work in forest settings in order to maintain ideal conditions for growth, health, and controlled clearing. Individuals who study forestry will learn about the various ecosystems in place in a given forest type, how such forests grow, and what potential dangers and factors can adversely affect a forest's development. The use of a cross section of sciences, math and business will be necessary in order to successfully complete a program in forestry. Though degrees are available at the associate level, most national level positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree to be considered for employment.
A curriculum in forestry may include:
- Geospatial Technology
- Forest Management
- Wildlife Biology
A career in forestry requires individuals to work outdoors regularly and for extended periods of time. This is especially true in the first few years of an individual's career where experience is gained by conducting tasks and duties under the supervision of more experienced foresters. Foresters will be required to identify the age of trees, possible increases in insect activity, dangerous molds and diseases as well as other factors when considering the health and security of a forest. Most job openings at the national level will require a minimum of a bachelor's degree or an equivalent amount of work experience to be considered for employment. State and local agencies may have little or no requirements past a high school diploma for entry level positions, though this may limit the ability for promotion in the long term.
Commercial foresters will utilize their skills to obtain lumber for various private firms. Such individuals will work with their employer, government agencies, and private lumber growth firms to determine the cost and amount of lumber that is obtainable from a given area, how much extraction is necessary, the effect of cutting down trees, and measuring other environmental factors when considering lumber deals. Commercial foresters on average will earn more than those that work with public agencies.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
Job growth for forestry positions is expected to have little to no growth over the next ten years due to budgetary and fiscal concerns for public positions and organizations which concern themselves with forestry related work. The only expected growth is expected to come from private forests as the demand for work increases. The average salary for all forestry and conservation workers was approximately $33,000 per year.
Individuals interested in forestry may also be interested in forest resources management, forest sciences and biology, and urban forestry.
National Association of State Foresters is a non-profit organization that has directors of national forestry organizations across the United States as members, which in turn comprises representation for two-thirds of the countries forests, both public and private. The organization was established in 1920 and has served the interests of forestry specialists through programs and partnerships since.
Society of American Foresters is a an organization established in 1900 to advance the field of forestry through technology, awareness, and training. The organization also advances the cause of forestry through accrediting programs in forestry, creating a working body that is educated and competent, and thus able to advance the field.