Imagine that it's a hot, dry summer day, the sun beating down on the scarred land you're standing on. You've come to this site to evaluate the blackened trees, victims of last summer's massive forest fire that burned more than 2,000 hectares of boreal forest.
You are a forestry technician, and you work as part of a team that monitors forest regrowth following blazes such as this one. Today, you are looking for regeneration among the charred remains, a sign that plant life is recovering.
Given that fire is a natural process in the boreal forest, in most cases, your team will not actively treat this burn by reseeding or replanting saplings, but rather let nature take its course.
But, before that decision is made, you need to know that the area will recover on its own.
As a forestry technician, you function as the team's eyes and ears, gathering data that will be used to make forest management decisions.
As the team's eyes, you first photograph the area as a qualitative measure of recovery. These photos can be compared to photos taken right after the fire swept through to demonstrate the amount of regeneration in the area over the last 12 months.
Once this is complete, you will gather quantitative evidence, for example, soil samples. You will take several soil cores that will be analyzed in the lab for indicators such as organic content and evidence of germination.
These cores will also measure how deeply into the ground the fire burned. In addition to soil samples, you will examine the new green growth, recording the colonizing species and looking for new shoots or runners from tree roots that survived the fire.
You will record all this data and bring it to your team members, who will analyze the different indicators of growth and revival and decide if the area needs their assistance for recovery.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a forestry technician:
Forestry technicians/technologist work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to:
In the field:
In the office:
In the lab:
There are a number of places forestry technicians/technologists can find employment. They include:
Search for jobs on the ECO Canada job board.
In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as a forestry technician/technologist is a technical diploma. The following post-secondary programs are most applicable to a career in this field:
Some provinces require certification to work as a forestry technician/technologist. Also, some specializations require certification, for example scaling or tree marking.
The requirements for certification vary among provinces. If you are a high school student considering a career as a forestry technician/technologist, you should have a strong interest in:
Hard/Technical Skills (skills obtained through formal education and training programs)
Soft Skills (personal attributes and characteristics)
Fort McMurray, located in northeastern Alberta, is most often associated with massive tar sands operations, but Fort McMurray is also at the heart of the thriving forestry industry. Today, forest workers like David Caldwell continue the tradition. A forest technician trained at the Alberta Technical College, David monitors forestry activities for his employer, Northland Forest Products, to make sure they meet all provincial government regulations. "In this job, the work changes frequently," David says. "A lot depends on the season.
During the summer, I do quality checks on the work of planting contractors, monitor herbicide applications or calculate requirements for seedlings to replace harvested trees. In the fall, it's regeneration surveys to meet government standards. In the winter, my tasks might include lumber scaling-taking measurements to determine how much wood has been harvested." A lot rides on the accuracy of David's work.
Stumpage fees-taxes paid to the government for the harvesting of trees-are assessed on his calculations and confirmed by government spot site audits. If there is a difference of more than 3% between David's calculations and the government's, there is a lot of explaining to do. What's best about the job? "I enjoy dealing with a lot of different people," David says. "In my work, I encounter executives, trappers, contractors, government inspectors and company staff. I also enjoy working outside-especially in the winter, when the best way to get around the bush is by snowmobile."
Forestry technologists and technicians may work independently or perform technical and supervisory functions in support of forestry research, forest management, forest harvesting, forest resource conservation and environmental protection.
This is an outdoor career, and certain positions require working in relative isolation while others demand constant contact with the public.
The solitary positions are more scientific and include functions such as the collection, testing, and analysis of plant and animal samples. This data is used in insect and disease control, wildlife research, resource management, and environmental impact studies.
Public positions for a forestry technician are located in campgrounds and developed recreational areas. These positions handle issuing special use permits, law enforcement, fire prevention, and community education.
Forestry technicians, as they are defined in this profile, work under the supervision of foresters or forest technologists. They may be involved primarily in:
Individuals employed as forestry technicians/technologists may be classified as:
NOC Code: 2223- Forestry Technicians and Technologists
NOC Code: 2122- Forestry Professionals
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data, describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.
The NOC is developed and updated in partnership with Statistics Canada to coincide with the 5- year census cycles. It is based on in-depth occupational research and consultations conducted across Canada, to reflect changes in the Canadian labour market.
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