Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
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. They are employed by the forest industry sector, provincial and federal governments, consulting firms, and other industries and institutions or they may be self-employed.
- Face power failures and equipment breakdowns. For example, technicians in nurseries and tree farms may find out that power failure or equipment malfunction have knocked out ventilation or heating systems for delicate tree seedlings. Speed is essential, and they may have less than half an hour to repair the systems or to start emergency generators. Failure to do so will quickly result in plants freezing in the winter or overheating in the summer. (2)
- Find that employees do not show up for work. When labourers miss work, production is reduced. To keep production high, forestry technicians who supervise work crews keep lists of eligible workers that they can call in to work on short notice. (2)
- Find that clients and the public object to proposed harvesting operations. For example, residents may oppose plans to harvest wood in a particular area because it will destroy their trap lines. Forestry technologists and technicians listen to the residents' concerns and revise their harvesting plans to incorporate their suggestions. (2)
- Find that logging operations have caused damage to the environment. For example, during rainy weather, they discover that road-building operations have caused riverbanks to collapse. They work with other professionals to document the extent of the damage and determine appropriate measures to mitigate detrimental effects such as the destruction of spawning grounds. They recommend changes to logging practices to prevent further incidents. (3)
- Find that clients and logging companies are not complying with forestry regulations. For example, during an annual audit, a technologist discovers that a landowner has not met the conditions of the forest management plan. They discuss the nature of the non-compliance with the landowners and suggest ways to rectify it. If the owner is unwilling to meet the conditions, the forestry technologist may contact a higher authority such as the forestry association. (3)
- Find that proposed access routes are not feasible. For example, they may be notified that proposed roads could not be completed as planned because work crews encountered steep, rocky hills. They study aerial photographs, revisit sites and survey them by conducting subsequent flyovers and ground patrols. Using the new information, they design alternate approaches. (3)
- Find that employees do not follow procedures or explicit instructions. For example, they may discover that planters are not placing seedlings according to standards and regulations. They talk to planting crew supervisors to advise them of the deficiencies and to direct them to speak to their crews. Failure to plant properly can result in heavy fines being levied by government regulating agencies. (3)
- Decide where to purchase supplies, equipment and nursery stock. For example, forestry technicians decide where to buy seeds, seedlings and rootstock by considering previous experience with suppliers, the quality of the stock, transportation costs and prices. (2)
- Decide to modify operational procedures or systems. For example, forestry technologists and technicians in nurseries may decide to change pesticide application methods after researching various methods and comparing the safety and effectiveness of each. (2)
- Make decisions about silviculture activities. For example, they may decide how to prepare sites for harvesting and whether to thin diseased trees. (3)
- Make tree-breeding decisions. For example, technologists working in tree nurseries and seed orchards decide which trees to use as breeding stock to develop strains that have particular genetic qualities. (3)
- Make access road planning decisions. For example, they decide efficient routes to use to access woodlots and forest plots. They examine maps and aerial photographs, survey the areas by foot and consider the terrain before deciding where to build the most cost-effective routes. (3)
- May decide to stop work being done by logging companies and contractors. For example, if they observe contractors carrying out illegal logging, they may decide to issue 'stop work' orders and seize all logs under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. They consider whether the loggers responsible for the illegal logging have been in violation before and whether they have damaged the habitat. They have to balance the need to maintain good relations with the public and loggers against the need to protect forest lands from illegal and harmful practices. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Judge the health, production potential and quality of trees in sections of forest. They examine aerial photographs, conduct field measurements and determine the age of the trees. They use their expert knowledge of silviculture to gather information about tree types, survey tree populations and to assess forest health. (2)
- Evaluate the severity of damage done by silviculture operations. They assess the extent of injuries such as scraped bark, broken branches and root damages caused by careless loggers. They also consider the length and depth of skid trails left by machinery. This information is then used to complete damage assessments and assign performance scores to logging companies. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
The priorities of forestry technologists and technicians are determined by the goals and objectives of their organizations. Within the framework of seasonal routines, they work independently and are free to plan and organize their tasks to meet project deadlines and goals. Those working with regional conservation authorities and paper companies may be assigned to the management of particular parcels of land and are responsible for creating, implementing and monitoring forest management plans. Their work plans are subject to frequent revisions due to weather changes, equipment breakdowns, pest and disease outbreaks or changes in legislation. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Forestry technologists and technicians plan the work schedules of planting and harvesting crews. Those who work on one to five-year forest management plans play a significant role in strategic and operational planning for their organizations.
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember tree species codes and symbols when recording data.
- Remember ecologically important locations such as spawning sites.
- Remember the lay of the land when designing access roads.
- Remember new provincial and federal acts and regulations that govern their work.
- Find acts and regulations on government websites. (2)
- Find information about new technologies, forestry practices, management strategies, environmental regulations and products in technical journals, research papers and related websites. (2)
- Find information needed for forestry research. They search for specific topics in textbooks, forestry journals, management reports, magazines and research notes. (2)
- Find information about land ownership and cutting rights using forestry maps, historical maps and records at Land Title offices. (2)
- May question landowners, hunters, contractors and other witnesses during investigations of illegal activities in the woods. They also make personal observations on relevant data, such as number of logs, type of equipment present and state of the terrain, during on-site visits to corroborate or invalidate witness statements. (4)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Depending on the work context, forestry technologists and technicians may work alone, with a partner or as a member of a forest management team. Most work as members of larger multidisciplinary teams comprising scientists, forestry engineers, colleagues from government departments and managers. They work alone or with a partner when doing preliminary work such as collecting data, conducting field surveys and audits, mapping out properties and writing submissions to government agencies.
Forestry technologists and technicians learn on the job, from their co-workers and supervisors and by reading reference manuals, trade publications, research papers and information available on government and industry websites. They also take short courses to learn about new technologies such as geographic information, mapping and global positioning systems. They attend conferences and seminars to learn about topics such as the risks of pest infestations, new methods of collecting and analyzing data and ongoing government forestry initiatives. Some forestry technologists and technicians are required to maintain and upgrade certification in tree-marking. They also take job-specific safety and environmental protection training.