Labour market information Explore careers by essential skills

Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

You can use this profile to:
Find a job
Write your resume and prepare for job interviews
Plan your career
Determine which career may best suit you based on your skill set
Manage your workforce
Write job postings, assess employee performance and develop training

Find out more about this occupation

For more information on this occupation, look at the related job profile. It provides information on prevailing wages, job prospects and other skill requirements.

Look up job profile

Forestry Professionals(2122)

Forestry professionals conduct research, develop plans and administer and direct programs related to the management and harvesting of forest resources. They are employed by the forest industry, provincial and federal governments, consulting companies, educational institutions and other industries, or they may be self-employed.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read short text passages on product and equipment labels. For example, urban foresters read planting instructions on the labels of exotic tree stock they are asked to plant. (1)
  • Read e-mail messages and memos. For example, consulting foresters read e-mail messages about new forest management practices from professional forestry associations. Forest engineers read memos in which their supervisors outline changes to harvesting practices, wood product prices and legislative controls. (2)
  • Read short text entries in field notebooks and forms. For example, operations foresters read about insect infestations in research foresters' and forest pest control workers' field notes. Consulting foresters read sections of applications for permits to log crown lands. (2)
  • Read articles in newspapers and in newsletters and bulletins from forest stewardship organizations. For example, operations foresters read editorials about demand variations in wood markets. Inventory foresters read articles in monthly newsletters distributed by the National Forest Inventory to learn about the preservation of indigenous tree species in Canada. (2)
  • Read reports. For example, operations foresters read other foresters' timber cruise reports to learn about cut blocks and the types and numbers of trees within them. Project foresters read research reports about tree pests such as the mountain pine beetle in order to understand the long-term negative effects of infestations upon valuable timber stands. (3)
  • Read articles in journals to maintain and augment their knowledge of forest management, logging techniques and forest research initiatives. For example, research foresters read articles in the Canadian Journal of Forestry which describe national research projects. Consulting foresters read articles in The Forestry Chronicle to learn about forestry management techniques and general information about types of measurement equipment available to them. (3)
  • May read contracts and service agreements. For example, project foresters who oversee logging projects read contracts between landowners and logging contractors to identify work that must be performed, timelines for completion and the responsibilities of both parties. (3)
  • Read policy and procedures manuals. For example, at the start of new harvesting projects, district foresters read provincial forestry policy manuals and logging companies' procedural manuals to understand specific practices which contractors must follow. (3)
  • Read provincial and federal Acts and a variety of regulations to ensure their work is compliant. For example, project foresters read the Forestry Act to learn about logging restrictions on crown lands. Consulting foresters read Forest Renewal Program regulations to ensure their management services are eligible expenses. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Locate data in lists. For example, they refer to lists of logging contractors working on forest harvesting projects to obtain contractors' names and contact information. (2)
  • Enter data into forms. For example, they complete forms such as Crown Land Tenure applications by ticking boxes to indicate requested times of land occupation, writing brief land descriptions and providing explanations of their employers' interest in using crown lands. (2)
  • Obtain data from photographs and other images. For example, they scan aerial photos and satellite images to locate geographical features and to obtain global positioning coordinates. (2)
  • Locate data in completed forms. For example, they scan field cards to review past observations of cut blocks and to locate global positioning coordinates and elevations recorded during timber cruises. (2)
  • Locate data in schedules and tables. For example, they scan project schedules to identify target dates for logging and reforestation contractors and to learn about tasks that have not yet been completed. They consult staff lists which list co-workers in their organizations. They scan lists of forestry contractors to locate their names and areas of expertise and responsibility. (2)
  • Locate and interpret data in graphs and charts. For example, forestry superintendents scan graphs which illustrate future prices for wood and forest product commodities in various regions, countries and international trading zones. Project foresters interpret bar graphs in timber cruise reports to identify numbers of tree species in cut blocks and plantation areas, numbers of trees of each species, ranges of tree diameters and heights and numbers of dead and decaying trees. (3)
  • Interpret and locate dimensions in scale drawings. For example, they interpret data in detailed topographical maps of plantations to determine lengths, widths and locations of access roads. They may superimpose new access roads on maps. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write short text entries in forms. For example, project foresters write short text entries in crown lands logging application forms. They write comments and observations into field notebooks when visiting plantations and cut blocks. (2)
  • Write e-mail messages to co-workers, supervisors, forestry contractors and customers. For example, they write e-mail messages to logging and trucking contractors to request pricing information. (2)
  • Write letters. For example, they write letters to government officials and landowners to request logging authorizations. They refer to existing contracts and agreements. (3)
  • Write reports. For example, district foresters write research reports to describe research into the treatment and prevention of tree pests such as the mountain pine beetle. In these reports, they describe research methodologies and present findings. They may offer appraisals of current timber salvage methods and make recommendations for chemical and biological controls to prevent further losses. (3)
  • Write plantation and forest management plans. For example, consulting foresters write comprehensive forest management plans which present findings of initial forest assessments, describe current forest management practices and recommend options for future development. In these plans, they present data on current forest product markets, recommend management practices and project future revenue. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May calculate and verify invoice amounts. For example, self-employed forestry consultants calculate amounts on invoices for their services. They calculate charges for professional services at hourly and per diem rates. They add amounts for equipment rentals, supplies and other expenses. They calculate taxes, surcharges and discounts. Project foresters may verify charges from helicopter logging companies and aerial photography contractors before approving invoices for payment. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Develop financial proposals for forestry operations. For example, project foresters propose project budgets which detail costs and revenues for forest harvesting operations. They calculate costs for labour and subcontracting. They calculate yields and revenues for a range of commodity prices. (3)
  • May create schedules for forestry projects. For example, consulting and district foresters create schedules for large forest harvesting and planting projects. They propose timelines for publishing tenders, hiring forestry contractors, developing infrastructure, surveying cut blocks, logging them and planting seedlings. (3)
  • May create, monitor and revise forestry project budgets. For example, consulting foresters create budgets for forestry projects. They monitor project budgets, identify trends and manage cash flows. Project foresters review regular project expenditure reports and balance sheets to ensure that they meet project budget constraints. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure physical properties using common measuring tools. For example, they use measuring tapes to measure tree circumferences and to determine the lengths of fallen trees. (1)
  • Calculate distances using measurements of scale drawings and maps. For example, they take measurements from maps and aerial photographs to determine the lengths, widths and locations of streams and access roads. (2)
  • Calculate areas of forestry plots. For example, they analyze plantations into smaller sections and add these areas together to determine totals. (3)
  • Calculate quantities of materials. For example, they calculate amounts of materials that must be moved for logging roads to be built on mountainsides. They calculate numbers of trees within plantations and proposed cut blocks during timber cruises. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Collect data and develop statistics to describe forest plots. For example, project foresters calculate average numbers of trees per cut block using data derived from timber cruise reports. They record numbers of fallen and rotten trees within cut blocks and plantations to determine if tree waste will exceed harvesting standards. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amounts of time job tasks will take to complete. For example, they estimate times for subcontractors to harvest cut blocks. They add extra time in cases of difficult terrain, bad weather and inexperienced crews. (2)
  • Estimate volumes of timber on forestry plots. For example, they estimate timber volumes in harvesting cut blocks. They consider numbers, types and quality of trees. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers. For example, they talk to silviculture workers and seedling planters to learn about their progress. They ask logging crew bosses about expected completion dates and inquire about working conditions. (2)
  • Discuss forestry operations with supervisors, managers and customers. For example, they ask supervisors and managers for directions, instructions and details of forestry harvesting and plantation management projects. They discuss remedies for budget shortfalls and missed deadlines with customers. (2)
  • Negotiate terms and conditions with suppliers and subcontractors. For example, they discuss prices for log hauling with trucking contractors. They negotiate prices according to the types of haulage they require. (2)
  • Discuss technical aspects of forestry work with co-workers and colleagues. For example, research foresters talk to wildlife specialists to understand the impacts of logging operations on local wildlife. Forestry superintendents ask mill owners for their opinions on logging and processing operations. Project foresters provide their supervisors with professional opinions and persuasive recommendations for proceeding with logging and reforesting projects. (3)
  • Give presentations on forestry topics at public meetings. For example, district foresters present details of logging projects to members of communities during town meetings. They describe projects' timelines, advantages for local businesses and policies and procedures they will use to address environmental concerns. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Find that they cannot complete job tasks because of inclement weather and equipment malfunctions. For example, forestry superintendents find that timber cruises can't be completed because strong winds and heavy rains delay aerial observations of cut blocks. They adjust projects' schedules to move forward tasks such as building access roads and maintaining logging equipment. (2)
  • Find that logging, reforestation and forest research work has been completed incorrectly. For example, consulting foresters find that seedlings have been carelessly planted in cut blocks and will not prosper. They review logging contracts to determine numbers and species of trees which must be planted. They remind contractors of specifications for reforesting the cut blocks and increase monitoring of their work. (2)
  • Find that workers' inexperience hinders the scheduled completions of logging and forest research projects. For example, they discover that newly hired foresters-in-training have little practical field knowledge and that summer research students do not have the experience necessary to collect field data efficiently. They offer instruction to inexperienced workers and ask more experienced foresters to demonstrate job tasks for them. (3)
  • Encounter contractors and customers who do not abide by contracts and other agreements. For example, project foresters meet with private landowners who consistently attempt to alter logging contract terms and request additional harvesting work without any remuneration. They review the budgets of logging projects and explain to landowners that the terms of contracts preclude any additional demands. They negotiate with landowners to avoid losing contracts and to maintain professional integrity. (3)
  • Find that protests undertaken by concerned members of the public and environmental activist groups are preventing the completion of forestry harvesting projects. For example, operations foresters discover that protestors are blocking logging trucks and preventing logging equipment from reaching worksites. They attempt to reason with protesters and suggest that they undertake rational discussions away from logging operations. If protestors continue with blockades, forestry professionals may contact local authorities to physically remove protestors. (4)
Decision Making
  • Hire and fire workers and engage subcontractors. For example, operations foresters choose to hire additional silviculture workers to complete reforestation of cut blocks. Research foresters subcontract field work to forest research consultants. (2)
  • Choose methods and materials for forest management tasks. For example, consulting foresters choose to complete timber cruises from helicopters rather than walking through forest plots. Research foresters decide to use controlled forest fires to manage outbreaks of forest pests such as gypsy moths. (2)
  • May decide to submit proposals for logging, forest surveying and reforestation projects. For example, consulting foresters choose which opportunities suit their experiences, capacities and abilities. (2)
Critical Thinking
  • Judge the suitability of equipment and forestry practices. For example, project foresters review equipment brochures, talk to salespeople and discuss performance with experienced colleagues to determine if equipment suits their projects. Forestry consultants read articles about current forest management trends and review their past work to determine appropriate courses of action. Forestry professionals need strong opinions about suitability to make sound business decisions and to give good recommendations to clients. (3)
  • Evaluate the safety of work sites and work practices. For example, forestry superintendents walk through work sites to identify unsafe ground and observe weather-damaged trees with dangerous broken limbs and tops. Project foresters review forestry accident statistics to learn about dangerous forestry operations. They talk to colleagues such as forest rangers to learn about wildlife activity in plantations and cut blocks. Forestry professionals must protect themselves and other workers engaged in hazardous forestry work. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality of forestry work. For example, they count numbers of trees planted in harvested areas, check distances between the seedlings and compare the data to terms of contracts and agreements. They ensure that buffer zones next to watercourses have not been harvested and that no environmental damage has occurred through careless harvesting practices. (3)
  • Job Task Planning and Organizing

    Own Job Planning and Organizing

    Forestry professionals set their own work priorities and plan their daily activities to maintain the timelines of forest management and research projects. They must manage their time effectively to produce high quality work on time and within approved budgets. Their work is often interrupted by unpredictable factors such as equipment malfunctions and bad weather. Forestry professionals must be capable of revising priorities and modifying job task plans to achieve results. (3)

    Planning and Organizing for Others

    Forestry professionals frequently plan and supervise job tasks for silviculture workers, logging crews and forest research workers.

    Significant Use of Memory
    • Remember the names of competent forestry contractors, researchers and silviculture workers to offer work to these individuals.
    Finding Information
    • May find information about forest research and forestry projects. For example, research foresters review data from field cards, notes and reporting forms completed by summer students. (2)
    • Find information about forest and woodlot management best practices. For example, project foresters discuss best practices with environmental consultants and land use planners. (2)
    • Find information about forest plots and woodlots. For example, consulting foresters observe trees, soil, terrain, drainage and slopes during timber cruises. District foresters review aerial photos, topographical maps and land surveys to learn about the locations of timber stands and plantations. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May use database software. For example, project foresters enter forest harvesting data into project management databases. They track and record the numbers of trees harvested and enter notes about the quality of trees. (2)
  • Use spreadsheet software. For example, forestry superintendents create spreadsheets to collect and analyze forestry data. Project foresters create spreadsheets to record the numbers, types, diameters and lengths of trees harvested. (2)
  • May use financial software. For example, self-employed forestry consultants use accounting software such as Simply Accounting to process invoices for their service and manage business expenditures, payroll and taxes. (2)
  • May use statistical analysis software. For example, research foresters use functions of statistical analysis programs such as SAS to determine growth trends. They analyze numbers of trees, species, quality, and volumes in cut blocks and compare them to cut blocks in other locations. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they use browsers such as Internet Explorer to locate information about forestry practices in other provinces, regions and countries. They enter keywords and industry terminology into search engines and select links to appropriate web sites. (2)
  • Use word processing software. For example, they write comprehensive forest management plans and harvesting reports using headings, tables of contents and other document formatting functions. (3)
  • Use communications software. For example, they use e-mail programs such as Outlook to send e-mail messages to workers and contractors involved in forestry harvesting projects. They attach relevant project documents and apply urgent status remarks to outgoing messages. (3)
  • May use other computer and software applications. For example, foresters use geographic information system data and digital imaging and mapping software such as ArcView to create detailed forest maps by superimposing scale measurements on aerial photographs of forests and woodlands. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

To complete forest management and research projects, forestry professionals coordinate and integrate job tasks with foresters, silviculture workers, forest technicians, researchers and equipment operators. They address issues such as quality of work concerns and missed project deadlines and may direct the work of project staff and may oversee the work of various project teams.

Continuous Learning

Forestry professionals must learn continuously to maintain current knowledge of relevant research and new forest management practices. Forestry professionals in public administration access in-service learning opportunities in occupational health and safety, managerial skills and technical training. Self-employed forestry professionals read forest industry publications and talk to other forestry professionals to maintain their understanding of current logging, forest management and forest research practices. Many forestry professionals belong to provincial and national associations and environmental stewardship groups which offer professional development opportunities such as conferences, seminars and annual meetings.

Date modified: