Skills Operator, Scarifier - Silviculture near Port Hawkesbury (NS)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as an operator, scarifier - silviculture in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Silviculture and forestry workers (NOC 8422).


People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Operate power tools to thin and space trees
  • Graft trees
  • Plant seedlings
  • Cut weeds and undergrowth
  • Apply chemicals
  • Select seed cones, pruning trees, and/or assisting in planting surveys
  • Fight forest fires
  • Dig ditches and trenches
  • Complete firefighting reports and maintain firefighting equipment

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

  • Read instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging, e.g. read signs to learn about the location of hazards, such as high pressure gas lines. (1)
  • Read comments on forms and maps, e.g. read comments on maps to learn where trees need to be thinned. (1)
  • Read notices and bulletins, e.g. read notices from workers' compensation boards to learn about workplace hazards. (2)
  • Read workplace safety materials and procedures, e.g. read instructions on how to use personal protective equipment, work safely around chicots (dry or rotten trees) and handle hazardous products, such as gasoline. (2)
  • Read a variety of instructions and procedures, e.g. read instructions and procedures contained in orientation handbooks to learn how to plant trees and thin brush. (2)
  • Read a variety of manuals, e.g. read manuals to learn how to operate and maintain equipment, such as chainsaws and firefighting gear. (3)
  • May read contracts and regulations, e.g. read contracts to learn about the responsibilities of contractors and provincial regulations governing the use of heavy equipment, such as skidders used to prepare sites for reforestation. (4)
Document use
  • Locate data on labels, e.g. locate data, such as dimensions, on labels attached to boxes of seedlings. (1)
  • Use symbols and icons, e.g. use symbols on maps for orientation and icons on product packaging to recognize hazardous materials. (1)
  • Read gauges and digital readouts, e.g. scan digital readouts to determine the operating condition of equipment. (1)
  • Complete a variety of forms, e.g. complete coded timesheets by entering hours worked and forest fire weather index forms by circling numbers and entering dates, times and coordinates. (2)
  • Complete hazard assessment forms, e.g. record the outcomes of hazard assessments and complete checklists on worksite hazard assessment forms. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of tables and schedules, e.g. locate waypoints, such as latitudes and longitudes, in tables and dates, times and coordinates in burn schedules. (2)
  • Scan assembly drawings, e.g. scan assembly drawings of chainsaws to learn how to disassemble and reassemble them. (2)
  • Refer to pictures of various plant species in order to recognize them. (2)
  • Refer to maps and aerial photographs to learn about physical location coordinates, boundaries, distances and the location of work sites. (3)
  • May enter data into complex forms, e.g. complete fire cost reports using information from a variety of sources, such as fire diaries. (3)
  • Write short comments in log books, e.g. write entries in log books to record the number and types of trees and plants. (1)
  • Write short notes to co-workers, e.g. write short notes to co-workers to inform them about defective equipment. (1)
  • May write silviculture prescriptions and management plans using repetitive standard wording. (2)
  • May write short incident reports, e.g. write short reports to describe complaints and events leading up to workplace accidents. (2)
  • May write short descriptions, e.g. write short descriptions on pre-harvest assessment forms to report the relative health of stands and any visible signs of disease or insect damage. (2)
  • May write fire cost reports to report the outcomes of fire suppression activities. (2)
  • Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure the diameter of trees using tape measures. (1)
  • Compare actual plant counts to specifications, e.g. compare the number of seedlings planted to project requirements. (1)
  • May estimate requirements, e.g. how much fuel will be needed to operate chainsaws. (1)
  • May estimate production rates, e.g. estimate the number of acres that can be thinned in one day. (1)
  • May calculate their pay, e.g. use factors, such as rate per acre and rate per tree, to calculate money owed to them. (2)
  • Calculate material requirements, e.g. calculate the number of seedlings needed to complete a project. (2)
  • Calculate the number of trees planted on a per hectare basis using data, such as planting plot assessments. (2)
  • May calculate averages, e.g. calculate the average number of trees planted per acre. (2)
  • May use precision instruments to measure the height of trees and the grade of slopes, e.g. use clinometers to determine the height of trees. (3)
  • May estimate the number of firefighters required to bring a fire under control, based on numerous factors, such as an assessment of wind conditions, surface moisture and the likelihood of precipitation. (3)
Oral communication
  • Listen to and provide warnings, e.g. listen for signals from co-workers about falling trees. (1)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, e.g. talk to supervisors to learn about job assignments, coordinate activities and discuss schedules. (2)
  • May discuss planting requirements and strategies with forest service personnel. (2)
  • Participate in group discussions, e.g. discuss safety, goals, procedures and time frames with firefighters, helicopter pilots and ground crews when fighting forest fires. (2)
  • May provide detailed, step-by-step instructions, e.g. explain to new employees the procedures for working safely around chicots (dry or rotten trees) and the use of equipment such as chainsaws. (3)
  • May find that the terrain is too rocky to plant seedlings. They use judgment to plant the seedlings only in places where they are likely to survive. (1)
  • Evaluate the performance of equipment, e.g. determine the need to sharpen chainsaws by evaluating the ability of chainsaws to make speedy cuts. (1)
  • Find information on the operation and maintenance of equipment by reading equipment instruction manuals and by speaking with co-workers. (1)
  • May have difficulty getting the equipment and skidder to the work area because of streams or hilly terrain. They search for alternate routes to bypass the obstacles. (2)
  • Encounter delays due to equipment breakdowns. They inform supervisors about equipment breakdowns and perform other work until repairs are completed. They may attempt to troubleshoot and repair the equipment themselves. (2)
  • Are asked to perform unsafe work. They speak with supervisors to clarify their request and refuse to perform work they deem to be unsafe. They follow legislated 'right to refuse unsafe work' policies until satisfactory outcomes are achieved. (2)
  • Select the processes, parts, tools and equipment required to perform tasks, e.g. consider ground conditions and seedling types to determine planting locations. (2)
  • Decide which trees to cut and which to leave and the best positioning of cuts to bring a tree down. (2)
  • Decide to report unsafe work conditions. They act on requirements to report unsafe work conditions by discussing their concerns and decisions with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Evaluate weather conditions, e.g. evaluate the impact that winds and moisture levels will have on forest fires. (2)
  • Assess soil conditions. They consider factors, such as the rockiness of soil, amounts of clay, drainage conditions and accumulations of logging debris, when evaluating where to plant new seedlings. (2)
  • Organize the area they have been assigned in conformance with the foreperson's guidelines. Since many work sites are remote, they plan their equipment and supply needs carefully. Failure to plan effectively can result in lost time. Weather conditions and the need to traverse difficult terrain can disrupt their plans and may cause them to revise their priorities. (2)
  • Find information about forest fires. They talk to emergency responders, co-workers and pilots and review maps and weather forecasts. (2)
  • Find information about worksite hazards by conducting physical inspections, reading site hazard assessment forms and speaking with co-workers. (2)
  • May find, when burning debris, that the fire spreads too quickly. The crew works as a unit to bring the fire under control. (3)
  • May have to deal with a fire suddenly flaring up because of a change in wind direction. They follow procedures and rely on past experience to cope with this emergency. (3)
  • Decide the safest way to leave a forest fire site by, for example, building a helipad or walking out. (3)
  • Evaluate the safety of work conditions and tasks. They observe slipping and falling hazards and the locations of safety gear, such as fire suppression equipment. They take note of other potential hazards, such as chicots, improperly cut trees, broken equipment and signs of wildlife, such as bears. (3)
Digital technology
  • Use global positioning system (GPS) devices to map locations and determine elevations and coordinates. (1)
  • Use two-way radios and satellite phones to communicate with co-workers. (1)
  • May use hand-held digital data loggers to record data, such as latitudes and longitudes. (1)
  • May use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • May use word processing software to write reports. (2)
  • May enter data into spreadsheets to tally amounts for invoices and estimates. (2)
  • May use email to exchange information and documents with co-workers. (2)
  • May use Internet browsers to access weather forecasts and advisories. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by suppliers, employers and trainers. (2)
Additional informationWorking with Others

Silviculture and forestry workers are part of a team, known as a work crew, but individual members often work independently to space trees, cut a section of a tree stand or plant a section of the plot. At times, they work with a partner on activities, such as establishing an initial thinning pattern, before beginning their solitary work. Forest firefighters may work with a partner to dig trenches or build a helipad.

Continuous Learning

Silviculture and forestry workers learn on the job through practice and through interaction with co-workers. Many take first-aid training and courses in the safe use of chainsaws and other power tools. Workers who fight forest-fires take courses in such things as weather interpretation, fire behaviour prediction, fire fighting techniques, helipad construction and rappel safety.

Labour Market Information Survey
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