All Forestry

As you would expect, a timber plantation requires less care than grain or vegetable crops. It still needs to be tended, though, otherwise a fire can wipe out 15 years of effort and investment in an afternoon.​Managing tree-rich natural habitats is arguably even more important. These ecosystems are highly biodiverse and take decades to recover if destroyed or mismanaged. Ideally, their health has to be monitored on a constant basis. There are also mixed-use forests: commercial plantations that are meant to provide what amounts to a natural habitat for various species over several years, and conserved woodlands where limited, judicious logging is allowed.​A bachelor’s degree in forestry includes many of the same courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics you’ll find in other biology degrees. In addition, career-specific subjects like erosion control, the timber industry, wildlife preservation, tourism, and silviculture are studied in detail.​In a conservation context, foresters’ responsibilities include evaluating fire and erosion risks, monitoring endangered species and other wildlife populations, checking water quality, and assisting the vacationing public. On commercial plantations, they monitor the growth and location of trees destined for lumber or pulp, assess timber’s value, and assist in its sale.​In either case, this is clearly a job that requires you to be very active in the outdoors. If you hate hiking, some other field of biology may be more your speed. You’ll also need patience and good management skills, meaning the ability to plan, organize, and decide between different options.