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Forest and Conservation Workers

Forest and conservation workers measure and improve the quality of forests. Under the supervision of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, they help to develop, maintain, and protect forests. Show Details

Duties

Forest and conservation workers typically do the following:

  • Plant seedlings to reforest land
  • Clear away brush and debris from camping trails, roadsides, and camping areas
  • Count trees during tree-measuring efforts
  • Select or cut trees according to markings, sizes, types, or grades
  • Spray trees with insecticides and fungicides to kill insects and protect the trees from disease
  • Identify and remove diseased or undesirable trees
  • Inject vegetation with insecticides and herbicides
  • Help prevent and suppress forest fires
  • Check equipment to ensure that it is operating properly

Forest and conservation workers are often supervised by foresters and forest and conservation technicians, who direct their work and evaluate their progress.

They do basic tasks to maintain and improve forest quality, such as planting seedlings or removing diseased trees. To plant seedlings, they use digging and planting tools. To cut trees, they use handsaws or power saws.

Some forest workers work on tree farms, where they plant, cultivate, and harvest many different kinds of trees. Their duties vary with the type of farm and may include planting seedlings, spraying to control weed growth and insects, and harvesting trees.

Some forest and conservation workers work in forest nurseries, where they sort through tree seedlings, discarding those that don't meet standards. Others use hand tools or their hands to gather woodland products, such as decorative greens, tree cones, bark, moss, and other wild plant life. Some may tap trees to make syrup or chemicals.

Forest and conservation workers who are employed by or under contract with state and local governments may clear brush and debris from trails, roadsides, and camping areas. They may clean kitchens and rest rooms at recreational facilities and campgrounds.

Workers with a fire protection background also help to prevent fires. For example, they may construct firebreaks, which are gaps in vegetation that can help slow down or stop the progress of a fire. They also may work with technicians to study how quickly fires spread and how successful fire suppression activities were. For example, workers help count how many trees will be affected by a fire. They also sometimes respond to forest emergencies.

Logging Workers

Logging workers harvest thousands of acres of forests each year. The timber they harvest provides the raw material for countless consumer and industrial products. Show Details

Duties

Logging workers typically do the following:

  • Cut down trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines
  • Fasten chains around logs to be dragged by tractors
  • Drag logs to the landing or deck area
  • Separate logs by species and type of wood and load them onto trucks
  • Drive and maneuver tractors and tree harvesters to shear trees and cut logs into desired lengths
  • Drive tractors to build or repair logging roads
  • Grade logs according to characteristics such as knot size and straightness
  • Inspect equipment for safety before using it and do necessary basic maintenance tasks
  • Calculate total board feet, cordage, or other wood measurement units, using conversion tables

Timber-cutting and logging are done by a logging crew. The following are some types of logging workers:

Fallers cut down trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines.

Buckers trim the tops and branches of felled trees and buck (cut) the logs into specific lengths.

Choke setters fasten chokers (steel cables or chains) around logs to be skidded (dragged) by tractors or forwarded by the cable-yarding system to the landing or deck area, where the logs are separated by species and type of product, such as pulpwood, saw logs, or veneer logs, and loaded onto trucks.

Rigging slingers and chasers set up and dismantle the cables and guy wires of the yarding system.

Log sorters, markers, movers, and chippers sort, mark, and move logs, based on species, size, and ownership, and tend machines that chip up logs.

Logging equipment operators use tree harvesters to fell trees, shear tree limbs off, and cut trees into desired lengths. They drive tractors and operate self-propelled machines called skidders or forwarders, which drag or transport logs to a loading area.

Log graders and scalers inspect logs for defects and measure the logs to determine their volume. They estimate the value of logs or pulpwood. These workers often use hand-held data collection devices to enter data about trees. The data are later downloaded to a computer.

A typical crew might consist of

  • one or two tree fallers or one logging equipment operator with a tree harvester to cut down trees
  • one bucker to cut logs
  • two logging equipment operators with tractors to drag cut trees to the loading deck
  • one logging equipment operator to load the logs onto trucks.
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