Image of the forester with Felix and Milo

What does the forester do?

A forester is a person who manages a forest or woodland. Trees are grown to produce timber (wood) that is sold to make a wide range of things, from paper and card to furniture and house roofs. The money from this pays the forester’s wages.

Close-up image of a tree

Why are forests important?

Forests are a very important part of the environment in England, Wales and Scotland, like everywhere else: trees reduce the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the air and they make oxygen, the gas that people and animals breathe. Forests also provide wildlife habitats for a huge range of animals and plants.

Image of a girl riding a horse through the woodland

What else can you do in the forest?

Forests are also important for recreation: thousands of people in the UK visit forests every day for activities such as walks, picnics, bike riding and horse riding. It is the forester’s job to make sure that visitors can safely enjoy the forest while the work of tree planting and felling goes on.

Click on the facts

 Forest facts

  • 1. Timber is one of the most useful and valuable materials on earth, particularly because it is renewable (new trees can be grown to replace those cut down)
  • 2. UK forests and woods are home to more than 100 different kinds of trees
  • 3. Many forests in the UK have large areas of conifers (trees that produce cones and needles) – most of these, such as spruce, are ‘evergreen’ (keep their leaves all year round)
  • 4. Many foresters are now planting more native broadleafed trees such as oak – these are deciduous (lose their leaves in winter)
  • 5. Broadleafed trees grow more slowly than conifers and the timber they produce is more valuable
  • 6. Scotland has enough trees to cover nearly 2 million football pitches

 Forester facts

  • 1. Foresters are sometimes called forest managers or woodland managers
  • 2. Foresters manage more than one million hectares of forest in England (a hectare is about the area of a full-sized football pitch) and nearly 2 billion trees in Scotland.
  • 3. Over 3,000 hectares of new trees are planted in England each year and around 10,000 hectares are planted by the Forestry Commission in Scotland.
  • 4. Foresters helped Britain’s forests produce 8.5 million tonnes of wood in 2006
  • 5. Activities that take place in forests include walking, forest drives, camping, bike riding and birdwatching
  • 6. Foresters have to be quite fit and enjoy spending time outdoors
  • 7. Foresters spend a lot of time dealing with people, so they need to be good at communicating

 Forester jobs

  • 1. Choosing types of trees to plant and deciding where to plant them
  • 2. Deciding how much money to spend on planting, logging, picnic areas, etc.
  • 3. Organising the growing of trees
  • 4. Harvesting and selling timber
  • 6. Working with environmental groups
  • 7. Keeping up-to-date with laws involving trees and working in forests
  • 8. Preserving important habitats and encouraging rare species
  • 9. Preventing pests and diseases