This is a question that we are not asked often enough; unfortunately far too many assume that Foresters and Loggers are the same.
A logger is someone who harvests trees for a living.
A good logger does know a lot about how a forest grows, which trees are growing well, and the relative value of the trees they are harvesting.
Beyond this many rely on Foresters to do most of the determination of which forests need harvesting, which individual trees need to be harvested, and the best plan for harvesting the forest.
In the Forestry Profession we spend most of our time measuring, planning and advising.
A Forester will seldom use a chainsaw, rather their tools center more on tree measurement tools and computers.
A Forester must have a BS or MS degree from a university that is accredited by the Society of American Foresters.
In college a Forester studies many things designed to make them proficient at managing your forest to meet the needs of the Land, Forest and the Landowner.
- Silviculture, to help us to know what makes each tree grow well, and the relationships between the types of trees.
- Forest Ecology, Wildlife Management, Soil Science, Hydrology, and other topics to help to make the forest a well-balanced ecosystem to meet the needs of all who benefit from it.
- Surveying, it is important to know who's forest you are on, especially if you are marking trees for harvest.
- Economics, Management and Finance are also studied in order to enable your Forester to not just manage the forest but also to manage your financial interests involved in this important asset.
Most Foresters are also members of the Society of American Foresters or the Association of Consulting Foresters, both of which require their members to follow strict ethical cannons designed to protect the forest and the Foresters client.
Most Forestry firms will avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest by never mixing the two professions.
However it is necessary to have loggers involved in order to manage the forest, since most forest management involves some sort of well-designed harvesting to manipulate which trees grow where and when.
A forester will do this by setting up the timber sale with a good plan, marking which trees will be harvested, bidding the job out to a pool of loggers, and then monitoring the project to make sure that all of the contract specifications are met to the satisfaction of the landowner (acting as the landowners Agent).
Sometimes a Logger will market themself as a Forester without meeting the qualifications of being a Forester, this is Fraud.
Other times a Logging firm will hire in house foresters, sometimes because they want to do a better job for the forest and other times, just as a marketing ploy to get landowners to sell them trees without hiring an independent Forester.
Even if the logger does have a real Forester on staff it is in the landowners best interest to hire their own Forester, just like when getting into any other large contract it best to have your own attorney rather than relying on the attorney that the other party hired.
If you would like to learn more, give me a call.