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What is a Forester?

Foresters are stewards of the woods

A forester is a professional who manages forests or contributes to forest management. Foresters care for the woods and take their management and stewardship seriously. 

There are several different types of foresters, each with their own area of expertise. Though not all foresters work in the woods, they all work for the woods. Generally speaking, foresters are in the business of growing trees, not cutting trees.

A forester fighting fire with fire in Thompson, CT.jpg
ACF_Collecting Burs from Naugatuck State
Foresters collecting data for aboveground carbon researchJPG

Foresters are well educated and technically trained. Expertise include, but are not limited to, forest ecology, ecological succession, stand development, wildlife biology, soil science, wetland science, climate science, entomology & pathology as they pertain to tree and forest health, dendrology, silviculture, statistics, economics, and communication. 


This means that foresters working throughout our landscape are making scientifically informed decisions.


Foresters in Southern New England understand the influence of spacing and site characteristics on the growth of the regions 100+ native tree and shrub species, and how these dynamics relate to wildlife biodiversity and other ecological services. Foresters asses forest health and develop comprehensive management plans that guide woodland owners to achieve their goals. This planning achieves multiple goals and sustainable uses of the forest. 

Sustaining long-term forest health is the primary goal of forest management. Management prescriptions may include timber harvesting when it fits with landowner objectives and woodlot conditions. 

A forester can work in the public or private sector. Public sector foresters can work at the federal, state, or county level in a variety of roles. Some provide the public and landowners with education, outreach, and connect them to cost sharing and conservation programs. Some manage large tracts of public lands for multiple uses.  

Private sector foresters can be consultants working as agents for forest landowners. They can also be procurement foresters, representing sawmills, timber buyers, and others. 

Both public and private foresters may work for utility companies like those tasked with protecting watershed lands and clean water, or work for universities conducting research, education, and outreach.

Meet a forester & learn what they do:

Light Wood Panel

Service Forester:
Video interview 
under construction

Bush Leaves

Urban Forester:
Video interview 
under construction

Wood Rings

Watershed Forester:
Video interview 
under construction

Flowers on Wood

Fire Control Forester
Video interview 
under construction

Interested in becoming a forester?

Society of American Foresters (SAF) certified forester program

CT Forest Practitioner Certification 

MA Licensing Program

Looking to learn more about foresters, forest management, and/or your woodlot?

Contact your Service Forester:

CT Service Forestry 

MA Service Forestry

RI Service Forestry


Looking to hire a forester?

Connecticut and Massachusetts state law require foresters to possess a professional certification or license, respectively. This is not a requirement in Rhode Island. Click the links below to access the directory of certified practitioners in CT and MA, and to the private practitioners in RI:

CT Directory of Certified Practitioners

MA Directory of Licensed Foresters

Rhode Island-based forestry consultants &  Rhode Island Private Forester directory

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