Forest Management Careers – Interview

Interview with Jim Wick, consulting forester with Woodland Management Inc., a forest management consulting company primarily involved with providing professional forestry services in Oregon and Washington. His company’s website is

Sun Valley Bald Mountain Photo

How does the forester role fit into today’s reforestation practices?
Though foresters do a variety of jobs, nearly every forester or the organization the forester works for are involved in reforestation. In past centuries, a forester may have had to know how to extract timber with little thought given to reforestation. Those days are long gone. Foresters realize that in order to have forests for the future, it is critical to be successful at reforestation. If you look where industry, small woodland owners and the government have harvested, you will find 98 percent success in reforestation. It is also state law in Oregon that reforestation is not only done but that it be successful.

What range of businesses do you interact with?
Woodland does business with individuals that own forest land, county governments, foreign owners of forest land, and nonprofit organizations. We also have business dealings with nurseries, chemical distributors, regulatory agencies with the states of Oregon and Washington, county extension personnel, reforestation labor contractors, loggers, helicopter companies, and concerned citizens.

What is the best part of being a forester?
The best part of being a forester is working in the natural environment, helping individuals achieve their goals, and working as an individual on a schedule that I have control over. If I want to have a good day, I go out and look at plantations that I planted 35 years ago and see the forest where I once viewed a clear cut.

What are the toughest challenges facing reforestation today?
The biggest challenges are dealing with the public when we are trying to establish a new forest. In west Oregon, we have five years to be successful at reforestation. We need to be aggressive if we are to be successful. There are many obstacles that need to be overcome to be successful in reforestation and you need to do everything right.

What tips would you have for someone wishing to begin a foresting career?
It is necessary to be a self-starter that loves to be in the out-of-doors in all kinds of weather. But most important, it is necessary to communicate with people. The majority of our work is dealing with people not with trees. Don’t go into forestry to avoid people.

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