What Professional Foresters Do
Professional Foresters are responsible for looking after Ontario’s forests. Registered Professional Foresters (R.P.F.s) and Associate Registered Professional Foresters (Associate R.P.F.s) of the OPFA form part of the professional forestry team responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating all activities related to forest management. They make decisions such as when, where and how to harvest and reforest areas. They also ensure the protection of forest values including fish, wildlife and water.
The complete definition of what a Professional Forester does is set out in legislation. In summary it includes anything to do with the development, management, conservation and sustainability of forests, including urban forests, which requires post secondary education and experience (professional expertise and judgement), unless it is specifically excluded (e.g. other professions working within their scope of practice). For precise details refer to the Professional Foresters Act, 2000.
OPFA has over 900 members of which approximately 600 are licensed to practice in Ontario today. Today’s foresters pursue careers to ensure a healthy future for both people and the environment. Careers range from practical day to day management of our forests to conducting cutting-edge scientific research in a variety of forestry related disciplines. Traditional forestry careers have included forest management for the production of timber, pulp and paper and other wood products and overseeing timber harvesting operations. There is still great demand for professional foresters to fill these traditional roles, but professional foresters today are also providing valuable services in a much wider range of positions within government, municipalities, Conservation Authorities, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and Indigenous organizations,.
This word cloud was created from the job titles of R.P.F.s and Associate R.P.F.s in 2022: while not all are shown, you can really see the diversity of those areas that are most common!