3. LONG TERM FORCAST FOR THE FORESTRY PROFESSION

Ron Wenrich woodtick at lebmofo.com
Wed Jun 17 19:23:41 EST 1998



Joseph Zorzin wrote:

> Will forestry ever REALLY be considered a profession? It certainly isn't
> now. Even those in good burro jobs or in the relatively prosperous
> industrial sector aren't earning the income of doctors, lawyers,
> dentists, architects, and those other trades that use the term
> "professional". Everybody likes to use the word professional. I've heard
> such terms as "professional plumber", "professional lawn service", etc.
> Is this the kind of profession forestry is? Using the term professional
> is similar to the fact that almost everyone working in your local small
> bank is some kind of vice president, including the "VP of sanitation
> services". Teachers are considered at the bottom end of REAL
> professional status. But the average forester's income is significantly
> below the average teachers. In Connecticut the average teacher is now
> getting $55,000/yr. I just heard that statistic on National Public Radio
> (a hotbed of dangerous liberals).
>
> Forestry isn't going to be a REAL profession unless we fight for it,
> just like every other REAL profession. And we need to dump all the
> people in current leadership positions for failing to lead and elevate
> the profession. The professors, and the top people in government really
> DON'T GIVE A DAM, because they have their sinecures. And most working
> stiff foresters either don't know how to speak up or are too timid.
> --
>
> Joseph Zorzin, Der Yankee Forestmeister

It all depends on what you want to do.  I saw a recent ad for a head
forester for an electric company with a salary of $75K.  A bureaucratic job
that involves power line right-of-ways.  I'm making more than local teachers
and engineers, but I work production work at the sawmill level.

Foresters are going to have to be able to set themselves apart from the rest
of the industry.  This will involve more than being able to do silvicultural
work.  Being able to grasp more of the total picture of the industry will
help to attain professional status as well as higher pay.  Many foresters
don't know anything about lumber grades or forest products.

Foresters are trying to sell an intangible.  We're not doing a very good
job.  We haven't sold the industry completely on the merits of good mgmt.,
and they're our benefactors.  We've been using the shotgun approach to reach
landowners.  We're going to have to be more specialized.  A lot of what we
do can be done by other woods workers.  Why pay a professional when you can
get the same job done by someone else for lower money?   What do we take to
the landowner or to industry to merit professional status or pay?  I do
things that industry usually can't, and I make them money.  Its a lot harder
to convince a landowner of the same merits.  I think foresters are going to
have to become eco-system managers, and abandon the board foot mentality,
especially in areas where money is not the motivating factor for owning
land.  Otherwise you'll still be looked upon as a logger by many
landowners.  They can't seem to make the distinction.

RDW






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