Forester Licensing

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Sat Mar 7 04:45:14 EST 1998

John Vona wrote:
> In California the  RPF  (registered prof. forester) exam is considered
> the most stringent in the nation, with a first time pass rate of 8%
> (from my unofficial sources).  In the 4 years working in the state I met
> many conscientious hardworking RPF's, I mean no harm when I say this;
> but I met too many foresters who sent non-RPF's to do 99% of the timber
> harvest planning  for which the RPF would sign off on the document and
> never set foot out of the &^%$ truck. A forestry consultant outfit from
> out of state flat out was looking for silent RPF, who did no real work
> except sign off on their harvest plans for while their 12 employees did
> all the work.
> Licensing may weed out the less bookish people, who can't easily pass
> exams,  but it doesn't weed out the dishonest.
> jv

Hmmm.. But the RPF still has the responsibility so if a harvest goes
bad, I hope the state licensing people come down hard on the RPF who
passed off the field work on unqualified people.

The RPF's reputation is still on the line.

And... regarding the CA test being difficult. A test should accurately
measure the abilities REALLY NEEDED by a licensee; not just become
extremely difficult to restrict how many will pass. This is the trick by
all of the "higher" professions- and most recently in my state, the

Anyone who could manage to graduate from your state certified forestry
colleges and who has several years experience IN FACT probably knows
what he/she needs to know. If only 8% of those pass, then there is
something seriously wrong with the test. We all know that most of what
is taught in college courses IS NOT NEEDED in the REAL WORLD. So if the
test isn't testing for real world skills, but seems more like a final
exam in graduate school, I should think CA foresters would revolt
against this; unless CA foresters have settled into a class based
system- the "ins" and the "outs" which is no more honest than the mafia.

In my state, if the University or state forestry agency people design
such a test it would be a FRAUD, since they don't have a clue about the
real world. Such a test should be prepared by a committee of foresters
with many years experience, and test ONLY for skills needed in the real


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