forester licensing regs in Massachusetts, they SUCK <G>

Ron Wenrich woodtick at
Thu Nov 26 05:57:12 EST 1998

KMorrisD wrote:

> Joseph Zorzin <redoak at>
> >BTW, on the PA Council of Professional Foresters web site at
> >, click on the button for "legislative
> >issues" and you'll see that the subject of forester licensing is under
> >consideration, at least by that group.
> Hey, maybe MA and PA could get together, and beget REAL forester licensing. <G>

Don't look for that to happen any time soon.  Licensing in PA has been kicked
around for over 25 yrs.  The current statute states that anyone can call themselves
a forester, since there is no licensing.  I know of a few guys who do this.  One is
a tech, another was a timber buyer (now retired), and another was a burro who
retired and sucked up land (now dead).

The state maintains a list of qualified foresters, which it hands out to
landowners.  To be put on this list, you need to have a BS from an accredited
program, and 2 yrs experience.  Industrial and consulting foresters are both put on
the list.  We've had a rash of consultants who started when jobs were scarce, but
degrees were plentiful.   The quality of their work has nothing to do with
qualifications.  I've seen crappy work done by people who would get a license and
good work from those who are not "qualified".

Our state looks at the problem as being there is no problem.  Until there are
complaints about the quality of work by non-professionals, there will be no
change.  The problem is, there are complaints about the professionals, from the
green side.  How will licensing satisfy their arguements that foresters are an
extension of the timber industry?

Will licensing mean better mgmt to the landowners?  I doubt if anything would
change.  Landowners have been resistant to education in the past.  I don't know of
any program that has brought the masses into the camp of using a forester.  Mgmt
plans are a rarity.  A preliminary cruise is a rarity, since many foresters don't
know how to do a good one.  Preliminary cruises tend to be a walk-through to see
whether there is merchantible timber.

There are several professions which are not licensed.  Teachers need to be
certified, if teaching in a public school.  This doesn't guarantee any quality.
Non-certified teachers can teach in private schools.  Biologists, and most other
scientists are not licensed.  Farmers are not licensed.  Bankers are not licensed.
Accountants are certified, but not licensed.  The list of licensed professions
include:  lawyers, doctors, barbers, surveyors, engineers.

Until you can demonstrate an overpowering need for licensing, or that there is
financial gain for the state, I doubt that it will happen.  Most of the noise is
being made from within the profession.  You're right that there is little
leadership from the outside, such as the SAF or the ACF.  You will need outraged
citizens to come forward and make a case that forests have been mismanaged by
incompetent non-professionals.  While we're at it, we should push for licensing
loggers.  This will have a greater impact on forests than just licensing foresters.


More information about the Ag-forst mailing list