Forest managers plan and direct the planting, growth, harvesting and protection of forests meant for wood production.
Graduate forest managers with one to two years' experience usually earn
$41K-$52K per year
Senior forest managers usually earn
$60K-$130K per year
Pay for forest managers varies depending on experience.
- Graduate forest managers with up to two years' experience earn between $41,000 and $52,000 a year.
- Senior forest managers earn between $60,000 and $130,000.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Forest managers may do some or all of the following:
- plan and direct forest operations or new forest developments, including planting, pruning, forest growth measurement and tree harvesting
- manage forestry contractors carrying out forest operations
- manage the business and financial side of forest operations
- manage finances, work out the value of forest crops and plan how to meet future demand for wood
- ensure health and safety requirements are met
- monitor forest health, security, fire prevention, and the effects of forestry activities on the environment.
Skills and knowledge
Forest managers need to have:
- understanding of forest ecosystems and forest management processes
- knowledge of wood, forest products and product development
- understanding of the Resource Management Act
- knowledge of environmental protection methods
- knowledge of forest fire prevention and safety methods
- knowledge of health and safety legislation
- management and budgeting skills.
- usually work regular business hours, but may have to work additional hours sometimes
- work in offices and on-site at forests.
What's the job really like?
Shideen Nathan-Ngaronoa talks about her experience at the Forestry Industry Big Day Out in Gisborne - 2.06 mins.
We had talked about a upcoming Forestry Big Day Out that was hosted by Careers NZ. This was an opportunity I was definitely going to take so we went to the Level 5 and above course, which was for forestry management and it was a great day. It was really good. Careers NZ definitely did a good job with providing that and it just gave me a better insight on the other career choices of being in the forest and not just using a chainsaw.
In the holidays, the first school holidays, I went out with someone who I knew who was a forestry contractor – forest manager contractor – and we worked on the silvicultural part of the forestry industry.
I am doing a first cut of planting.
After the holidays I was pretty much sold on being a part of the forestry industry. I came back to school, talked to my careers adviser. We got in contact with Turanga Ararau to set up some further study to do with the forestry industry. That was working in partnership with my school subjects and my career choice through the Gateway programme.
I wanted to do experience because it gives me insight as to what they actually do around here rather than just going to university and coming here as a manager and just working off paper. You know, I can... I know what the boys are doing and how to do it right and next year I plan on doing the first year of my forestry management diploma at Turanga Ararau and then the second year at Waiariki Institute of Technology.
After that I do not know where I would be going but hopefully either uni or a job in the forestry industry.
To become a forest manager you need to have either:
- a Diploma in Forest Management (Level 6) from Waiariki Institute of Technology
- a degree in forestry science or forest engineering (Level 8) from the University of Canterbury.
A marketing and business qualification or management experience may also be useful for forest managers.
You also need to have a driver's licence.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required. Useful subjects include maths (with statistics and probability), biology, chemistry and English.
Forest managers need to be:
- good at planning, organising and problem-solving
- good communicators, as they deal with a variety of people
- computer literate
- adaptable and practical
- responsible and alert
- enthusiastic about the outdoors.
Useful experience for forest managers includes:
- work in a related role such as silviculture or harvesting forestry worker
- management roles.
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities for forest managers are good because:
- demand for logs is increasing, so forest owners in New Zealand are harvesting more trees, and forest planting is increasing
- the New Zealand Government is investing in forestry research and encouraging sustainable forestry programmes
Types of employers varied
Forest managers usually work for forest management companies or companies that own forests. They can also be self-employed, and work as consultants to these companies.
Most forests are owned by private companies. Other significant employers include:
- Crown Forestry (operated by the Ministry for Primary Industries), which owns and manages forests
- a collective of seven iwi, which owns most of the forests in the Central North Island.
- Competenz website, accessed November 2015, (www.competenz.org.nz).
- Friday Offcuts website, accessed November 2015, (www.fridayoffcuts.com).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Ministry for Primary Industries, 'Permanent Forest Sink Initiative', accessed December 2015, (www.mpi.govt.nz).
- Ministry for Primary Industries, 'Primary Growth Partnership', accessed December 2015, (www.mpi.govt.nz).
- Ministry for Primary Industries, 'Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry (June 2014)', 2014, (www.mpi.govt.nz).
- New Zealand School of Forestry website, accessed November 2015, (www.forestry.ac.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Many forest managers start in forestry operations supervisor roles (managing forestry contracting crews) before progressing into other forest management work. They may progress to more senior forest manager positions or become consultants in the industry.
Last updated 30 May 2018