Forests provide many things that people need to survive. Some trees grow fruit that we can eat, and most trees can be cut down and used to build houses or to fuel fires that keep us warm. Forests are also the home of many different types of plants and animals. Trees make oxygen that we need to breathe, and they help hold dirt in place so it doesn’t wash away when it rains. But while trees may look big and strong, they can be hurt by both natural and human actions. The study of how to manage and protect forests is called forestry, and it’s important to keep our planet healthy.

Forestry Careers fact

What Is Forestry?

Forestry is both a science and a craft. It involves every part of caring for forests. Foresters plan and create new forests. They also protect and work on repairing existing forests. They oversee the harvesting of commercial forests, which provides the materials to make things like lumber and paper. Forestry is used to manage natural and human-made forests. Foresters can work in a lot of different places, like parks where people go hiking or camping, logging companies that harvest and replant trees, and environmental agencies that work to protect the forests.

Types of Forests

The world has many different kinds of forests. Forests can be found almost everywhere. Deserts, some types of prairies, the tops of some mountain ranges, and the north and south poles don’t have forests, but most places do. Forests come in different kinds, though, depending on where they grow, what the climate is like there, and what sorts of trees are in them. Forests can also be grouped by how they’re used: Some forests are commercial forests, and these are places where the trees are grown so they can be cut down to make paper and lumber. Other forests are in parks and preserves, and these trees are protected for people and animals to enjoy.

There are two basic kinds of trees: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods have larger leaves, and their seeds are found in fruits or dry clusters. Apple, hickory, maple, and oak trees are hardwoods. Most hardwoods in North America lose their leaves each fall. These are known as deciduous hardwoods. Most softwoods are evergreen. This means they stay green year-round, and only drop some needles.

Managing the Forest

Forest management is a specific type of forestry. The management of forests focuses on things like balancing a logging company’s need to make money with the need to keep forests healthy, pursuing lawsuits when people break laws that protect the forests, and guiding scientists who work to keep plants healthy and protect animals. Management can focus on preserving a forest, using it for commercial reasons, or a combination of both. It can also include things like planning the building of new roads, preventing wildfires, and planting new forests.

Protecting the Forest

One area of forestry is forest protection, which focuses on protecting and improving forests. Foresters work to prevent both human-caused and natural harm to forests. Types of human-caused harm include poorly planned logging, pollution, and cities encroaching on forests. Natural harm includes insects that damage trees and forest fires with natural causes.

Careers in Forestry

Many of the first professional foresters worked for the government. It was a job for people who loved being outdoors. These early foresters were mainly focused on preventing forest fires and stopping illegal logging. Today, foresters usually major in forest science in college. Many colleges offer forest science degrees. Most foresters still work for the government: The biggest employer of foresters is the United States Forest Service. But some foresters work for logging companies, help regular people to manage the trees in their yards, teach others about protecting forests, work at public parks as forest rangers, or do research on how to help keep trees healthy or control insects that hurt trees.

Related Link: A Guide To Forestry and Conservation