Think Forests

Think_Forests_Banner3The CIF was involved with a Canadian initiative to revive low enrollment rates into post-secondary forestry programs in Canada and we are enthusiastic with the ongoing results of this effort. Recently Canada has seen a resurgence in enrolments into post-secondary forestry programs. The CIF will continue its efforts to maintain this trend to help with the current and future need for innovative young individuals in forestry.

The National Forest Program Recruitment Committee (NFPRC) is working to reach out to youth by promoting forestry as an interesting, diverse and thoroughly modern career path. The NFPRC committee was set up in 2004 and consists of representatives of the CIF/IFC, the Forest Products Association of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals, the universities of Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick, and Natural Resources Canada.

This February (2013), the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) launched TheGreenestWorkForce; a resource tool that provides information on the dynamic direction of the forest products industry and career opportunities right across the country.


FPAC greenestworkforce logo

Learn more about our initiative or choose one of the following:

Think Forests!

Looking for a Great Career? Look No Further!

Have you ever canoed or hiked through a national or provincial park and been impressed by its beauty and diversity? Have you ever thought about the importance of forests to our existence? Forests provide the oxygen we breathe, remove carbon dioxide, help clean the air and moderate the climate. Forests regulate our supply of fresh water, help prevent erosion and flooding, create habitat for wildlife and provide recreation and spiritual opportunities. Forests are also the main source of wood for paper, furniture and building materials.

Well-managed forests are a renewable resource and Canadian forests play a major role in the country’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing along with its environmental sustainability.

think forests canoe

A career in forestry can take you to an urban forest or deep into remote woodlands, to a laboratory to study forest life or into communities to live and work with individuals whose livelihoods depend on forest resources. Whether you like the outdoors or indoors, if you have a passion for the environment and thrive on solving complex problems, then a career in forestry is for you!

What is Forestry?

Forestry is the science and art of protecting, conserving and managing forest ecosystems for present and future generations. Forestry is an interdisciplinary field, linking environmental, social, cultural and economic values. From surveying ecological conditions, to developing innovative wood products, to working closely with many different groups and communities, including Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, there is something for you.

What do Forest Professionals do?

Forestry can be more than just a job – it can also be a passion. It is one of the most rewarding career choices in Canada. Forest professionals understand the relationships between people and forests, wildlife, ecology, fire and pest detection and control, wood science, harvest operations, forest regeneration and manufacturing processes. They design, implement and promote management programs that have a positive impact on diverse public and private needs. They develop an understanding of the broader economic, environmental, and social dimensions of managing renewable resources to consider all users and uses. Forest professionals become skilled communicators, sensitive to public concerns, and are able to explain forestry goals and practices to a diverse range of stakeholders.

By combining scientific, management and communication skills, forest professionals develop comprehensive natural resource inventories, plan and supervise harvesting and regeneration programs and work to protect forests from wildfires, insects and disease, and to manage and conserve all forest values including biodiversity and wildlife habitat.

Think Global – Think Green

Forests are the most valuable renewable resource worldwide – and a source of livelihood for millions of people. Canada has approximately 10 % of the world’s forests. So it is not surprising that forest professionals work for a great variety of employers: federal, provincial and municipal governments, private industry, consulting and research firms, colleges, universities, and non-governmental organizations and municipalities. Forest professionals are respected across Canada and around the world.

Many forest professionals work for forest products companies, others as soil erosion and reclamation experts for mining companies, as outdoor recreational planners for provincial and municipal governments, as advisors to environmental non-government agencies or as urban forest professionals managing trees in parks and along city streets. Some forest professionals work as researchers at one of several centres across Canada for federal or provincial governments or at universities. Important areas of research include social forestry, biotechnology, forest economics, ecology and wildlife biology.

What does it take?

_ConforTraining to become a forest professional generally requires a diploma from a technical college or a degree from a university specializing in forestry or related natural sciences. A university degree usually takes four years to complete. Once you have successfully obtained the necessary education, depending on the nature of your job you may be required to become a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) or a Registered Professional Forest Technologist (RPFT).

Schools and Programs

University – Trained

Forest professionals often work with sophisticated computer systems, statistical programs and a variety of other scientific and quantitative methods and procedures. Therefore, a good understanding of high school science and mathematics is important. A career in forestry also requires strong oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills. Practitioners are often involved in education, public relations, marketing and sales, and in activities such as planning, harvesting, regeneration and forest ecology. No matter what the role, university-trained forest professionals are committed to finding solutions to all resource management challenges and to ensuring the sustainability of the forest and the conservation of all that forests encompass.

Click the points on the map to view recommended forestry schools and programs in Canada.


College Trained

To become a forest technician or technologist requires a certificate or diploma from an academic institution specializing in forestry or a related natural resources program. This usually takes two to three years. College-trained forest professionals will experience a variety of opportunities associated with the management and conservation of forests and related resources such as wildlife, water, recreation and social concerns. They may be involved in a wide array of activities, from harvesting operations to forest conservation and protection, to wildlife management. Technical tasks may include surveying, forest fire fighting, tree-planting and data collecting.

Click the points on the map to view recommended forestry schools and programs in Canada.

_NR_College_Map2Take charge of your future. An exciting career in forestry awaits you!

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Job Sites

Canadian Forests
Government Jobs
ECO Jobs
Natural Resources Jobs
Canadian Food Inspection Agency Jobs

Volunteer Opportunities

Ontario Government Opportunities
School Environmental or Forestry Clubs
Local Citizen’s Committee
Naturalist’s Club
Local CIF/IFC Section


Educational Resources

Think Forests screen shot

THINK FORESTS! Presentation

For a quick overview of schools, careers and information on forestry.
Download the powerpoint presentation.

new members vid

CIF-IFC Membership Video

We always have room for new members!

Green commercial

Green Recruitment Video

The Canadian Institute of Forestry would like to let young people know that forestry is a wise career choice that is environmentally friendly!

High tech

Forestry is High-Tech Video

A recruitment commercial for young people, showing how technology is an important and exciting part of forestry careers!

general recruitment vid

Forestry as a Career Video

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Think Forests! Brochure

Grow Your Career!

Career_EnvelopeYou can Grow Your Career & Grow You Own Trees with our Think Forests! Career Envelopes!! With funding from NECO, these envelopes contain a survey, white spruce tree seed paper & info on how to get your forestry careers started!

Our Initiative

National Forest Program Recruitment Initiative (NFPRI) Background

Forestry schools across Canada have shown a significant decline in enrolments, threatening the longevity of forest educational institutions and the forest sector itself. The loss of any forest education program will damage our ability to educate the young practitioners of tomorrow and train a new generation, in a time when a shortage of forest practitioners is already imminent across the country. A more tangible and coordinated effort from within the forest sector is needed. The sector must allow youth the opportunity to make informed career choices, especially with respect to truly understanding the diversity, high-tech, sustainability and stewardship-oriented careers forestry has to offer. Therefore, a commitment to support existing post-secondary capacity in technical and professional programs must be evident.

The Challenge

The National Forest Program Recruitment Committee seeks to develop a plan to reconnect the people in our communities back the forest resource, and to spark a national interest in all Canadians to become stewards of our globally important forest lands. The committee will adopt a universally high-standard, dynamic national recruitment plan where they will invest in promotional activities and material over a five-year period from 2008 to 2011. With appropriate funding and a focused effort, much will be accomplished to reverse the current trend of declining enrolments in Canada. Our focus will be to make sure forest programs are promoted to a larger demographic, especially to women, Aboriginal students and visible minorities.

Our Message

_IMG_0611The National Forest Program Recruitment Initiative (NFPRI) will present its key messages as of the following:

  1. Canada’s forest management standards are among the best in the world.
  2. Forest professionals are dedicated to putting ecological and environmental needs first by continually incorporating new state of the art science and technology.
  3. Forestry Careers offer a balanced, hands-on, and challenging profession with a dynamic future.

Anticipated Results

The production, implementation and delivery of our planned initiatives will increase enrolment in forestry educational programs in colleges, universities and technical schools across Canada. We will be actively verifying our success through entrance survey given to forestry students, which will in turn aid in determining the effectiveness of the initiatives. The results should be better in terms of the number of students enrolled in forestry educational programs from previous years. The forestry student population should gradually become more diverse, and include minority groups, Aboriginal students and women. A heightened awareness and respect for forest professionals shown amongst career counsellors and educators should also be evident.


The National Forest Program Recruitment Committee (NFPRC) is collaboration between government, industry, academia and non-government forestry associations. The NFRC has existed since 2004 and is comprised of members from organizations across Canada including: The Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF), The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals (ABCFP), the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Alberta (UA), the University of New Brunswick (UNB), and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan-CFS). These organizations and their representatives have dedicated themselves to reverse the declining enrolment in forestry educational programs and to reconnect the people in their communities back to the forest resource.

Photo credit (Educational Resources button image): Ian Muttoo / / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit (student holding caution sign image): Unknown
Photo credit (all others): Emily Gray