Forestry Terms

What’s in a Name - Professional Forestry Terms

Forestry is a major employer in BC yet few people outside of the sector understand the differences between the different job titles and designations. Some of the common questions we get include: Can you call anyone who works in the forest a forester? Is there a difference between a logger and a faller?

The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) registers and regulates the province’s forest professionals – Registered Professional Foresters, Registered Forest Technologists, Special Permit and Limited License Holders, Accredited Timber Cruisers and Accredited Timber Evaluators. These professionals have post-secondary education, or equivalent, in forestry in addition to many years of experience and are responsible for managing the forests. They may look after all aspects of the forest including forest health (insect infestations, diseases and fire), fish and wildlife habitat, preparing areas for harvesting and much more. In general, forest professionals ensure that the forests are managed sustainably.

Forester – usually refers to a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). Foresters have university degrees, or equivalent, specializing in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Tech or Technologist – usually refers to a Registered Forest Technologist (RFT). RFTs have a two-year college diploma, or equivalent, in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Accredited Timber Cruiser (ATC) – a cruiser is a specialist who is trained to accurately figure out how much and the quality of each tree species is available for harvesting. A cruiser has on-the-job training and must demonstrate competency before being allowed to use the title ATC. Note that RPFs and (more commonly) RFTs may also be ATCs.

Accredited Timber Evaluator (ATE) – a timber evaluator is a specialist similar to an ATC however, the timber evaluator has more experience and is able to supervise a team of cruisers. Like ATCs, ATEs must demonstrate their competency before being allowed to use the ATE designation. Note that RPFs and (more commonly) RFTs may also be ATEs.

Silvicultural Accredited Surveyor (SAS) – this type of surveyor measures the quantity and quality of young forest stands, usually planted after harvesting, and provides recommendations to ensure these stands reach maturity. Like ATCs and ATEs, they must demonstrate their competency before being allowed to use the SAS designation. Note that RPFs and (more commonly) RFTs may also be SASs.

Forest Professional – this term is a generic phrase that refers to any of the above five job categories.

 

Other Forest Workers

Logger – usually refers to a number of workers whose job it is to harvest timber and bring it to a mill. The term “lumberjack” is similar to logger but is not used in BC. It is an eastern North American term.

Faller – Fallers are specialists who may have voluntarily become certified for this dangerous position. They are specifically trained to hand fall trees and are highly skilled.

Forest Technician – usually refers to someone with some post-secondary education such as a certificate. Forest technicians perform important data collection work in the forest.

Forest Worker – usually refers to non-professionals who work in the forest such as loggers, fallers and technicians.

Machine Operator – refers to a forest worker who operates various types of machinery during forest harvesting operations.

Council

The ABCFP Council consists of ten elected members and two lay councillors appointed by the provincial government and is responsible for governing the affairs of the association and exercising all rights and powers vested in it by the Foresters Act and association bylaws.

More Forestry Terms

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Glossary of Forestry Terms