Andrew Sowerby gives a flavour of what it's like to work at the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

What do chartered foresters do?

Chartered foresters are responsible for sustainably managing forests throughout the UK in the public, private and third sectors.

Our duties include:

  • developing forest policy
  • regulating managed forests
  • writing and implementing long-term forest plans
  • harvesting and marketing round timber 
  • establishing new forests
  • restocking harvesting sites 
  • managing forest recreation 
  • managing conservation and biodiversity interest in forests. 

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is the royal chartered body for foresters and arboriculturists in the UK.

It provides services and support to its members; guidance to professionals in other sectors; information to the general public; and educational advice and training to students and tree professionals seeking to develop their careers in the forestry and arboricultural industry.

ICF regulates the standards of entry to forestry and arboriculture and offers professional qualifications to promote expertise in the tree and woodland management professions. ICF works to foster a greater public awareness and understanding of the tree professions in order to serve a variety of commercial, recreational, environmental and scientific interests.

How many professional foresters are there in the UK?

The institute has over 1,500 members who practise forestry, arboriculture and related disciplines in the private sector, central and local government, research councils and universities and colleges throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Where are you based?

I am based in South Wales, I manage the timber harvesting programme for Natural Resources Wales on the public forest estate.

What types of roles do you offer?

Natural Resources Wales manages over 100,000 hectares of land. It requires foresters to manage harvesting, planting, recreation and conservation programmes as well as needing environmental managers to engage with communities, non-governmental organisations and policy makers.

Do you have to be qualified in a specific area or subject to work for the company?

Chartered foresters have demonstrated their competence through the professional membership process. Typically, but not exclusively, a chartered forester has a degree in forestry, arboriculture or other associated environmental discipline.

What’s next for your business?

The profile of forestry is increasing locally, nationally and internationally. Managed forests provide a carbon sink and sustainable supply of natural fibre as part of a holistic environment for people, flora and fauna. Chartered foresters are the leading professionals that underpin the current and future health of forests in society. Demand for our skills is on the increase. 

Working in forestry and arboriculture

Andrew Sowerby, Institute of Chartered Foresters

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Institute of Chartered Foresters

Find out more about careers in forestry and arboriculture