Harvesting Manager

Forester cutting down tree with chainsaw

Forestry Harvesting Managers deal with the felling of trees and their preparation for transport and processing.  They are responsible for the selection of suitable timber and planning of harvesting activities.

Working in private woodland or for Forestry Commission Scotland, they often need a wide range of skills and knowledge, including land management skills.  The Harvesting Manager will usually have to control a budget and follow a business plan developed for the sites they manage. 

They may be answerable to the Head Forester, or land agent, who oversees the forestry work in different locations.

A Forestry Harvesting Manager’s main responsibility is planning harvesting work to be carried out by staff and contractors. 

They may be required to survey and inspect trees and sites, selecting and marking up timber to be harvested, plan harvesting activities and manage output of felled timber against set income targets.

Working Conditions

Although a Harvesting Manager is a management role, it can be physically demanding. Some of the time will be spent office-based but you should still be fit and able to work outdoors in all weathers.

Harvesting Managers typically work a standard full-time week. However, the hours may vary and weekend or Bank Holiday work can be required.

Depending on the area covered, there may be a significant amount of travelling between different sites. A driving license may be required.



Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.

Starting salary:


Ending Salary:



Getting started

While the largest employer is Forestry Commission Scotland, private estates, local authorities, conservation organisations and charities, government agencies and forest management companies also employ Forest Workers. Most jobs are found in rural locations with large forested areas.

Employers are looking for people who:

  • Enjoy working outside
  • Enjoy practical/physical work 
  • Are interested in the environment.

What experienced workers can do

  • Business management
  • Work site safety and hazard recognition
  • Risk Assessment
  • Equipment use and maintenance
  • Machinery use and safety.

Personal qualities you should have

  • Good communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Be able to plan and manage work have good organisational skills
  • Be practical and good at working with their hands
  • Be able to work safely
  • Be responsible, diligent and self-motivated
  • Enjoy working as part of a team but also confident working independently
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be able to plan and manage workloads
  • Be able to deal confidently and tactfully with others on a one-to-one or group basis
  • Responsible and aware of health and safety issues
  • Resourceful and mechanically minded.

Next steps

As a Harvesting Manager, progression will depend upon the type of organisation that you work for. 

Harvesting Managers may become forestry consultants or move into a contracting role.

Useful links

Arboricultural Association

Chartered Foresters

Confederation of Forest Industries

Forestry Commission Scotland

My world of work

Royal Forestry Society

Your next steps on the Forestry career path

Head Forester also appears on these career paths: