Social Forester

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Forester cutting down tree with chainsaw

Social Foresters are involved in using trees and woodlands to deliver social benefits to all groups within society. Social Foresters work with groups of people to promote improved well-being and mental health. A Social Forester needs to have a range of practical forestry work skills and also be good at working with diverse groups of people.

Social Foresters will work to organise events, activities and projects to increase social involvement and interaction within woodlands. These activities may include working with schools, social groups and individuals on tree planting schemes, the production of wood products, such as hurdles and timber shingles, and assisting with educational activities.

A major part of social forestry is an understanding of the physical, emotional and psychological benefits that woodlands have on people. Social Foresters may work with individuals or groups on woodland activities that are educational or therapeutic.

Managerial work undertaken can involve the development of a business plan, marketing and control of budgets, preparing applications for funding or assessing planning applications. Managers may also be involved in the recruitment and supervision of staff and volunteers.

Working Conditions 

Work can be physically demanding and Social Foresters need to be prepared to work outdoors in all weathers.

Social Foresters typically work full-time. 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 licence may be required.

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Salary

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

Starting salary:

£19,000

Ending Salary:

£27,000

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Getting started

Many people who come to work within Social Forestry will have had some experience working in a related area, such as arboriculture, forestry or environmental science.

Interest in Social Forestry has increased and there are projects running in many of the larger towns and cities across Britain. Jobs may be found within local government and charitable trusts, such as the Woodland Trust.

Employers are looking for people who:

Enjoy working outside

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

What experienced workers can do

  • Communicate information and knowledge
  • Prepare learning and development programme
  • Deliver interpretive activities
  • Produce interpretive media
  • Identify learning and development needs
  • Consult and work with local communities
  • Manage planted areas
  • Investigate community and social forestry opportunities and activities
  • Fell trees
  • Plant trees.

Personal qualities you should have

  • Working with others
  • Communication
  • Safety awareness
  • Accepting social values
  • Input into community projects or fundraising events
  • Developing enterprise
  • Self-motivated
  • Flexible
  • Energetic.
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Next steps

It may be possible to progress to higher grades within similar roles, taking on greater supervisory responsibility. However, this will vary depending upon the nature of the employer.

Progression beyond the role will tend to be into a more managerial role, which will involve less hands-on practical work.

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 Social Forestry career path

Forestry Worker also appears on these career paths: Forestry.