What is the Practice of Professional Forestry?

The practice of professional forestry is the work, direction, and services that guide the responsible use and sustainability of forests, forest lands, forests resource, and forest ecosystems. These activities are further broken into subset areas known as Practice Areas. Practice Areas are unique and evolving fields that require those performing the activities to have the appropriate education, knowledge, and experience.

Anyone practising forestry is required by provincial law to be registered with the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals, which establishes and regulates the criteria for entry to the profession. Inquiries and complaints about potential infringement of the practice of professional forestry should be directed to the ABCFP’s registrar and director of act compliance.

Professional Forestry Practice Areas

Over the course of a forest professional’s career, competence in professional practice increases with additional knowledge, skills, and proficiency gained in one or more Practice Areas. A forest professional may have one or more Practice Areas throughout their career.

See a full list of the most common Professional Forestry Practice Areas.

What is a Forest Professional?

There are two main types of forest professionals in BC – Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) and Registered Forest Technologists (RFTs). RPFs are involved in managing the forest and planning how it will be used and cared for. RFTs have a narrower scope of practice and are involved in many technical forestry activities such forest health, forest engineering, silviculture, and more.

Both RPFs and RFTs have post-secondary education (at least an undergraduate degree for RPFs and at least a college diploma for RFTs) and have completed a rigorous articling process, normally lasting two years. All forest professionals must adhere to the ABCFP’s Bylaws, including Ethical & Professional Conduct Standards and professional service guidance for forest resource activities, as well as all relevant government legislation. Both RPFs and RFTs work for government, academia, industry, First Nations, and consulting businesses of all sizes.

This printable infographic explains the two main types of registered forest professionals, the types of work they commonly do, and the educational requirements to become a forest professional.

Download the What is a Forest Professional infographic:

What Does a Forest Professional do?



Why Hire a Forest Professional?

Under BC law, only registered forest professionals can practice forestry in BC.

But there are other benefits for employers in hiring registered forest professionals or registered forest technologists including reduced risk and liability and public trust.

This fact sheet shows the benefits of hiring registered forest professionals.