Forest manager

forester woodland manager assistant head forester
Animals, land and environment

Career outlook for forest manager

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

It’s a great time to join the forest industry, whether you're starting out or changing career. You'll help tackle the climate emergency and work towards a green recovery after Covid-19.

Forestry plays an important part in the nature-based sector. It has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions, including creating 18,000 hectares of woodland a year by 2024. This is helping to support Scotland's transition to net zero by 2045.

As a forest manager, you'd look after an area of forest to produce timber and conserve the woodland environment.

It'd be your job to plan the planting and harvesting activities in the forest. You’d lead a team of forestry workers and supervise their work.

You'll work to keep the trees in the forest healthy and free from disease. This'll make sure the timber is good for harvesting.

You'd help to conserve the woodland environment so plants and wildlife can flourish. You’d also manage the facilities, like paths and signposts, to help visitors enjoy the environment.

You would:

  • survey and inspect trees and sites

  • select and mark up timber for harvesting

  • plan, monitor and evaluate habitat management

  • manage the maintenance of machinery and equipment

  • maintain records of work

  • make sure staff follow heath and safety policies

You’d follow the business plan for your area of woodland and manage the budget. For this, you’d need project management skills.

Depending where you work you may manage an individual site and report to a head forester who oversees work in several woodlands.

You might also need land management skills.

Working conditions


You'd usually work a standard full-time week but part-time positions are available. The hours may vary with some weekend or bank holiday working needed from time to time.


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


You'll be partly office-based but will also spend a lot of your time outdoors.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative
  • Coaching
  • Delegating
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


Entry into this work requires a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or degree in:

  • Forestry
  • Arboriculture
  • Countryside Management
  • Forest Management
  • Environmental Conservation Management

To enter a Higher National Certificate courses, you'll need one to two Highers (SCQF level 6). Work experience is also needed for some courses.

To enter a degree course, you'll need a relevant HND or Nationals plus four to five Highers.

Useful subjects

  • English 
  • maths
  • a science subject
  • business skills
  • geography
  • computer science

Helpful to have

Qualifications or volunteering experience that show an interest and understanding of the natural environment. This could be Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF 4), the John Muir Award or a Duke of Edinburgh's Award.