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Conservation Scientist/Forester I


Junior (entry-level) conservation scientist or forester.  Manages overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources.  Works under immediate supervision.  Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job.  Primary job functions do not typically require exercising independent judgment.  Does not modify existing procedures or develop novel procedures.  Has knowledge of commonly used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field.  Typically reports to a supervisor or manager.  Has no supervisory responsibility.

  • Conservation Scientists.  Manage, improve, and protect natural resources to maximize their use without damaging the environment.  May conduct soil surveys and develop plans to eliminate soil erosion or to protect rangelands.  May instruct farmers, agricultural production managers, or ranchers in best ways to use crop rotation, contour plowing, or terracing to conserve soil and water; in the number and kind of livestock and forage plants best suited to particular ranges; and in range and farm improvements, such as fencing and reservoirs for stock watering.
  • Soil and Water Conservationists.  Plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.
  • Range Managers.  Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Naturalists.  Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Foresters.  Manage public and private forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes.  May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber’s worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement.  May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations.  May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine optimal harvesting schedules.

Examples of Work

Job functions are specific duties that would be included in the essential functions of the job description.  These functions are not all-inclusive nor do they cover the full extent of the duties performed.

  • Study grazing patterns to determine number and kind of livestock that can be most profitably grazed and to determine the best grazing seasons; study rangeland management practices and research range problems to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife
  • Study different tree species’ classification, life history, light and soil requirements, adaptation to new environmental conditions, and resistance to disease and insects; study forage plants and their growth requirements to determine varieties best suited to particular range
  • Participate in surveys, studies, or investigations of various land uses to inform corrective action plans; assist in conduct environmental studies, such as plant material field trials or wildlife habitat impact studies
  • Participate in annual audits or compliance checks of program implementation by local government
  • Participate in surveys and related studies and prepare reports and recommendations
  • Assist in surveying park/forest/range land to determine forest conditions and distribution and abundance of fauna and flora; assist in monitoring wildlife populations and assess the impacts of operations on population and habitats
  • Contact local forest owners and gain permission to take inventory of the type, amount, and location of all standing timber on the property; map forest area soils and vegetation to estimate the amount of standing timber and future value and growth
  • Assist in surveying property to mark locations or measurements, using surveying instruments
  • Research stories regarding the area’s natural history or environment
  • Measure vegetation resources for biological assessment companies, environmental impact statements, and rangeland monitoring programs
  • Assist in monitoring forest-cleared lands to ensure that they are reclaimed to their most suitable end use
  • Assist in monitoring projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications; monitor contract compliance and results of forestry activities to assure adherence to government regulations
  • Visit areas affected by erosion problems to assist in identifying causes or determine solutions
  • Assist in performing inspections of forests or forest nurseries
  • Apply principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, or agriculture, to assist in achieving conservation objectives
  • Compile biodata to assist in determining extent or type of wetlands or to aid in program formulation
  • Enter local soil, water, or other environmental data into adaptive or web-based decision tools to identify appropriate analyses or techniques
  • Interview specialists in desired fields to obtain and develop data for park information programs
  • Take photographs and motion pictures for use in lectures and publications and to develop displays; maintain official photographic and information files
  • Participate on work teams to plan, develop, or implement programs or policies for improving environmental habitats, wetlands, or groundwater or soil resources
  • Assist in planning soil management or conservation practices, such as crop rotation, reforestation, permanent vegetation, contour plowing, or terracing, to maintain soil or conserve water
  • Participate in the construction and maintenance of recreation facilities, fire towers, trails, roads and bridges, ensuring that they comply with guidelines and regulations set for forested public lands; perform routine maintenance on park structures; assist in planning and directing construction and maintenance of range improvements such as fencing, corrals, stock-watering reservoirs and soil-erosion control structures
  • Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans
  • Assist in managing private livestock operations
  • Assist in managing forage resources through fire, herbicide use, or revegetation to maintain a sustainable yield from the land; help plan and implement revegetation of disturbed sites
  • Maintain soil stability and vegetation for non-grazing uses, such as wildlife habitats and outdoor recreation
  • Conduct public educational programs on forest care, land care, and conservation; prepare and present illustrated lectures and interpretive talks; help plan and develop audio-visual devices for public programs; conduct field trips to point out scientific, historic, and natural features of parks, forests, historic sites, or other attractions
  • Provide visitor services, such as explaining regulations, answering visitor requests, needs and complaints, and providing information about the park and surrounding areas; construct historical, scientific, and nature visitor-center displays; assist with operations of general facilities, such as visitor centers
  • Perform emergency duties to protect human life, government property, and natural resources; direct, and participate in, forest fire suppression

Education and Experience

Bachelor’s degree in forestry, agricultural science, rangeland management, environmental science, or a closely related field; no experience required.

Licensure and Certification



This position does include supervisory responsibility.

To see common career pathways for each position at the University of Florida please visit the Career Paths section of the UFHR website.