Green Jobs in the Urban Forestry Sector

Officials plant an oak tree at the inauguration ceremony of the EFI Office in Bonn

Inauguration EFI Bonn Office (European Forest Institute) 29/08/2017 Credits: Jennifer Zumbusch.


UNECE/FAO published a discussion paper on “Green Jobs in the Forest Sector” . The study provides an overview of existing Green Forest Jobs and identifies possible areas for future activities and jobs in the forest sector, and may serve as starting point for further analysis and discussion on the future of Green Forest Jobs. It offers a framework for classifying Green Forest Jobs under seven thematic work areas, outlined in the seven main sections of the study, with a particular focus on major trends, needs and challenges as well as opportunities and prospects for the forest sector.  Urban foresters will be mainly interested in the work area “Social and Urban Development” (including Urban Forestry, Arboriculture, and a “Culture and Forests” section), but also the section on “Health and Recreation” is a must-read.

Urban forestry practitioners not only need to design and manage healthy, stable, attractive and accessible urban forests able to cope with different demands, but they also have to promote and improve the understanding and acceptance of forests and forest management in urban settings.

The paper refers to Manchester, where an estimated corps of 15.000 urban foresters (in the broad sense) are providing forest-related services (forest product processing, tourism and forestry-related services).

Urban foresters’ skills and expertise are not only challenged from a technical point of view (e.g. diverging soil conditions, specific species, pavements, health issues), but they also need to know how to interact with the public, decision-makers and other professionals. As urban trees grow at people’s doorstep, the community holds a close look to the management of a city’s forets and trees.

The urban forestry chapter ends with a very interesting list of key competences and skills an urban forester needs:

  • Communication skills for managing complex stakeholder relations
  • Public relation skills for interacting with residents
  • Competencies in planning, designing, managing and maintenance of trees and forests
  • Comprehensive knowledge and competencies in ecology, forestry, agroforestry, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services and their valuation, climate change, tree care, economic and social issues related to health care, recreation and leisure and environmental education


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