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Overview of the role

Provide expert advice on the woodlands and forests.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in governmental, non-governmental, private, public, charitable and local authority organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that have an interest in forestry and woodland creation and management. Landowning organisations, e.g. Local Authorities or private estates, may employ their own Professional Foresters, whereas private landowners, e.g. farmers, may bring one in as a consultant.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to provide expert technical advice on the planning, creation, management, harvesting and utilisation of woodlands and forests (known as silviculture). Professional Foresters form the link between landowners, contractors and timber-buyers, providing technical expertise to inform and manage delivery of sustainable multi-purpose forest management outcomes in relation to the UK Government’s Forestry Act. Expertise in forest and woodland carbon accounting and land use change are becoming increasingly important for Professional Foresters who will be responsible for writing Woodland Management Plans (WMPs), Forest Design Plans (FDPs) and Woodland Creation Design Plans (WCDPs), using expert knowledge of legislation, regulation and silvicultural good practice, and will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of those plans.

Professional Foresters will be integral to the achievement of Government targets for delivery of public goods under the 25-Year Plan for the Environment, and Net Zero 2050 targets for carbon reduction. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with landowners and agents, statutory bodies, local authorities, local & national interest groups, ecologists, engineers and other professional experts, timber buyers, contractors, suppliers, colleagues, volunteers and the public. In many cases Professional Foresters will be required to understand how forestry fits into the wider land-management planning of a given client or organisation and will liaise with other stakeholders to manage conflicting pressures and achieve complementary outcomes. The uniquely long-term nature of forest planning cycles means that many Professional Foresters will have long-term professional relationships with their clients, sometimes spanning decades. In some cases, especially hardwood silviculture, management decisions made by a Professional Forester now may not even come to fruition in their or their clients’ lifetime.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for:

  • Autonomous decision making relating to land use change pertaining to woodland operations
  • Appropriate decision making within organisational structures (e.g. Woodland Officer reporting to Field Manager)
  • Budget management, including applying for and/or administering grant funding
  • Awarding and managing contracts to contractors
  • Procurement and sales
  • Gathering, analysing, interpreting, implementing and communicating information
  • Regulatory compliance.

Typical job titles include:

Beat forester District forester Forest and woodland advisor Forest manager Forest officer Forester Forestry consultant Head forester Planning forester Woodland officer

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Provide technical expertise in relation to all aspects of sustainable forest management from woodland creation to timber harvesting.

K1 K2 K6

S6 S9 S17 S19

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 2 Research survey and collect data on established woodlands and forests, and measure, map and record established forest management units (FMUs) using, for example, on-the-ground mapping, geospatial and UAV technology.

K1 K2 K3 K6

S1 S2 S3 S15

Duty 3 Survey, collate and interpret silvicultural data on established woodlands and forests for safety, resilience, pests & diseases, tree health, and woodland condition.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K7 K9 K13

S1 S2 S3 S4 S11 S15

Duty 4 Survey, evaluate and inventory woodland potential for timber production and communicate results to clients, colleagues and others to inform, for example, commercial timber sales contracts and production forecasts.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K7 K9 K12 K13 K14 K18

S1 S2 S3 S4 S8 S11 S15

Duty 5 Collect, analyse and evaluate landscape and environmental information to write Woodland Creation Design Plans for new woodland planting and afforestation schemes.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K7 K11 K14

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S15

Duty 6 Advise clients / landowners / others on the commercial potential for woodland carbon, for example the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

K1 K6 K7 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K18

S8 S9 S18

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 7 Analyse and evaluate silvicultural and other information, for example archaeological or ecological to develop UKFS-compliant forest / Woodland Management Plans for established woodlands and forests.

K1 K2 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K14 K23

S6 S8 S9 S12

Duty 8 Interpret and implement forest / Woodland Management Plans for the management of established woodlands and forests for timber production.

K1 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K10 K16 K17 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S1 S3 S4 S5

Duty 9 Provide expert technical advice to others on the development, interpretation and implementation of forest / woodland design creation and management plans.

K1 K5 K6 K7 K8 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S9 S10

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 10 Interpret and implement forest / woodland establishment, maintenance and harvesting operations in accordance with forest / woodland design creation and management plans, and production forecasts.

K1 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K10 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S7 S10 S13 S14 S17 S18


Duty 11 Plan, manage and be responsible for onsite operations, including health, safety & welfare, legal and regulatory compliance, silvicultural & environmental good practice, compliance with the UKFS, access and haulage.

K1 K4 K5 K6 K8 K11 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S7 S10 S13 S14 S17

B1 B2

Duty 12 Develop, maintain and manage relationships with clients, timber buyers, colleagues, contractors and volunteers.

K1 K4 K6 K12 K15 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S9 S10 S16 S18 S19

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5



K1: Terminology used in forestry and silviculture. Back to Duty

K2: Survey and assessment techniques for information gathering e.g. techniques for constraints and opportunity mapping, use of LIDAR, remote sensing, satellite imagery. Back to Duty

K3: Legislation, industry guidelines and best practice in Health and Safety for Forestry including Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), FISA guidance e.g. Managing Health and Safety in Forestry. Back to Duty

K4: Forestry legislation and governance including principles of the Forestry Act (1967) and relevant amendments, UK Forestry Standard and UK Woodland Assurance standard. Back to Duty

K5: Sources and use of Woodland Management Plan templates and tools. Back to Duty

K6: The factors affecting tree growth and woodland condition including species selection. Back to Duty

K7: Interpretation of silvicultural data to include analysis and predictive models for example, natural capital assessment, climate change impacts. Back to Duty

K8: Silvicultural techniques for woodland management, for example selective thinning, clearfell. Back to Duty

K9: Manual, digital and remote silvicultural mensuration and survey techniques, for example Blue Book, digital reloscope, satellite imagery. Back to Duty

K10: The forest industry business and market requirements and sector intelligence including timber and land markets & values, grant and incentive regimes, investment forestry, production forecasts. Back to Duty

K11: Woodland creation and forest design principles, including regulatory requirements, effects of land use change, forest resilience, species selection, ecology and use of appropriate decision support tools. Back to Duty

K12: Strategies and techniques for stakeholder engagement for example consultations, public relations, use of media. Back to Duty

K13: Silvicultural systems in relation to carbon modelling and accounting, sequestration and climate change mitigation. Back to Duty

K14: Carbon markets, the Woodland Guarantee, the Woodland Carbon Code and incentives such as the Woodland Carbon Planning Grant. Back to Duty

K15: Techniques for management of own performance. Back to Duty

K16: Principles of relationship management e.g. volunteers, contractors or staff. Back to Duty

K17: Legislation and regulation relating to wider land use for example Public Rights of Way, Countryside Rights of Way, Town and Country Planning Act, use of UAV’s, Countryside and Wildlife Act, European Protected Species, Statutory Plant Health Notices. Back to Duty

K18: Financial management including grant applications, budgeting, contract management, timber tenders and sales. Back to Duty

K19: Planning, resourcing and procurement of forest works, including seasonal and operational implications for working and impact on the environment, in line with UKFS requirements and guidance. Back to Duty

K20: Responsibilities in relation to risk to people including dynamic site / operation risk assessment, lone working, safety software (for example what3words), promoting safety culture, public safety. Back to Duty

K21: Factors affecting the planning, management and mitigation of risk on a forest works site (Forest Works Supervisor role), for example biosecurity, pollution control, environmental factors. Back to Duty

K22: Operational management of establishment, maintenance, harvesting and restock sites, including roles and responsibilities of landowner, works supervisor, contractors and sub-contractors (in line with FISA guidance and industry best practice). Back to Duty

K23: Safe and effective methods for timber handling, storage, haulage and roading. Back to Duty


S1: Navigate to work sites using tools (e.g. maps, compasses, location apps, GPS) Back to Duty

S2: Create maps to represent forestry / woodland sites using both paper and digital formats. Back to Duty

S3: Identify, classify and prioritise different sources of silvicultural information and data Back to Duty

S4: Use digital technology to conduct desk-based surveys. Back to Duty

S5: Apply accurate mensuration and survey techniques. Back to Duty

S6: Create Woodland Management / Creation Design Plan Back to Duty

S7: Produce and manage silvicultural operational assessments / schemes of work / operational and harvesting plans. Back to Duty

S8: Develop complex silviculture modelling scenarios including carbon balance, land use, landowner objectives, timber and/or other income. Back to Duty

S9: Communicate with others using different methods, for example digital, written, verbal, presentational (maps & sketches). Back to Duty

S10: Establish and manage internal and external relationships, for example contractors, media, stakeholders. Back to Duty

S11: Select and apply appropriate online silvicultural tool or application for task, for example MyForest, Felling Licence Online, Ecological Site Classification Tool, ForestGales Back to Duty

S12: Select and apply appropriate silvicultural systems to achieve management objectives. Back to Duty

S13: Manage risks to the environment including pollution, biosecurity, habitat degradation. Back to Duty

S14: Identify and manage risks to self, employees, public and others using dynamic site and operational risk assessment according to FISA Guidance. Back to Duty

S15: Collate, analyse and interpret silvicultural data and make recommendations. Back to Duty

S16: Develop and maintain effective information networks. Back to Duty

S17: Create and manage financial models and budgets. Back to Duty

S18: Prepare and manage financial and contractual documents (e.g. tenders, sales contracts, grant agreements). Back to Duty

S19: Manage, maintain and record own performance, professional development and currency of silvicultural knowledge. Back to Duty


B1: Act with integrity, for example being open and transparent in dealing with clients and respecting their confidentiality. Take full responsibility for your actions. Back to Duty

B2: Communicates effectively and respectfully towards clients and colleagues and takes into account cultural sensitivities and business practices Back to Duty

B3: Act professionally, providing a high standard of service based on sound business evidence. Back to Duty

B4: Adopt and promote a safety culture within the organisation and acts with regard to health, safety and wellbeing for self and others. Back to Duty

B5: Embed sustainable working practices. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

BSc Forest Management Hons

Level: 6 (non-integrated degree)

Professional recognition

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • Institute for Chartered Foresters for Professional (MICfor)

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Retired
Level: 6
Degree: non-integrated degree
Reference: ST0923
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 18/08/2022
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £18000
LARS Code: 647
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Say it with wood Heart of England Forest Cartwright Forestry National Trust Cumbria Woodlands Forestry Commission National Forest Company The Environment Partnership Confor Institute of Chartered Foresters Forest Industry Safety Accord Skills & Education Group Royal Forestry Society Tir Coed Forestry England Lockhart Garratt Duchy of Cornwall Total Trees Pryor & Rickett Sylva LGLuk Pryor& Rickett Silviculture

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 Standard, end-point assessment plan and funding revised. 24/08/2022 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 03/08/2021 23/08/2022 Not set

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