Key information

  1. Reference: ST1321
  2. Date updated: 04/11/2022
  3. Level: 3
  4. Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
  5. Regulated occupation: No

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Occupation summary

This occupation is found in forestry and land management. This includes 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 or private estates may employ their own forest craftsperson(s) and or use contractors who employ forest craftspersons.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to carry out the practical operations required to create, maintain and harvest forests and woodlands. Most employers will specialise in either establishment and maintenance, or harvesting. Employees in both sub-sectors would be expected to be aware of the full range of forestry operations, and to understand the commercial, environmental and social impacts of forestry. Establishment and maintenance operatives will carry out the range of duties required to prepare the ground, plant trees and undertake ongoing maintenance, including weeding, beating up and pruning. Harvesting operatives will carry out the range of duties required to fell, process and extract trees and timber. This occupation works predominantly in either established forests, woodlands or on open land. They need to be able and willing to do practical work outdoors in all weathers. Forestry and woodland sites are often in remote locations and the ability to travel independently to access sites is advantageous.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with colleagues including land owners, team leaders or work supervisors, and forest craftspersons. They may need to communicate with members of the public and other land management operatives in the course of their work.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for initiating and completing their own work to specification, with minimal supervision, ensuring they meet set deadlines. They are responsible for meeting quality requirements and working in accordance with legislation, environmental, health, safety and welfare considerations. They are accountable for the health and safety of themselves and others. They are expected to exercise responsibility, autonomy and judgement within limited parameters. They perform tasks that are complex and non-routine and may be in a variety of contexts. Forest operatives are responsible for checking their tools, equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) are maintained and safe to use. They report to team leaders and or works supervisors.

Core occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Implement health and safety legislation, industry guidance and organisational policies, (for example erecting warning signs at entry points to a worksite.)

K1 K7 K8 K11 K12 K14 K15 K16 K22 K23

S1 S5 S7 S8 S10 S11 S14 S15 S18 S19 S21 S22

B3 B5 B6

Duty 2 Implement biosecurity legislation, industry guidance and organisational policies, (for example disinfecting footwear, tools and equipment before entering, leaving and travelling between work sites.)

K2 K3 K7 K14 K15 K20 K22 K23

S2 S5 S6 S10 S13 S15 S18 S19 S21 S23

B3 B6

Duty 3 Implement pollution control in line with legislation, industry guidance and organisational policies, (for example positioning a spill-kit appropriately prior to refuelling a chainsaw.)

K2 K11 K12

S2 S5 S7 S8 S13 S18 S21

Duty 4 Plant trees

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K8 K9 K10 K12 K14 K15 K16 K19

S1 S2 S3 S6 S8 S11 S12 S13 S14 S16

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6

Duty 5 Clear vegetation (for example cleaning, brashing)

K1 K2 K4 K7 K8 K12 K15 K16

S1 S2 S3 S5 S8 S11 S12 S13 S14

B5 B6

Duty 6 Measure and select trees for removal.

K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K9 K15

S2 S3 S4 S5 S11 S12 S13 S15

Duty 7 Fell small trees.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K7 K9 K12 K14 K15 K16

S1 S2 S3 S5 S8 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14

B1 B4 B5 B6

Duty 8 Maintain forest infrastructure, (for example repair a damaged deer fence.)

K1 K2 K4 K7 K11 K12 K15 K16

S1 S2 S3 S5 S7 S8 S11 S12 S13 S14

B2 B4 B5 B6

Duty 9 Operate and maintain forestry tools, equipment and machinery.

K1 K2 K4 K12 K13 K14 K16 K22

S1 S3 S8 S9 S10 S19


Duty 10 Monitor and control the impact of pests, diseases and disorders.

K2 K15

S2 S11 S13 S15

Duty 11 Maintain records including digital records and reports.



Duty 12 Communicate with supervisor, colleagues, public and others

K14 K15 K17 K19 K21

S10 S11 S15 S16 S17

B2 B3 B6

Duty 13 Use geographical tools including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), maps and plans.


S10 S12 S15


Option duties



K1: Health and safety legislation, codes of practice (including Forest Industry Safety Accord guidance) and policies, including risk assessment. Back to Duty

K2: Biosecurity and environmental legislation, codes of practice and policies including pollution control. Back to Duty

K3: Principles of silvicultural practice in the UK including those most commonly used, their application, and the UK Forestry Standard. Back to Duty

K4: Methods to identify trees and woodland plants including botanical keys taking account of seasonality. Back to Duty

K5: Plant and tree biology, physiology, lifecycles, growing conditions, landscape and timber properties. Back to Duty

K6: Techniques for measuring standing trees. Back to Duty

K7: Techniques for felling small trees and removing unwanted vegetation. Back to Duty

K8: Techniques for planting, supporting and protecting trees and their suitability to different situations including site conditions. Back to Duty

K9: Implications of tree establishment activities on the end product and impact on decision-making process. Back to Duty

K10: Timber supply chain (for example timber markets and processing) and the actors within it including roles and responsibilities. Back to Duty

K11: Maintenance requirements for forest infrastructure, for example boundaries and rides. Back to Duty

K12: Maintenance, operational requirements and legislation for tools, equipment, machinery, vehicles and attachments.  Back to Duty

K13: Techniques for identification and control of tree pests, diseases and disorders, including impacts of pests and diseases on timber and the wider environment, and the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Back to Duty

K14: The importance of maintaining records including digital records and reports. Back to Duty

K15: Techniques for communicating with technical and non-technical audiences and the importance of effective communication in the workplace with colleagues, customers and the public. Back to Duty

K16: Implications of changes in conditions, situations and working environments. Back to Duty

K17: The importance of recording a portfolio of experience and learning to aid career progression. Back to Duty

K18: The environmental, social and economic value of sustainable forest management. Back to Duty

K19: Methods for storing, transporting and handling trees and importance for tree health and establishment. Back to Duty

K20: (Establishment & maintenance) Techniques for protecting and maintaining plants after planting including purpose, timings and suitability to site conditions. Back to Duty

K21: (Establishment & maintenance) Methods of managing and controlling unwanted vegetation throughout the life cycle of the tree(s). Back to Duty

K22: (Establishment & maintenance) Methods for controlling vegetation or pests by chemical means (for example pesticides or organic equivalents). Back to Duty

K23: (Harvesting) Harvesting and extraction systems including tree felling and the factors affecting the cost of bringing timber to market. Back to Duty

K24: (Harvesting) Techniques for calculating timber in standing and felled trees. Back to Duty


S1: Plan, implement, monitor and review health, safety and welfare of self and others, including creating risk assessments, legislative requirements and organisational policies. Back to Duty

S2: Plan, implement, check and report environmental mitigation measures, including legal compliance, organisational policies and risk assessment. Back to Duty

S3: Identify common forestry trees and woodland plants using scientific names. Back to Duty

S4: Measure trees for assessment of timber volumes. Back to Duty

S5: Identify and control unwanted vegetation including felling small trees using hand and motor manual tools. Back to Duty

S6: Plant trees including providing support and protection. Back to Duty

S7: Monitor and maintain forest and woodland infrastructure for example boundaries and rides. Back to Duty

S8: Operate and maintain tools, equipment and machinery safely in line with legislation and manufacturers guidance, for example winches, chainsaws or tractors. Back to Duty

S9: Monitor and control the impact of pests, diseases and disorders. Back to Duty

S10: Maintain records including digital records and reports. Back to Duty

S11: Communicate to technical and non-technical audiences including the use of verbal and written techniques. Back to Duty

S12: Interpret maps, plans and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Back to Duty

S13: Store and dispose of waste in accordance with regulations, for example chemicals, organic and inorganic waste, pollution and biosecurity controls. Back to Duty

S14: Load, unload and transport materials and equipment relative to the business. Back to Duty

S15: Process information and communicate using digital technology for example emails, word processing software, video meeting software or applications for recording and sharing information. Back to Duty

S16: Store and handle trees to minimise negative impacts and maximise establishment potential. Back to Duty

S17: (Establishment & maintenance) Protect and maintain plants after planting including weeding, cleaning, re-spacing, beating up and application of products to prevent unwanted vegetation (for example mulch mat). Back to Duty

S18: (Establishment & maintenance) Improve quality of tree crop, including brashing and formative pruning. Back to Duty

S19: (Establishment & maintenance) Control vegetation or pests by chemical means (biocides or organic equivalents). Back to Duty

S20: (Harvesting) Select trees for harvesting. Back to Duty

S21: (Harvesting) Fell large trees motor-manually including use of assisted fell techniques. Back to Duty

S22: (Harvesting) Use hand winches in forestry. Back to Duty

S23: (Harvesting) Prepare timber for extraction including snedding, measuring, cross cutting and sorting timber to product specification. Back to Duty

S24: (Harvesting) Calculate timber volumes using mensuration techniques. Back to Duty


B1: Takes ownership of work including attention to detail, spatial awareness and stamina. Back to Duty

B2: Team-focused and works effectively with colleagues and others. Back to Duty

B3: Committed to keeping up to date with industry best practice and seeks to continuously improve and develop. Back to Duty

B4: Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions. Back to Duty

B5: Puts safety first for themselves and others. Back to Duty

B6: Respectful of others and tailors communication to audience. Back to Duty

T Level in agriculture, Land Management and Production

Qualification type: T Level

Qualification level: 3

Awarding organisation: City & Guilds

Approval date: 01/06/2023

Available from: 01/09/2023

Occupational specialism: Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance

Product page

Aligned occupational standards

ST0223 Arborist

ST1321 Forest craftsperson

Options: Forest establishment and maintenance craftsperson , Forest harvesting craftsperson

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