Lumberjacks are the unsung heroes that harvest thousands of acres of forest each year to ensure that the rest of us have access to high-quality wood for innumerable consumer and industrial products.
Similar Job Titles
- Forestry Worker
- Choke Setter
- Rigging Slinger
- Rigging Chaser
- Log Sorter
- Log Marker
- Log Mover
- Log Chipper
- Logging Equipment Operator
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Lumberjacks do?
A Lumberjack would typically need to:
- Fell, cut and transport trees for processing
- Conduct an initial forest survey to assess tree volume and density; undertake preliminary groundwork to clear brush and undergrowth
- Identify tree species to determine whether they are commercially viable or endangered i.e. whether they can be harvested or need to be protected
- Carry out safety inspections before measuring and marking the trees to be cut down for timber production
- Harvest trees with hand-held power chain saws or mobile felling machines
- Strip branches from felled trees; cut the trees into pre-determined lengths to prepare the logs for transportation or further processing
- Separate trees according to species and type of wood
- Drive and manoeuvre tractors and feller-buncher tree harvesters to shear trees and cut logs into desired lengths
- Grade logs according to characteristics such as knot size, straight grain and colour of the wood
- Fasten chains or cables around logs to be dragged by tractors to the landing or deck area
- Load the logs onto trucks, railroad cars or river rafts, using cranes and other heavy equipment
- Calculate total board feet and cordage with the help of conversion tables
- Use tractors to build or repair the roads used for logging operations
- Inspect all tools and equipment; conduct basic maintenance to ensure it helps perform the job safely and efficiently
- Plant new tree seedlings or saplings; dig or install more efficient drainage systems
- Prune and cut back shrubs and another ground cover to encourage the healthy growth of trees
- Use special tools to thin out densely wooded areas to improve access for operations and recreation
- Employ insecticides to protect young trees against pests and diseases; perform brushing and pruning to promote healthy growth in older trees
- Remove debris and litter; clear footpaths and nature trails and maintain adjoining car parks and public locations; prevent forest fires
- Put up fences, gates, signs, and public information notices
Standard Work Environment
Lumberjacks work constantly outside, frequently in inclement weather and remote locales. Lifting, climbing, and walking through highly forested areas are all part of a usual workday. Enclosed equipment reduces pain caused by adverse weather and makes logging safer in general.
If you reside in a sparsely populated location, you may have to travel considerable miles between your home and a logging site. Some Lumberjacks have the option of living in a logging camp bunkhouse for the duration of the logging season.
Lumberjacks must work long hours during peak times because employment options are confined to the warmer months (early spring and autumn harvests). There may be gaps in employment, resulting in an erratic work schedule.
Seeking a new job may appear difficult. Lumberjacks can improve their job hunt by soliciting referrals from their network, contacting firms directly, using job search platforms, attending job fairs, leveraging social media, and contacting staffing agencies. Part-time work with three-month short-term contracts is rather prevalent. Despite the competitive nature of the field, there remains a desire for new entrants.
Lumberjacks are generally employed by:
- Government & Private Organisations In The Tree & Timber Industry
- Private Estates
- Local Authorities
- Conservation Organisations & Charities
- Forest Management Companies
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional organizations and associations, such as The International Institute for Environment and Economic Development and The Lumberjack World Championships Foundation, are essential for Lumberjacks who want to further their professional development or connect with other professionals in their industry or occupation. Participation in one or more of these organizations adds value to your resume while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- Physically demanding work that requires considerable lifting, climbing, and other strenuous activities
- Constant hazards such as falling branches, vines, and rough terrains; dangers associated with chainsaws and other power equipment
- The need to commute long distances to work in primitive conditions if living in a sparsely populated area
- Extreme weather work conditions such as rain, snow, heat, and storms
- Relatively low pay scales and work instability
A high school graduation is usually sufficient to find work as a Lumberjack, though associate degrees or certificates in forest technology from vocational or technical institutions and community colleges may help. A diploma or certificate in land and environment, forestry and arboriculture, horticulture, or land-based technology is also available.
In some cases, an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) in land-based operations, environmental conservation, forestry, or tree work, or a Certificate of Competence in chainsaw operations and environmental conservation, will be useful.
In high school, emphasize physical education and carpentry/electrical shop.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
A Lumberjack’s proficiency in a skill set is demonstrated through work experience, training, and passing a test.
Certification from an impartial and reputable organization in healthcare and fire safety management, rigging equipment inspection, and mobile crane operation can help you stand out in a competitive employment market, boost your prospects of progression, and allow you to become an independent consultant.
By including a Code of Ethics, successful certification programs defend the public welfare.
Projected Career Map
Lumberjacks make their way up the ranks to become Works Supervisors, Forest Managers, or Foremen based on their performance, experience, and professional qualifications. It is also feasible to serve as a Forest Ranger, assisting forest wardens or conservation officers in the care of wildlife.
The best career possibilities are for candidates with an associate degree or certificate in forestry, appropriate certifications, and extensive related work experience.