Forestry involves much more than growing and harvesting plantation forests...

People of all ages and abilities will find great careers in forestry – planting and managing native and exotic forests, looking after the forest environment, managing people and resources, working with state-of-the-art technology, and operating multi-million dollar machines and equipment.

Some forestry jobs go all year, while others are seasonal. Some are inside, some are outside. See what job is right for you, drug and alcohol free, fit and reliable.

Forestry is of major importance to New Zealand's economy.


Within the Forestry Industry is Silviculture, which involves the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of growing and tending forest crops.

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Silviculture in Action:

Scope of Silviculture


The forestry industry starts planting in May through to September and we need a significant workforce with key personal attributes:

  • Willingness to learn

  • Reliability

  • Commitment

  • Determination to succeed

  • Positive attitude

  • Willing to maintain or improve physical fitness

  • Drug-free (will be drug tested as part of pre-entry into employment)

Check out the work that you can take part in establishing the forests for NZ

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The Government has set a goal to plant one billion trees by 2028.

The One Billion Trees Programme, led by Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) and funded by the Provincial Growth Fund will create employment and workforce development, protect the environment and support New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy.

This programme will deliver improved social, environmental, and economic outcomes for New Zealand.

There are a variety of tasks and skills that contribute to the Silviculture Industry with specific seasonal time parameters for each task.

Jobs Include:


Scrubcutting / land preparation:

  • Using brushcutter type machines or in some cases heavy machinery to clear away unwanted vegetation to enable the planter to plant the crop seedling.

  • Normally tasked for October to March.

  • Med-low skill set.


  • The planting of Pine / Manuka /Red Wood / Native seedlings to establish commercial forests. All planting needs to meet quality and spacing parameters as specified by the forest owner.

  • Usually done in winter from the start of May to the end of September.

  • Qualifications not necessary but it is an extremely physical job.

  • Tools and equipment, along with PPE normally provided by the employer.

  • Numbers of staff required per contractor would get up to 50+ in some instances. Normally work in crews of approximately 20 people.

  • With larger crews dedicated Quality Controllers (QC's) are required. In smaller crews this role may be filled by the supervisor. Dedicated people are normally employed to transport crop seedlings to the planters. 



  • Manual spot spraying of herbicide, using knapsack sprayers to remove competing pasture / weeds from the vicinity of the crop seedling. A targeted herbicide is used which has little impact on the seedling.

  • Is done after planting has been completed, up to November.

  • Low skilled but still physical carrying 15kg spraypacks.

  • Numbers of staff depend on site pre-treatment.

  • 15-20% of planted area is manually released. Areas that are being replanted are generally aerial released.



  • Removal of tree's lower limbs primarily to produce higher value clear wood.

  • Can be done any time but usually done over Spring-Summer- Autumn.

  • It must be emphasized that Radiata Pine pruning has nothing to do with pruning kiwifruit. Skills are not compatible. The work is considerably more physically demanding.

  • Qualifications are not necessary, but it requires a high degree of skill and physical ability. A qualification to NZ Certificate Level 3 is available in Forestry Pruning.

  • Sub groups are First lift, Second lift, Third lift with corresponding higher ladder heights.



  • Reducing the stocking rate in a forest to encourage good form without undue growth suppression. Increases tree diameter / volume.

  • Thinning may be carried out under a Production Thinning regime, where the culled trees are extracted and used to make posts etc.. or a Thin to Waste regime, where it is not financially viable to extract culled trees.

  • Forest reduction thinning usually done outside the high fire risk period being mid November to March but likely to be all year around.

  • Non-qualified workers are also accepted if they have (vast) experience that deems them competent. Trainees may also be accepted into a thinning crew.

  • A good thinner may treat up to 1.0 hectares per day whereas a good pruner may only treat up to 0.33 hectares.


Training is available as you work either through NZQA approved micro credentials or a New Zealand Certificate in Forest Operations.

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Download the following unit standard information 

Check out the upcoming article on forestry and support training:

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