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Forest engineering vs Forest science...

Forest engineering vs Forest science...

Forest engineering vs Forest science...

I'm an Ag Engineer in Australia, looking to get into the forest industry. Forest engineering is not a recognised disciple in this country; the usual forestry qualification is an Applied Science degree. I'd appreciate any comments from those who know on how an 'engineering approach' would be advantageous to forest management.      Cheers.

RE: Forest engineering vs Forest science...

I am a PE Forest Eng & Civil Eng in Washington State.  Washington & Oregon recognize forest engineers, formerly known as logging engineers.  The PE exams are administered by the State Board.  FE's aren't officially recognized nationally.  Moreover, WA is phasing out the exam due to low interest by the industry, and the Univ of WA has dropped their FE curriculum.  Oregon State University has a good FE program, and they offer a way to combine a civil eng degree with it.

To answer your question, at least regarding the US Northwest, an engineering approach to forest management includes:
Field layout of forest road systems for the primary purpose of timber harvest.  You need to know the "reach" for the different logging systems (cable v.s. ground skidding).
Designing stream crossing structures such as culverts and bridges.  Fish passable culverts is a hot topic.
This profession enables one to combine very diverse disciplines.

Some FE's also have the duty of managing the contract logging operation.
Solutions are generally kept simple.  The FE does his/her own surveying, and then goes about a design.  One can dig into many fields, as his/her interest dictates.  For example, below is a list of some tasks I do:
Bridge inspections: condition rating & repair recommendations;
Roadway design, construction staking & inspection;
Bridge site surveying, bridge selection, and construction staking;
Hydrologic calculations & hydrualic calculations for bridge siting & culvert design;
Quarry developement layout for road surfacing aggregate production.
Road maintenance assessment needs/recommendations/environmental compliance.

These duties have led me to learn more mainstream engineering subjects such as foundation engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, hydraulics, stream morphology, slope stability.  I don't calim to be an expert at any of this, but it keeps my career interesting.

RE: Forest engineering vs Forest science...

Thanks Beanseed.  I had some discussions recently with a local plantation company (a subsiduary of Hancocks). A while ago they advertised Australia-wide for Forest Engineers and didn't get a call! They eventually found a couple of New Zealanders from Otago University, but had 'personality issues' and ended up just letting the dozer drivers do the engineering. Their big problem is siltation control.
   It baffles me that an industry where the problems are so site-specific seems so intent on de-engineering. In Australia the Regulations limit design scope a lot more so than in other places, but there are still so many things that could be done a lot better than they are.
   OSU's Masters in Forest Operations looks very interesting, but I'd probably have a few dramas with prerequisites.

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