forest industry does a lot more than cut down trees. The industry
is committed to good forest management. That means knowing what
species, age and size of trees exist in any given area, so plans
can be made for responsible harvesting and sustainable development.
A timber cruiser gathers information on volume, species composition
and grade or value. The data not only helps foresters plan harvesting
and planting activities, it provides base data for the Ministry
of Forest Appraisal. The ministry uses this data to determine the
stumpage fee it will charge companies for harvesting activities.
As a timber cruiser, you will select and implement the appropriate
sampling method for the area to be analyzed. You will measure the
trees in the sample and map the area.
Here are some brief descriptions of the different timber cruiser
Level 1 - Compasser
This is an entry-level position. You would work under direct
supervision and assist the timber cruiser in data collection.
To be a compasser, you need to complete all competencies in Level
1 and have a minimum of three months experience at this level.
You need endorsement by an accredited timber cruiser or evaluator.
You will adjust declination and set bearings on a compass, measure
field distances, and determine tree height, diameter, age and
growth increment. You will also be able to identify common species
and tree pests.
Level 2 - Cruiser-in-training
This is an intermediate working level. You will work with limited
supervision and be responsible for recording data that will meet
the Ministry of Forests' criteria. For this position, you will
have completed all competencies in Levels 1 and 2. You will also
have a working knowledge of the Ministry of Forests' cruising
You calculate tree height and age, and you will use specialized
equipment to plot radius factor calculations to establish a variable
radius plot. You will be able to relate aerial photograph features
to a map, determine tree quality, spiral grain, sweeps, lean and
log qualities, and you'll identify and record damage from beetles,
fires and uprooting.
Level 3 - Accredited Timber Cruiser
This position is an operational working level. You will have
completed all competencies in Levels 1 through 3, and have a minimum
of six months experience at this level. You will be responsible
for recording data that will meet Ministry of Forests' criteria,
and will supervise and instruct subordinates.
You will be able to determine field location by compass triangulation
(using two or more identifiable points relating to both the base
map and aerial photograph). You will be able to perform pre- and
post-cruise plan mapping, have a basic knowledge of sampling theory,
decay waste and breakage factors, and be able to prepare a timber
cruise for compilation by plot-type designation and area determination.
Level 4 - Accredited Timber Evaluator
This is a senior working and supervisory level. You will have
completed all competencies in Levels 1 through 4, and have a minimum
of two years experience at Level 3. You will be able to organize
and conduct a timber cruise from beginning to end. You will be
responsible for training and auditing subordinates.
You will have competent knowledge of equipment, field measurements,
mapping, determining timber volume and value, conducting field
audits and training, in addition to competence with everything
in Levels 1 through 3. You will have a working knowledge of sampling
theory, decay waste and breakage factors, compilation procedures
and log grade algorithms.
Where Will You Work?
As a timber cruiser you will most likely be employed in the private
sector, although there are rewarding careers available with the
Ministry of Forests. Timber cruisers do most of their work in
the forest, under varying physical or geographic conditions. You
need to be in good physical condition for this work. You can expect
to work from eight to 10 hours per day, five days a week, in two-week
shifts. Most work sites require travel; this is generally provided
by the employer.
How Much Will You Earn?
Average annual salary: $50,000
How Does the Future Look?
The future in this industry looks to be stable in the upcoming
years. Not a large amount of growth is expected, but job openings
will remain steady.
How Can You Get Started?
In high school, be sure to take courses in mathematics, biology
and, if your school offers a forestry class... sign up!
What Will You Need?
To enjoy working as a timber cruiser you must enjoy the outdoorsÉ
in all kinds of weather! You can expect to spend time away from
home and you must be comfortable flying in small aircraft. Teamwork
is very important in this field, but keep in mind that there will
be times of solitude. You should enjoy problem solving and have
a good grasp on your communication skills.
Your best course of action after successfully completing high
school would be to enroll in a Forest Resources program (available,
for example, at BCIT or Selkirk College). This two year program
will give you the necessary education to apply for entry level
jobs as a compasser. After your post secondary training, it is
a matter of getting that first job, gaining experience and working
your way up through the different timber cruiser levels. Another
option is direct entry to the workforce after high school graduation.
If you take this approach you will learn the required skills on
Post Secondary Possibilities
College of New Caledonia
||Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
||Northwest Community College
||Northwest Community College
||Integrated Resources Management
- Programs listed are those accredited by the Applied Science
Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC); check
www.asttbc.org for updates on accredited programs.
- Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other
sources of information applicable to education options for this
- Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section
are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other
Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline.
These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary
depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities
and location of employment.
- The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and
provides links to career information that will be of interest
to students pursuing a career in technology.