Forestry Scientist

Forestry Scientist

Forestry scientists research the biology and chemistry of forests, trees and wood fibres to find ways to improve the productivity and sustainability of the forestry industry. They may also look at improved processing of harvested logs or develop innovative wood-based products.

There are a number of specialist roles, including entomologists who study insects that may damage trees, and molecular biologists involved in breeding new types of trees or trees with enhanced characteristics.

As in most research areas, to be a forestry scientist you will generally need to complete a PhD and several postdoctoral positions in order to get a permanent position. Competition for these roles can be fierce.

Most forestry scientists in New Zealand are employed by:

  • Scion, the Crown Research Institute (CRI) specialising in forestry research
  • Other CRIs such as Landcare Research
  • Universities
  • Government departments, such as the Ministry for Primary Industries

Forestry scientists typically earn:

  • $40-65,000 in a technician-level role
  • $60-80,000 with a PhD

Key tertiary qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science or Applied Science in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Forest Science, Molecular Biology, Plant Science or Physiology is required for technician-level roles
  • A Master of Science or PhD degree is required for research roles
  • Bachelor of Engineering in Forest or Natural Resources Engineering

Recommended school subjects:

  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Agricultural or Horticultural Science
  • English

Other job roles you may be interested in:

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Forestry Scientist: People who work in this role

  • Andrew Pugh

    Senior Entomology Technician, Andrew Pugh at work

    Jessica Brown

    Planning & Valuation Analyst , Jessica Brown at work

    Nicolas Meurisse

    Entomologist, Nicolas Meurisse at work

    Meeta Patel

    Researcher, Meeta Patel at work
  • Jamie Bridson

    Scientist, Jamie Bridson at work

    Erina Hingston

    Research Assistant, Erina Hingston at work

    Jade Elstone

    Sales Coordinator, Jade Elstone at work

Forestry Scientist: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Ministry for Primary Industries
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    Rayonier Matariki Forests
    Rayonier Matariki Forests
  • Scion

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation