Professionals in Natural Resource Management
The Society of American Foresters (SAF) firmly believes that those who manage the nation’s forests, both public and privately owned, must be professionally qualified through both education and experience to fulfill their responsibilities. These qualifications include knowledge and skills utilized in the broad field of forestry, with the management and leadership skills necessary to be successful at all levels. These qualifications must be kept current and honed through continuing education and cross-training efforts to sustain a high-quality workforce. Most importantly, hiring and promotion practices must give priority to these key qualifications at all levels in these organizations.
Natural resource professionals have served capably at all levels, maintaining continuity and professionalism in managing the nation’s forests, while implementing resource management policies established by their organization’s leadership. It is critical that key leadership positions continue to be filled by those natural resource professionals with the appropriate leadership and management skills.
SAF recognizes that many public forest management functions and services are performed by independent contractors, consultants, or other vendors as a result of constrained budgets and other pressures. Although it is recognized that there may be cost savings and other efficiencies gained through contract services, decisions on when, where, and to what extent such contract services are deployed should remain a responsibility of, and be performed under the direction of, career natural resource professionals who are responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s public forestlands, without undue encumbrances of additional bureaucratic processes. Where contract services include professional or technical forest management functions, SAF believes that it is essential that they be provided by natural resource professionals who adhere to the high standards of professional ethics and practice expected of all natural resource managers and scientists.