Urban Forestry Careers

Trees growing in Britain’s cities, along streets and in peoples gardens are managed by urban foresters. Urban foresters are often referred to as arborists or arboriculturalists. The practice of arboriculture means “the cultivation of trees and shrubs”. The trees that are planted, grown and cared for in urban settings are often very different from those growing in Britain’s forests and woodlands. Therefore urban foresters requires specific knowledge and skill sets to work in the urban environment.

Ground Worker

The role of a ground worker within an arb team is an important one despite this role typically being filled by the most recently qualified. For many college graduates the first job they will get after completing any arboriculture college course is as a ground worker. The main role of a ground worker is to support the work being carried out by the team climber. Skills include setting out the work area, sending the saw and other equipment up to the climber, operating lowering equipment, breaking down lowered sections, handling, stacking or chipping cut wood as well as maintenance of equipment.

£9,000 – £13,000 per year (often paid by the hour or as a day rate)

Arborist – Tree Climber

The role of a climber within an arb team is a physically demanding and requires a very safe approach to work. Tree climbers are responsible for the reduction of limbs within a tree crowns and in some cases complete trees. Within urban settings this work requires specific skills and training and should only be carried out by qualified and competent climbers. As well as climbing and felling skills climbers should be able to carry out the correct management methods when required including; crown reduction, crown thinning, crown lifting, topping, pollarding, pleaching etc. Climbers should also be able to carry out tree inspections and identify signs of rot and disease or other health and safety related issues.

£12,000 – £25,000 per annum dependant on qualification, experience and location

Arborists – Team Leader

The team leader’s main responsibilities are typically, the daily supervision of staff, monitoring and motivating the team, preparing quotes, overseeing the implementation of all aspects of H&S, agreeing work to be undertaken, assisting the team in achieving set deadlines and checking all safety regulations are followed at all times. A flexible, reliable and safe approach to work is required as are the correct qualifications and a wealth of knowledge within arboricultural practices.

£19,000 – £27,000 per annum dependant on qualifications and location

Assistant Tree Officer / Tree Officer / Senior Tree Officer  

Tree Wardens plant, care for, assess, and remove trees in an urban setting. They often deal with tree pest and diseases and tree safety, so the ability to complete tree surveys accurately is required. Typically employed by local authorities or not-for-profit organisations. Tree officer staff, may be based in the planning, grounds maintenance or environmental services section within local authorities. A strong knowledge of planning and environmental regulations specifically Tree Preservation Orders is essential as are tree identification skills.

Assistant Tree Officer £17,000 – £25,000 per annum (local gov pension scheme)

Tree Officer £25,000 – £31,000 per annum (local gov pension scheme)

Senior Tree Officer £31,000 – £40,000 (local gov pension scheme)

Community Foresters

Community foresters are often employed by local authorities or charities. They work with communities to establish tree planting schemes, manage urban woodlands and promote the benefits of trees within urban and rural settings. They assist with and provide technical advice on tree and woodland planning, planting, establishment and management. Community foresters organise events, activities and projects to raise awareness of environmental conservation and increase community involvement. Stong project management, communication and partnership building skills and experience are requierd. Community foresters typically perform less of the practical management of sites but instead manage volunteer and community groups to complete site management work.

£15,000 – £25,000 per annum dependant on qualifications and location