Are you passionate about working outdoors and interested in the management of trees, vegetation & forest ecosystems? The Forest and Natural Areas Management (FNAM) program is a two-year diploma program with a focus on forestry, vegetation management, arboriculture for supporting sustainable community development in both rural and urban environments.
Program delivery mode: in person
- This program will be delivered in person for the coming semester.
- We have put measures in place for your safety and well-being, ensuring that all safety protocols are addressed. Please see the BCIT COVID-19 page for details on the procedures that have been implemented.
Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.
The program gives you a strong foundation in ecology, earth sciences, mapping, surveying & measurements. You will learn skills and training in silviculture, forest inventory, forest engineering, fire & forest health management, and urban forestry. Our programs unique focus natural areas in urban & interface environments provide you with skills in the management of trees, invasive species & soil resources. The breadth of technical and field-based skills you acquire also relevant to many other natural resource sectors.
Why is forest management important?
Management of forest resources in today’s world means managing forest ecosystems. Forestry practices must integrate field skills, scientific knowledge and technology in an ecological framework, to produce various goods and services. It involves assessing the health of forests with respect to insects and disease, planning revegetation strategies, and using technology to map and track forest inventories. But it is also about considering the interests of other resource users, while ensuring future generations can equally benefit from our forests. Forest ecosystems provide major economic, social & ecological benefits to communities, businesses & First Nations throughout British Columbia. Almost 60% of the land in British Columbia is forested – stewardship of these lands is no small feat. Are you up for the challenge?
What is natural areas management?
With increasing urbanization, forests and natural areas in and around our communities are growing in importance. People value natural areas for recreation, aesthetics and psychological well-being. But natural areas also provide important ecological services, like habitat for wildlife, promotion of biodiversity, storm-water flood mitigation & heat wave moderation. Whether you’re assessing urban trees, reducing wildfire risk around communities, or managing invasive plants, the role of a natural areas manager is diverse. It also requires an integration of skills, from community planning, to vegetation management & urban forestry.
The FNAM program is a CTAB National Accredited program and contains the curriculum for graduates to be eligible to apply for Registered Forest Technologist (RFT) status in British Columbia along with the potential pathways for other levels of certification and education.
What are some key skills FNAM students learn?
- Identify, describe, measure and interpret ecosystems and associated components including landforms, vegetation, soils, geomorphology, aquatic ecosystems, forest stand attributes and wildlife habitat
- Collect field data in both urban and rural environments and create technical reports, spreadsheets and digital maps using industry standard software (such as GIS & GPS) including the use of leading technology
- Apply vegetation management techniques for application in wildland and urban silviculture areas
- Analyze vegetation symptoms that relate to insects and diseases
- Design and implement sampling plans and techniques for resource inventories
- Assist in wildland and urban interface forest fire activities including suppression and hazard assessment
- Apply forest engineering principles to meet the objectives of operational plans and forest management objectives
- Communicate effectively in all aspects of natural resource management activities
- Apply principles of ethics and professionalism to day-to-day activities
Career opportunities for resource technologists are excellent and projected to remain strong. The program will prepare you for a wide variety of employment opportunities; whether you are interested in working outdoors, indoors or a combination of both.
Graduates work for the municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments, the environmental consulting sector, and various natural resource industry sectors. You will also have your choice of working full time or on a seasonal basis. Working as a natural resource field technologist, you can work anywhere in BC or beyond, and be paid to explore nature by hiking, driving 4x4s and ATVs, boating, or flying in planes and helicopters. Alternatively, you may work as a natural area technologist in a city if a more urban setting is your preference. This new emerging field of “Urban Forestry” includes:
- Invasive species management
- Urban interface management
In addition, graduates will be qualified to work in areas of the traditional forestry sector which include:
- Forest Measurements and Inventory
- Forest Protection and Forest Health
- Forest Engineering
Steve Finn, DiplT, BSF, MF, RPF
Julia Alards – Tomalin, DiplT, BTech, MEd, ISA Certified Arborist®
Alexia Constantinou, MSc, BSc
Wayne Horvath, DiplT, RFT, MEd
Jason Pon, DiplT, BSF, FIT
Jonathan Smyth, DiplT, RFT
Alex Tait, DiplT, BEng
- Bruce Blackwell, Blackwell and Associates ltd
- Lisa Brown, BC Timber Sales MFLNRORD
- Nadia Chan, City of Surrey
- David Clarke, Forest Practices Board
- Chris Gruenwald, Cascadia Environmental Services Ltd.
- Megan Hanacek, Private Forest Landowners Association
- Dale Jones, Tolko Industries
- Jonathan Lok, Strategic Natural Resource Consultants
- Andy Low, Frontline Operations
- Casey Macaulay, Association of BC Forest Professionals
- Kelly Osbourne, Min. FLNRO
Questions or comments?
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Programs and courses are subject to change without notice.