What is the job of forest ranger?

Contrary to the image of Épinal that we often have, the forest ranger is not only a nature lover who patrols on horseback in the forest. Today, this business has many components both in terms of technical management of the land on which it operates and in terms of prevention with the public and preservation of biodiversity. Discover everything you need to know about this profession in the great outdoors.

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What are the duties of a forest ranger?

A ranger is either a territorial civil servant or employed by a private logging company. Its business has three main components:

  • Prevention: he monitors the state of the forest for which he is responsible and maintains it, studies the need for felling and implements actions to safeguard biodiversity. He also has the right to oversee the legislative compliance of all tasks carried out in the forest.
  • Raising awareness: the forest ranger plays a role with the general public in terms of respect for the environment and knowledge of biodiversity. It helps to make the forest and its treasures better known.
  • Repression: if he is a civil servant, as a sworn agent, he is authorized to write minutes. He acts as the police of nature. As such, it has an important mission of monitoring and preventing pollution and fire risks.

The forest ranger also has in-depth knowledge of the state of the fauna and flora, which is invaluable for drafting intervention reports for the attention of local authorities.

What qualifications do you need to become a forest ranger?

The profession of forest ranger requires good physical resistance. You have to be able to withstand long walks and spend time outdoors. This agent is also required to handle heavy tools such as a brush cutter or a chainsaw. Appreciating and knowing nature well is an essential prerequisite for exercising this profession. It is better to have a good knowledge of life and earth sciences, and also of environmental regulations, hunting and fishing or even forest law. A forest ranger is also required to work long days and work in the evenings and on public holidays. A certain flexible schedule is therefore a plus.

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What training to become a forest ranger?

The professions of forest guard in the public service are attainable by a competition organized by the National Forestry Office (ONF) for all candidates aged 16 to 25 years. Several diplomas prepare for this job, such as the agricultural professional aptitude certificate (BEPA) “spatial planning specializing in forestry work” or the CAPA “forestry work” and the vocational baccalaureate “spatial planning, management and driving logging sites”. There are also diplomas from major agronomic engineering schools which lead to practice in this field, but rather in biodiversity consulting professions or in the local public service.

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What are the career prospects for the ranger?

At the start of his career, a forest ranger can earn €1,430 gross monthly. In the civil service, this salary follows a fixed rate schedule. But the perspectives of evolution are multiple. By passing additional certificates, a forest ranger can become a senior forest technician by passing a competition or even head of a forest district at the ONF.

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