When today’s farmers and ranchers need help with their farmland, they count on conservation scientists. To help resolve problems with soil conservation or range management, working in this field often means literally working in a field! Conservation scientists usually start by analyzing how land use patterns contribute to problems identified by farmers, such as overgrazed rangeland, soil erosion, or a shortage of water reservoirs for cattle. These scientists review the results of lab work on soil samples. They record, analyze and map data to formulate plans that will correct problems without endangering the environment, for example using better plowing and planting methods. They must consider laws, costs, and the time required to achieve improvement. They may put their plan into action and monitor progress, or they may follow up with others who implement their plan. Like most jobs in scientific research, these scientists need to possess a healthy degree of curiosity, detailed knowledge of their field, and the discipline required for a trial and error approach to problems. While most conservation scientists hold a bachelor's degree, often in a natural science, a doctorate is required to lead research projects or to teach. Conservation scientists enjoy the challenge of giving nature a little extra help.
What they do:
Provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources. May compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under the direction of foresters; or train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats.
On the job, you would:
Thin and space trees and control weeds and undergrowth, using manual tools and chemicals, or supervise workers performing these tasks.
Train and lead forest and conservation workers in seasonal activities, such as planting tree seedlings, putting out forest fires, and maintaining recreational facilities.
Provide information about, and enforce, regulations, such as those concerning environmental protection, resource utilization, fire safety, and accident prevention.
Safety and Government
public safety and security
law and government
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Map creation software
ESRI ArcGIS software
Analytical or scientific software
Assisi Software Forest
Forest Vegetation Simulator FVS
high school diploma/GED or associate's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.