Arboricultural Farm Manager

Forestry operations support over 650 000 of South Africa’s rural population through employment and provision of ecosystem services and livelihoods. Sustainably managed indigenous forests and plantations secure and support healthy functioning ecosystems, sustainable economies and growth and consequently livelihoods, both directly and indirectly. Arboricultural farming is the cultivation and management of trees, shrubs and woody plants within the forestry sector.

Arboricultural farm managers plan, direct and coordinate production in large scale forestry operations. They inspect forest plantations, ensuring compliance with government regulations and standards. They determine maturity dates of trees, define harvesting schedules and estimate potential crop damage from extreme weather events. They also have oversight over plantation sales and purchases and the selection, training and performance of forestry workers and contractors.

Arboricultural farm managers work on site in forestry plantations and spend some time in an office environment. They can work long hours, particularly during harvesting seasons. They may collaborate with forest scientists or engineers to increase production yields or to determine unknown tree diseases.


Arboricultural farm managers require a comprehensive understanding of the forestry life cycle and plantation practices. They also must be knowledgeable about forestry management regulations and compliance, coupled with:

  • A working knowledge of market trends of forestry and related products 
  • Meticulous planning and organisation ability 
  • Strong financial planning and business management competence
  • Extensive managerial experience


Direct and coordinate forestry activities 

Monitor forestry market activity and plan production to meet contract requirements and market demand

Analyse soil to determine type and quantities of fertilizer required

Establish and manage budgets, monitoring output and farming costs


B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Forestry at NMU, SU and Univen

M.Sc. in Forest Management and the Environment at UP

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Forestry at NMU

Diploma in Forestry at Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Training Institute


Timber plantations and sawmill organisations.

Private forestry and preservation companies.

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