Forestry Operations Manager

The forestry sector plays a key role in the South African economy contributing just over 10% from plantations and 5% from related value chain industries. It employs approximately 165 000 people, from growing timber to processing primary and by-products and all related services. Managing forestry operations involves the design and control of wood production processes and by-products.

Forestry operations managers plan, organise, direct and control the production activities of a forestry operation to maximise yield and profit. They oversee planning, planting and harvesting schedules of plantations and reforestation procedures once crops are cleared from the land. They also have oversight of key requirements to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of land and associated resources.

Forestry operations managers are most often stationed in rural forestry settings where they work with diverse groups of forestry personnel. They mainly work in an office environment and will often undertake site inspections across plantations.


Forestry operations managers must have a comprehensive and sound understanding of the operations of a plantation and associated production processes and a working knowledge of legislation and policy regarding land and resource use, coupled with: 

  • Extensive business management and leadership experience 
  • Excellent planning and organisation competence 
  • Strong project management skills  
  • Good interpersonal skills


Direct and coordinate activities such as planting, irrigation, chemical application, harvesting and grading

Inspect plantations and fields to determine maturity dates of crops or estimate crop damage due to pests or weather

Monitor agricultural and forestry market activity and plan production

Establish and manage budgets, monitor production output and 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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