What Is The Difference Between A Forester And An Arborist?

What Is The Difference Between A Forester And An Arborist?

Foresters and arborists are both professionals who work with trees, but they have distinct roles, areas of expertise, and focuses in the field of forestry and tree care.

Here are the key differences between a forester and an arborist…


  1. Scope of Work – Foresters primarily focus on the management of forests and woodland areas on a larger scale. They are concerned with the overall health and sustainability of forest ecosystems, which may involve a variety of tree species and other vegetation types.
  2. Education and Training – Foresters typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in forestry or a related field. Their education includes topics such as forest ecology, forest management, wildlife habitat, and timber production.
  3. Responsibilities – Foresters are responsible for activities like forest inventory and assessment, timber harvesting and logging operations, wildfire prevention and management, wildlife habitat management, and the development of forest management plans.
  4. Certifications – Some foresters may hold certifications related to their specific areas of expertise, such as Certified Forester (CF) credentials.
  5. Employment – Foresters may work for government agencies, forestry companies, consulting firms, and environmental organizations.
  6. Primary Goal – The primary goal of a forester is to manage forests for a variety of purposes, including timber production, conservation, recreation, and ecological health.


  1. Scope of Work – Arborists specialize in the care and maintenance of individual trees, often in urban or residential settings. They focus on the health and well-being of individual trees and shrubs.
  2. Education and Training – Arborists typically have training in arboriculture, which may include coursework in tree biology, pruning techniques, tree care equipment operation, and safety practices. Certification through organizations like the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is common.
  3. Responsibilities – Arborists are responsible for activities like tree pruning, tree removal, tree planting, tree risk assessment, insect and disease management, and general tree health care.
  4. Certifications – Many arborists obtain certification as Certified Arborists through the ISA, which requires passing an exam and meeting specific experience and education requirements.
  5. Employment – Arborists may work for tree care companies, municipal tree departments, landscaping companies, or as independent consultants. They often serve residential and commercial clients.
  6. Primary Goal – The primary goal of an arborist is to ensure the health and safety of individual trees, promote proper tree care practices, and address tree-related issues in urban and suburban environments.

Foresters and arborists both work with trees but have different areas of expertise and focus. Foresters are concerned with the management and sustainability of forested areas on a broader scale, while arborists specialize in the care of individual trees, particularly in urban and suburban settings. Both professions play important roles in the conservation and health of trees and forests.