The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Professional Foresters Registration website contains a wealth of information including a list of consulting RPFs.
What is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) ?
A Registered Professional Forester (RPF) is a person licensed by the State of California to perform professional services that require the application of forestry principles and techniques to the management of forested landscapes.
RPFs have an understanding of forest growth, development, and regeneration; soils, geology, and hydrology; wildlife and fisheries biology and other forest resources. RPFs are also trained in fire management and, if involved in timber harvesting operations, have expertise in both forest road design and application of the various methods used to harvest timber.
Registered Professional Foresters are typically involved in:
Preparing forest and land management plans.
Monitoring and assessing forest health, and developing management strategies for protecting the forest from insects, disease, and wildfire.
- Preparing and maintaining inventories of forest resources.
- Measuring standing timber volume and appraising its market value.
- Preparing Timber Harvesting Plans (THP). In California, under current law, if trees are to be harvested for commercial purposes, a RPF must prepare a THP for review and approval by state agencies. Section 757 of the Public Resources Code provides for a landowner exemption, which allows a landowner who is a natural person to perform forestry activities on their own property without being licensed. Landowners should decide for themselves whether or not this exemption applies to them in a given situation. However, except for Conversion THPs, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will not accept a Timber Harvesting Plan or a Conversion Exemption for filing unless it has been prepared by a Registered Professional Forester.
- Marketing forest products.
- Preparing plans to rehabilitate forests damaged by wildfire or other destructive natural forces.
- Managing wildlife habitat.
- Analyzing wildfire hazard.
- Participating on teams with other natural resource professionals in the development and preparation of environmental assessments, environmental impact reports and environmental impact statements.
- Providing expert testimony during litigation.
- Managing community watersheds for water and timber production.
- Providing information to forest landowners to increase their knowledge of forest ecology and management.
In California, a person acting in the capacity of a professional forester or identifying him or herself as a professional forester is required to be licensed by the state as a Registered Professional Forester. To become a RPF, the following minimum qualifications must be met:
- Be an individual of good moral character who also possesses a good reputation for honesty and integrity. No firm, company, partnership, or corporation can be issued a professional foresters license.
- Have seven years of experience in forestry work. A person may substitute a Bachelor of Science in Forestry for four years of work experience.
- Pass a comprehensive examination that is administered by the Professional Foresters Examining Committee with a score of 75% or greater.
This is just a brief overview of what a Registered Professional Forester is and the role that RPFs play in the management of forested landscapes in California. If you have more specific questions, please email us and a RPF will respond.