YOUR CAREER AS AN
Environmental science is a broad research area and encompasses all aspects of natural and productive landscapes. Forests are an assemblage of many biotic and abiotic components, of which the soil and associated biogeochemical processes form a pivotal role. Forestry operations can impact upon these, and environmental research is aimed at minimising those impacts for the long-term sustainability of our forests. Areas of research include nutrient cycling, leaching and runoff, water quality, carbon sequestration and dynamics, soil stabilisation, plant/microbiome interactions and pest plants. An important focus of research is on understanding how our forests can be made more resilient in the face of climate change.
$55,000 – $125,000
Degree in environmental or soil science + specialised postgrad
Generally involves fieldwork
Absence from home
Varies with job
Many universities offer environmental science and soil science degrees, and from this you will be exposed to various potential areas of specialisation. Researchers have often also undertaken a post graduate degree (masters or doctorate) in a specialist area.
Skills required include:
- enjoying working in the outdoors
- statistical and analytical skills
- excellent writing and presentation skills.
Depending on the area of research, scientists can be desk-based, work in the laboratory, and/or spend time out in the forest or in other research environments such as forest nurseries.
See the Careers NZ website for more information about science careers in forestry.
- Plant biologist/ecologist
Researchers can move into more senior research positions and management roles, and consultancy. There is also potential for an academic career e.g. at a university. There is often the opportunity to work overseas for varying periods of time.