Forest ecology is the study of the ecosystems, as well as the fauna and flora of the forests. The ecosystem of a forest includes the microorganisms, as well as all the plants and animals. The scope is to preserve the forests. In California the redwood trees are many hundreds of years old are are gigantic. Researchers document and record the life forms that live in the forest, and record the species that live together in harmony in the trees and on the ground.
As a forest ecology worker you would be concerned with taking inventory of the forests. You might work as a game warden and count the number of species of wildlife. You might be concerned with vegetation and soil structure. You might also be concerned with water quality. You also might be concerned with environmental variables such as wind speed, and solar radiation.
As a forest ecology worker you may also be concerned with biomass, because forests produce large amounts of biomass. Under the right conditions forest fires can erupt. As biomass accumulates in the forest from falling leaves and dying vegetation. Some of the vegetation becomes oily and very flammable as the plants biodegrade, wildfires can result.
As an ecology worker you would be concerned with how forest fires start. A vast majority for forest fires are started by people, though a small percentage may be caused by lightening. Often people who live around forests burn off refuse and debris, and then the wind shifts and the fires get out of control and spread to become wildfires. Campers are urged to put out campfires with water and then cover with sand to prevent forest fires. As a forest ecology worker you might be responsible for documenting the probable cause, frequency and size of forest fires.
The science of forest ecology teaches us, that through photosynthesis, the trees of the forests remove a vast amount of carbon from the air. If there is a forest fire, and the biomass that lies on the forest floor burns, carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere which increases the effects of global warming. The more we can understand about the effects of forest fires on the environment, we can learn to become more cautious in how we interact with the forest environment.
Through the efforts of forest ecology studies laws have been formed to protect the forest environment. As a forestry worker your job may to be to observe the interaction of hunters and campers in the forests. You may have to see that the local laws are enforced. So many people don’t think to extinguish their cigarettes and just the spark off a lit cigarette could be enough to start forest fires.
If you are interested in a career as a forest ecology worker, there are a vast array of jobs listed on job boards on the Internet. One of the websites associated with careers in forest ecology is the Ecological Society of America. For more information about careers in this field just make a search on the Internet.