2nd Annual Forester Survey Results

2nd ANNUAL FORESTER SURVEY RESULTS

We recently released our second annual survey to about 2,500 foresters (SAF members and a few hundred others). The survey is intended to provide insight about how foresters are feeling about their business and the tools they are using.

Demographics

  • Roughly 2/3 of foresters are working as consulting foresters, and half work solo or with one other forester.
  • Of the remaining third, they are split evenly between larger company foresters, government agencies, and education.
  • The number of women has increased by two thirds! That said, this is an increase from 3 to 5 women respondents.
  • There remain few young foresters. Only 5% of respondents have fewer than 10 years experience, and nearly 50% of foresters have 30 or more years of experience.

Job conditions and satisfaction

  • Foresters love what they do. Seventy four percent love it and 24% like it. Only 3% are just “okay with it” or dislike it.
  • While the unpredictable business cycle, poor pay, and dealing with clients remain the worst things about our industry, some differences this year in dissatisfaction are interesting. More folks are not happy with the long hours and are seeing increasing competition. This was cited more frequently than in the past. However, the data doesn’t bear that out as actual number of competing firms doesn’t seem to be increasing.
  • Cited in “Other” bad things about forestry is the increased prevalence of ticks. See the article below about tick prevention for a great tip.

Business conditions

  • Overall the outlook is stronger than the perception of increased competition implies. While 13% believe that business is getting worse, 30% are seeing business getting better.
  • At the same time, nearly a third of foresters think that clients are becoming more sensitive to cost. The majority think that things are about the same.
  • In regards to services that are seeing changes in demand, the stand-outs here are management planning and invasive vegetation control. The industry is seeing demand for these types of services increase by 20% and 35%, respectively. Equally as interesting is that logging, log buying, and sale administration are seeing slight decreases.

Technology

  • The number of foresters who are using forestry-specific software increased from 66% to 78%, which coincides with the trend of increased competition, long hours, and the never-ending quest for efficiency.
  • Use of GIS for mapping saw a similar increase. Last year 75% of foresters reported using GIS for mapping, while this number is 80% for 2015.
  • Since we distribute this survey, we acknowledge that Forest Metrix users are more likely to complete it, so we put very little value in the results of the forestry software questions. However, it seems shady to not publish the results.

% who have used product*

Satisfaction Rate

 (either Liked or Loved)

Assisi

6%

60%

Atterbury SuperAce

7%

50%

Cengea

3%

33%

Cruise Control

2%

50%

DS Cruiser

2%

50%

Forest Metrix

23%

75%

FS Cruiser

15%

46%

GenTally

2%

50%

Haglof Timber Cruise

9%

50%

Kruzer

7%

33%

MBG Tools

7%

50%

MultiCruise

7%

67%

NED

24%

48%

Plot Hound

26%

50%

SILVAH

14%

67%

SilvAssist

28%

58%

Silvics

10%

67%

TCruise

19%

75%

TIGER

8%

57%

TwoDog

45%

59%

Assisi

6%

60%

* Numbers do not add to 100% because many foresters have used more than one product.

  • Since a part of our business relates to how happy people are using iPhones and iPads, we will also not comment on the following results regarding GPS hardware.

% who have used product*

Satisfaction Rate

 (either Liked or Loved)

Android tablet or phone

27%

65%

Delorme

19%

47%

F4- Flint, Forge, Echo

38%

24%

Garmin

72%

92%

iPad or iPhone

64%

70%

Juniper

12%

42%

Nomad

18%

39%

Trimble

42%

73%

Other system

6%

  
  • For the second year running, a huge proportion of foresters- 80%- indicate that they NEED GPS accuracy of 12 feet or less.  It might be worth looking at some research that has been published concerning GPS accuracy in forested conditions. The devices that are most common- Garmins, iPhones, etc- might get within that range in a clear open field, but there is pretty much no device on the market that will obtain this level of accuracy in the woods, at least not for less than a few grand.
  • We are seeing interesting trends in the office use of GIS, as Google Earth passed the ESRI suite as the most loved (and most used) system. There remain a couple minor players, such as Delorme Terrain Navigator Pro (gets high marks), Expert GPS, CMT, MapInfo, and MapCard.
  • The open source GIS solutions that we have been rooting for (QGIS, GRASS, etc) are still wallowing in the single digits for both usage and satisfaction.

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