Northern Rockies Forest Technicians

Location: Field sites across northern Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and northeastern Washington. Based out of Moscow, Idaho.

Duration: May-August 2018 (varies by position)

Employer: University of Idaho / USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

Number of positions: 3 technicians

Project Description: The Northern Rockies of northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, and northeastern Washington and the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon have some of the highest conifer tree diversity in North America. Common species include western white pine, western larch, Ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar. The region also has diverse land ownership patterns, comprised of private industrial, small private forest landowners, and significant area of state-endowment lands, and national forests.

Early stand silviculture: Two technicians will work as a team to evaluate regeneration survival and growth in response to various early stand silvicultural treatments. Idaho alone plants over 20 million tree seedlings per year to meet a variety of management objectives from post- fire rehabilitation to timber production. The often harsh summer conditions characterized by late-season drought and rapid development of competing vegetation often results in high seedling mortality.
Therefore, there is high demand for research to better understand the factors influencing seedling survival so silvicultural programs can be adjusted to improve regeneration success. The technicians will travel to various private and state-owned sites throughout the Inland Northwest to work in disturbed stands that have recently been replanted. Specific projects include: evaluating the relationship between nursery-rated seedling quality and outplanting performance, (2) seedling response to different intensities of non-tree vegetation cover, and (3) tree growth, soil moisture, and understory diversity responses of western larch stands thinned to different residual densities with and without removal of the understory. The position will begin mid-May (possibility to start earlier to help with tree planting) through the third week of August.

Western white pine restoration: One technician will assist a graduate student to evaluate structural and tree composition complexity of restored western white pine stands on national forests of northern Idaho. The westside of the Northern Rockies is the only region of the US where western white pine was a dominant species across large areas. The introduction of white pine blister rust and the harvesting throughout the 20th century substantially reduced the species across the region.
National Forests in the region have prioritized restoration of forests by reintroducing blister-rust resistant western white pine, but little research has been conducted to evaluate success of restoration efforts.
The technician will assist in tree data collection in the field. Work on the western white pine project will start in early June and conclude by the end of July. Starting early August through the end of September the technician will assist with data collection of various research projects throughout Idaho on the Deception Creek Experimental Forest (moist western white pine forests) and the Boise Basin Experimental Forest (dry Ponderosa pine forests). The position is 4 months long (June through September).

Required Qualifications: (a) Experience measuring tree diameter and height, (b) Ability to work in a range of conditions (hot and sunny to cool and rainy), (c) ability to hike on rugged terrain and camp near field sites (d) ability to carry at least 25 lbs, (e) possess a valid driver’s license and provide a 3 year driving record, and (f) ability to pass a criminal background check. Previous forest research experience is preferred.

Pay Rate: $12.50/hr @ 40 hours per week (depends on position). Housing is not provided.

Application Information: To apply for the position, please send a single pdf document to Dr. Andrew Nelson ( by April 6 including (1) cover letter outlining discussing your experience and interest in the position, (2) a resume with most relevant previous employment, (3) email and phone numbers of at least 2 professional references.