Skills Logging Crew Supervisor - Forestry near Kelowna (BC)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a logging crew supervisor - forestry in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Supervisors, logging and forestry (NOC 8211).


People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Establish work schedules
  • Oversee safety of operations
  • Prepare and submit reports
  • Train or arrange for training
  • Ensure adherence to government regulations
  • Supervise, co-ordinate and schedule (and possibly review) activities of workers
  • Resolve work problems and recommend measures to improve work methods
  • Hire and train or arrange for training of staff
  • Determine logging operation methods, crew sizes and equipment requirements

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

  • Read brief e-mail about routine operational matters such as clarification of billing amounts and confirmation of meeting times and agendas. (1)
  • Read instructions on labels and forms. They may read first aid procedures on Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System labels, and lengthy instructions for completing forms such as daily activity cost reports and training certifications. (2)
  • Read letters from managers, suppliers and staff at other organizations. For example, they may read letters from managers requesting the development of consistent systems for documenting vital activities such as safety training. They may read letters from staff at regulatory agencies outlining compliance requirements. (2)
  • Read procedures, explanations and directions in equipment manuals. For example they read about the operation, maintenance and repair of equipment such as chainsaws, feller bunchers, skidders and hoe chuckers. (3)
  • May read contracts and obligation summary reports. For example, they may review logging contracts which define woodlots to be harvested, percentages of profits to go to landowners, payment methods and special conditions to be met. Silviculture supervisors may read obligation summary reports which present contract specifications such as tenure identification, free growing stock standards and ecological and compliance requirements. (3)
  • Read logging and forestry magazines such as The Logger, Logging and Sawmilling Journal, and The Working Forest. They read articles on new production techniques, safety standards, market trends and industry concerns such as the destruction of forest stands by mountain pine beetles. (3)
  • Read silviculture and harvest prescriptions which specify special treatments required, describe site characteristics and identify hazards and restrictions. Supervisors may determine if the prescribed actions are feasible and request changes in wording before agreeing to the prescriptions. (3)
  • Read their companies' procedure manuals, federal and provincial governments' safety regulations, collective agreements and labour unions' constitutions. For example, they may read safety regulations stipulating the exact conditions under which crews and machinery may work. They may also read clauses in collective agreements governing the laying off of workers. They interpret legal language to ensure their work is in compliance and will not incur consequences such as fines and union grievances. (4)
Document use
  • Obtain data from signs, lists, and labels. They may read road signs and markers when navigating in the bush, look up names and phone numbers in lists of woodlot owners and scan labels on boxes of tree seedlings to identify tree species and quantities. (1)
  • Locate data in production schedules and crew members' production report forms. For example, they may locate production targets and person days allotted on monthly production schedules to plan crews' work schedules. They may review daily production data such as the number of trees planted by crew members and the numbers, locations and types of log booms completed. (2)
  • Interpret drawings and diagrams in equipment and training manuals. For example, they may consult assembly drawings and diagrams of mechanical harvesting equipment when troubleshooting malfunctions. They may refer to drawings illustrating complex undercut, back cut and wedging patterns to teach crews how to fall dangerous trees. (3)
  • Complete a variety of data collection and reporting forms. For example, they may complete forms from provincial environment and natural resources departments to report on work conducted on crown lands. They complete safety training forms to verify and comment on the competencies demonstrated by members of their crews. They enter data in daily production reports and crew overtime diaries. They also complete forms to report the details of events such as injuries to workers, vehicle collisions and incidents such as landslides. (3)
  • Interpret graphs displaying production and safety data. For example, a logging supervisor reviews bar graphs showing numbers of incidents requiring medical attention and lost time sustained by timberland operations, sawmills and pulp mills. A silviculture supervisor studies pie charts illustrating the types and percentages of trees commonly planted in coastal regions around the world. (3)
  • Locate place names, geographic coordinates, landforms and other data on a variety of maps when navigating through forests and planning work tasks. They may use topographical, harvest plan, road construction and reforestation maps to identify and locate features such as steep slopes, riparian zones, cutblocks, planting areas, yarding and fueling sites, and different types of roads. Firefighting crew leaders may use latitude and longitude coordinates to identify positions on topographical and fire area maps when planning fire containment lines, water delivery systems and access and egress routes. (4)
  • Write notes in personal logs and journals to record daily activities. They may write notes about where and how work was performed, quantities harvested and planted, and equipment and supplies needed. (1)
  • Write e-mail to co-workers, managers and suppliers. For example, a road foreperson corresponds with co-workers about their experiences using new equipment. A tree planting supervisor reports details to managers about the progress and challenges in completing a planting contract. A boom foreperson writes to a barge company to negotiate a better freight delivery price. (2)
  • May write minutes of safety training sessions they conduct with their crews. They may submit copies of these minutes to managers, workers' compensation boards and unions. (2)
  • Write comments, descriptions and explanations in reporting forms. For example, they describe crew members' injuries in accident and incident reports. They write comments in crew performance evaluation forms. They may describe and justify deviations from logging and silviculture prescriptions in inspection forms. (2)
  • Write letters for various purposes. For example, they write letters of reference in which they describe workers' employment histories, skills and personal attributes. They write letters of reprimand to crew members. They may write letters to government agencies to request changes in government decisions. (3)
  • May write short operational reports. For example, firefighting crew leaders prepare year-end reports in which they provide descriptions of incidents, analyses of concerns and evaluations of their crews and firefighting activities. Silviculture supervisors write reports on environmental conditions such as pests and disease in surrounding areas which might affect the viability of plantings. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Pay for items such as fuel, accommodation and meals for their crews using cash and credit cards. (1)
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts for services such as freight hauling and equipment rentals. They check quantities and billing rates and verify line amounts, subtotals, discounts and taxes. (3)
  • May negotiate the purchase price of standing timber. For example, they may calculate various price options including lump sum sale price for harvestable timber in lots, price per scaled volume of each species harvested and different percentage splits with land owners for different quality of trees. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Calculate costs of a variety of supply and service options. For example, they may compare the cost of operating old crew buses to the cost of purchasing new buses. (3)
  • May create budgets for contract work. For example, they may calculate the costs of items such as nursery charges, storage, transportation, fertilizer, and planting when assembling budgets for tree planting contracts. (3)
  • Schedule the work of crews and machinery. They consider the volume and completion dates of work, the expected daily output of workers and machinery, the locations where machinery and crews can work together safely and possible downtimes. They may also coordinate schedules of crew with other service providers such as forestry technicians, log scalers, truckers and helicopter pilots. They adjust the schedules according to changes in work progress. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take a variety of measurements using rulers, tape measures, loggers' tapes, protractors and clocks. For example, they may measure depths of holes dug by planters, distances between trees and along rights of way and the lengths and diameters of logs. (1)
  • Calculate production volumes and supply quantities. For example, a firefighting crew leader determines the perimeter of a fire that must be contained by ditches and the number of pumps and hoses needed for a water delivery system given the hose lengths, pump capacities, and distances and elevations involved. A silviculture supervisor calculates areas of restricted zones in timber lots and the number of seedlings to order for a tree planting season. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements and production statistics to specifications and targets. For example, they may compare humidity readings to values specified in regulations to determine if burning debris is allowed. (1)
  • Collect and analyze production data. For example, they calculate and compare the number of regular and overtime hours worked by crew members. They may calculate average daily, weekly or monthly production volumes. They compare the productivity of individual workers and of different planting teams. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate distances. They estimate distances visually and use approximate measures such as paces and tree lengths. For example, logging supervisors estimate the distance between fallers and other workers at all times for safety. (2)
  • Estimate the time required to achieve production targets. They base their estimates on expected production rates. They also consider unpredictable factors such as weather changes, injuries and equipment breakdowns. If they make errors in estimates, they can compromise work schedules and production quality. For example, if crews complete harvesting before scalers and truckers arrive, cut logs will dry out. (2)
  • Estimate the volume and dollar value of trees to be harvested. For example, they may estimate amounts of timber in woodlots. They may cruise sample areas to determine the sizes and percentages of harvestable tree species. They then extrapolate from the sample acres to estimate the total volume and price obtainable. (3)
Oral communication
  • Communicate with co-workers and suppliers about routine matters such as schedule changes and daily task assignments. For example, they may tell boom boat operators when barges will make log deliveries and assign road crews specific sections of rights of way to clear. (1)
  • Interact with suppliers, co-workers and colleagues to locate products and services. They may also negotiate with suppliers on prices and compensation for faulty products. For example, a silviculture supervisor discusses the characteristics of various tree species with staff at nurseries and negotiates a price reduction for faulty seedling stock. A boom foreperson asks other boom ground operators to recommend companies that can retrieve sunken boom boats. (2)
  • May interact with the public by listening to their questions and concerns about logging activities and explaining the regulations and procedures being followed. (2)
  • Instruct, motivate, reassure and discipline workers. For example, silviculture supervisors give detailed explanations to tree planting crews about the seedling types, planting locations and work procedures required to meet contract specifications. Logging supervisors may recommend alternative bucking patterns to fallers, warn machinery operators not to contaminate sensitive areas, reassure workers who are injured and in shock, and resolve conflicts among crew members. (3)
  • May negotiate the purchase of timber stands with woodlot owners. They may need to help owners clarify their practical and financial objectives to bring discussions to a close. (3)
  • Discuss production procedures and work progress with managers, co-workers, land owners and forestry professionals. They draw on specialized knowledge to contribute to detailed and technical discussions. For example, firefighting crew leaders discuss fire characteristics and containment strategies with fire management leaders. Road crew supervisors discuss requirements for rights of way with road engineers. Logging and silviculture supervisors discuss the stability of mountainous terrain with geological surveyors. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Encounter bad weather which causes production delays. For example, strong winds may make it too dangerous to conduct aerial surveying of harvest, plantation and fire sites. Supervisors use alternative methods such as reviewing maps and other support materials to survey sites and develop work plans. (2)
  • Experience difficulty contacting crews working in isolated areas. Supervisors may test their radio equipment and ask other crews working in nearby areas to make contact either by radio or by travelling to the sites. Supervisors try to establish contact quickly since maintaining close contact is a safety requirement. (2)
  • Receive supplies and equipment that don't meet specifications and job needs. For example, a silviculture supervisor finds that the seedlings delivered to a remote planting block are inconsistent with contract specifications. The supervisor checks all the boxes to determine which seedlings are suitable and then calls the supplier to arrange for delivery of any available stock. (2)
  • Discover that accidents have resulted in crew injuries. They ensure first aid and other needed medical attention are provided, take measures to correct unsafe work conditions, gather information for the completion of accident reports and locate alternate crew members to maintain production schedules. (3)
  • Experience conflicts among crew members and resistance from workers to assigned tasks or procedures. They try to listen to the workers' points of view, deal fairly with them and apply union rules where applicable. They offer logical arguments and technical guidance such as suggesting safer ways to fall hazardous trees and easier ways to dig seedling holes. (3)
Decision Making
  • Deploy workers and machinery for efficient production. For example, a silviculture supervisor assigns more capable crew members to plant rough areas of a block. A firefighting crew leader decides not to send inexperienced recruits to look for an elusive water source. (2)
  • Choose times and locations for inspection, employee monitoring and data collection activities. They consider the type of work being performed at various sites and the challenges crews may encounter. They also follow regulated inspection frequencies for work rated at various risk levels. (2)
  • May choose woodlots to buy and select sawmills to offer logs for sale. They consider factors such as the locations of the woodlots, the species of harvestable trees, the difficulty of getting the logs out of the woodlots and transporting them to buyers and the conditions owners place on contracts. (3)
  • Decide to allow small variations from silviculture prescriptions and logging contract stipulations. For example, a logging supervisor may allow workers to fall trees beyond harvest boundaries; not doing so would create a hazard for the crew. (3)
  • Decide to suspend work because of poor weather or other hazardous conditions. They analyze weather reports, terrain and ground conditions, the type of work planned and safety regulations to determine if it is safe and productive for crew to continue working. For example, supervisors may decide to call in crews during severe windstorms that may topple dead trees and bring down 'widow makers.' They may decide that road conditions are too unstable to allow transportation of crew and equipment into work areas. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Assess the quality of production. They monitor production records, conduct inspections and take measurements. For example, boom supervisors check that booms are constructed to specifications and examine booms to ensure gear is applied securely. Silviculture supervisors measure the depth of seedling holes dug by planters and calculate the density of plantings to judge if the seedlings are planted correctly and will become viable plantations. (2)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of work plans and strategies both during and at the completion of jobs. For example, a firefighting crew leader observes fire behaviour in response to the crew's containment strategies to assess if their efforts are effective or should be adjusted. A silviculture supervisor reviews each step at the completion of a job to analyze what worked well, what did not and what actions could improve the crew's experience on the next assignment. (3)
  • Assess the feasibility of work contracts and harvest prescriptions. For example, they analyze the topography, locations of trees and conditions of roads to assess if contracted work will be feasible within specified times and costs. (3)
  • Evaluate the suitability of candidates when participating in hiring processes. They review resumes and observe candidates during interviews and training sessions to judge experience, physical skills, knowledge, stamina, attitude and temperament. Supervisors' evaluations are critical for the building of crews that are skillful, safety-conscious, motivated and cohesive. (3)
  • Evaluate the safety of work conditions and procedures. Safety is the highest priority for supervisors of crews working in this highly dangerous industry. Supervisors take measurements and follow safety regulations, but they also rely on their own observations, experience and intuition. For example, a logging supervisor judges the degree of safety with which a dangerous tree can be felled by considering the location, condition and lean of the tree and surrounding trees. The supervisor also considers the direction and velocity of winds, the steepness of slope, how wet the ground is, the adequacy of escape routes and the skill levels of the faller. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Supervisors in logging and forestry generally organize their own tasks to ensure their crews complete logging and silviculture jobs efficiently and according to specifications. Some supervisors, such as logging contractors, are self-employed; they set their own production targets and schedules through purchasing timber lots and negotiating work contracts. Supervisors who work for organizations receive job assignments from their managers. For example, they may be assigned to clear lengths of right of ways, replant specified logged off areas, and harvest specified cut blocks. Regardless of their employment status, supervisors organize their own tasks to survey work sites, deploy crew members and equipment, carry out inspections, conduct worker training sessions, and attend meetings with managers and land owners. They frequently adjust their schedules to accommodate problems such as poor weather, equipment breakdowns and crew injuries. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Supervisors in logging and forestry plan the work of their crews. They create work schedules, allocate duties and ensure that tasks are coordinated with the schedules of other crews and service providers. They also contribute to strategic planning decisions such as purchasing new equipment, changing work procedures and training employees. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the skills and aptitudes of crew members. For example, they remember which workers know how to use global positioning equipment and which can fall hazardous trees safely.
  • Remember commonly-applied safety and forest management regulations. For example, they remember the numbers of workers with first aid certifications required for crews of given sizes and the procedures required when working near riparian and other sensitive zones.
  • Remember topographical features of work sites and routes to and within worksites. For example, a boom foreperson remembers the water depths at various parts of a bay to plan positioning of anchor lines. A firefighting crew leader remembers routes and distances to water sources to plan pump and hose requirements.
Finding Information
  • Find information about supplies, equipment and services by searching suppliers' web sites and talking to salespeople, reading industry publications and speaking with co-workers, colleagues and managers. (2)
  • Find information about work assignments and procedures. They consult documents such as forest management plans and contracts. They also speak with managers, land owners, engineers and government agency personnel. For example, a forest fighting crew leader consults an Incident Action Plan and attends briefings by fire management leaders to find information such as the major objectives of a firefighting operation, medical procedures, communications plans and latest developments in the operation. (3)
  • Find information about accidents and incidents. They examine the sites of accidents and incidents and talk with the people directly involved and other witnesses to investigate the circumstances surrounding the events to prepare accurate reports. (3)
Digital technology
  • Use databases. For example, they may use databases such as Net Scale to access electronic log scaling data. They may locate information such as crew members' safety certification status in staffing databases. (2)
  • May use spreadsheets. For example, they may create spreadsheets for recording crew work hours, tallying production data and calculating contract amounts. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they exchange e-mail about subjects such as production progress and supply problems with co-workers and suppliers. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they may search industry and government web sites for technical and regulatory information. (2)
  • May use other computer and software applications. For example, they may use global positioning system equipment to navigate to work sites, and palm pilot units to record production data. (2)
  • Use word processing software. For example, they may write letters, minutes and reports using basic text editing and page formatting functions. They may create complex data collection and reporting forms, and tables such as log scaling cards and booming ground charts. (3)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Supervisors in forestry and logging lead and supervise work crews in carrying out logging and silviculture operations. They coordinate crews in performing work such as road construction, tree falling, log yarding and loading and tree planting. They integrate their own activities closely with those of crew members to monitor the work performance and help solve problems. They also communicate with other supervisors, managers and contractors to coordinate job tasks for efficient and safe production. (3)

Continuous Learning

Supervisors in logging and forestry engage in continuous learning to stay abreast of changes in practices and regulations. They learn continuously through day-to-day work experience, reading industry publications and by talking with co-workers and colleagues. They are required by government regulations to maintain certifications in skill areas such as first aid, firefighting and the operation of chainsaws and mechanical harvesting equipment. Supervisors may take training in supervisory skills such as conflict management, accounting and computer use. Supervisors may also choose to expand their knowledge by attending seminars and taking courses in logging and forestry regulations, woodlot management and identification of tree diseases and insect pests offered by government agencies, industry associations, colleges and universities. (3)

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