Forester Licensing Regulations

SUMMARY OF REGULATION:

M.G.L. c. 132, Sections 47-50 requires the licensing of foresters.  The purposes of the regulations are to a) protect forest landowners by insuring that individuals offering professional forestry services meet minimum requirements of education, experience and professionalism; and, b) assure a minimum standard of care for the Commonwealth's forests and associated natural resources.

304 CMR 10.00

10.01: Authority, Purpose and Regulation Review

10.02: Definitions

10.03: Forestry Licensing Board

10.04: License Applications and Requirements

10.05: Disciplinary Actions by the Director

10.06: Standards of Professional Conduct

10.07: Severability

Department of Environmental Management Forester Licensing Policies

Policy 1: License Applications and Requirements

Policy 2: Continuing Forestry Education

 

Forester Licensing Regulations, 304 CMR 10.00

10.01: Authority, Purpose and Regulation Review

(1) Authority The Director of the Division of Forest and Parks, Department of Environmental Management, promulgates 304 CMR 10.00 pursuant to the authority granted under M.G.L. c. 132, 47 through 50.

(2) Purpose M.G.L. c.132, 47 through 50 requires the licensing of foresters. The purpose of 304 CMR 10.00 is to: 

     (a) protect forest landowners by insuring that individuals offering professional forestry services meet  minimum requirements of education, experience and professionalism; and ,
     
     (b) assure a minimum standard of care for the Commonwealth's forests and associated natural resources.

(3) Regulation Review Until June 30, 2000, the Director of the Division of Forest and Parks shall accept comments on 304 CMR 10.00, and their implementation. The Director may thereupon recommend amendments to 304 CMR 10.00 and the Division of Forests and Parks' policies. The Forester Licensing Committee shall review all comments.

10.02 : Definitions

Director means the Director of Forests and Parks, Department of Environmental Management or his or her designee.

Experience of a professional nature means forest management planning and decision-making which requires the integration of biological, social, and economic information over a multi-year time frame to meet objectives of a forest landowner, and, for credit purposes, shall have been substantially of a full-time nature.

Experience of a technical nature means forestry work in which the individual is responsible for carrying out a forest management action or activity, and, for credit purposes, shall have been substantially of a full-time nature.

Forestry means the science, the art, and the practice of conserving and managing for human benefit the natural resources, including trees, other plants, animals, soil and water, that occur on, and in association with, forest lands.

Licensed Forester means one who has obtained a Massachusetts license to practice forestry under the provisions of 304 CMR 10.00 as promulgated pursuant to M.G.L. c.132, 47 through 50.

Practice of forestry means any professional services requiring the application of forestry principles and techniques, including but not limited to: forest inventory, forest management planning, timber appraisal, the responsibility for the direction and supervision of silvicultural activities, use and protection of forested areas, and the evaluation of the economic and biological consequences of forest management activities.

Professional services means forestry services offered for compensation to forest landowners or their agents.

Revoke means to annul, void, cancel or take back a license to practice forestry.

Society of American Foresters or SAF means the national professional forestry organization which, by an act of Congress, is the only body authorized to accredit programs offering a bachelor's degree in forestry.

Suspend means to temporarily withdraw a license to practice forestry for a specified period of time.

10.03: Forester Licensing Board

(1) Composition. The Director shall appoint as his or her agent a five member Forester Licensing Board (hereinafter referred to as the "FLB") for the purposes of assisting and advising him or her in the administration of M.G.L. c.132, 47 through 50 and 304 CMR 10.00 . One member shall be an employee of a federal, state, or a municipal government agency; one member shall be a licensed forester employed in the private sector; one member shall be employed as a faculty member of a college or university in a forest resources or natural resources management program; one member shall be a landowner of classified forest land; and one member shall be a representative of an environmental organization, a land trust, or a consumer group. Four of the members shall have the qualifications necessary to obtain a license to practice forestry in Massachusetts, as defined in 304 CMR 10.00 , two of whom shall be Licensed Foresters.

(2) Terms. At the time the FLB is initially appointed, the Director shall appoint two members for one-year terms, two members for two-year terms, and one member for a three-year term. Subsequent appointments shall be for three-year terms. No member shall be appointed for more than two consecutive full terms.

(3) Responsibilities. The FLB shall assist and advise the Director by performing the following responsibilities:

    (a) examining the credentials of all first time applicants to become a Licensed Forester, and recommending to the Director the names of those deemed by the FLB to be qualified or not qualified for such license;

    (b) reviewing, upon the request of the Director, the credentials of individuals applying for renewal of a license to practice forestry in the Commonwealth, and recommending to the Director the names of all those deemed by the FLB to be eligible or ineligible;

    (c) assisting and advising the Director in implementing disciplinary and investigatory proceedings as described in 304 CMR 10.05; and

    (d) maintaining a written record of any deliberations and decisions reached at each meeting.

(4) Meetings. The FLB shall meet at least once a year, or as often as necessary to comply with the 90-day application processing requirement in 304 CMR 10.04. The Director shall call the first meeting of the FLB. The last order of business at each meeting shall be to set the time and place of the next meeting, subject to the approval of the Director.

A meeting shall be convened at the request of any three members. The Director shall appoint one of its members to serve as chair. Three members shall constitute a quorum.

10.04 : License, Application and Requirements

(1) License Required. As of June 30, 1999, no person shall hold him or herself out as a forester and engage in the practice of forestry in the Commonwealth, unless licensed in accordance with 304 CMR 10.04. A license shall not be required for persons who provide services in their capacity as tree wardens, arborists, utility foresters and urban foresters, and other like practices. If, however, these persons engage in the practice of forestry, as defined in 304 CMR 10.02, and hold themselves out as foresters, they are required to have a Forester License.

(2) Education and Experience Requirement. To become a Licensed Forester, an applicant shall demonstrate an understanding of the following core subject areas of forestry as they apply to forestry in Massachusetts: Forest Biology/Ecology; Forest Resource Measurements; Forest Resource Management, including silviculture and timber harvesting; and Forest Resource Policy and Administration. In addition, an applicant must have practiced forestry or have been enrolled in an approved educational program for seven out of the last 12 years.

The minimum education and experience requirements for a Licensed Forester shall be:

    (a) Successful completion of a Bachelors of Science (BS) from an SAF-accredited professional forestry degree program, or a program approved by the Director, and which included courses in each of the following areas:

      1) Forest Biology/ Ecology;

      2) Forest Resource Measurements;

      3) Forest Resource Management, including, but not limited to, silviculture and timber harvesting;

      4) Forest Resource Policy and Administration;

    plus three years of forestry work experience of a character that prepared the applicant to practice forestry competently. At least two of the three years of work experience must be experience of a professional nature, and up to one year may be work experience of a technical nature; or

    (b) Successful completion of a Masters degree (MS or MF) in forestry or related post-baccalaureate degree, which includes at least 30 credit hours, and courses in each of the following areas:

      1) Forest Biology/ Ecology;

      2) Forest Resource Measurements;

      3) Forest Resource Management, including, but not limited to, silviculture and timber harvesting;

      4) Forest Resource Policy and Administration;

    plus three years of forestry work experience of a character that prepared the applicant to practice forestry competently. At least two of the three years of work experience must be experience of a professional nature, and up to one year may be work experience of a technical nature. Within the Master's degree option, up to two years of undergraduate work required to enter a Master's program shall count toward fulfillment of the above stated requirement above that seven of the last 12 years were spent in preparation for practicing forestry; or

    (c) Successful completion of an Associates degree in an SAF-recognized technical forestry education program or a technical forestry education program approved by the Director, plus five years of forestry work experience of a character that has prepared the applicant to practice forestry competently. At least four of the five years of work experience must be experience of a professional nature and up to one year may be work experience of a technical nature.

Any additional forestry or natural resource management education at an accredited institution beyond the minimum requirements described in 304 CMR 10.04(2) (a), (b), and (c) may count for no more than one year of work experience.

(3) Grandfathering Provision. To become a Licensed Forester, an applicant may substitute work experience for the education requirement until 5:00 pm, June 29, 2000. Effective June 30, 2000, all applicants must meet the minimum educational requirements for a Licensed Forester as required in 304 CMR 10.04. Prior to June 30, 2000, an applicant may qualify to become a Licensed Forester when he or she can show that seven years of the last 12 years of forestry work experience is of a nature that has prepared the applicant to practice forestry competently. Of those seven years, the applicant must have six years of work experience of a professional nature, and may have up to one year of work experience of a technical nature. The Director shall seek to assess the applicant's knowledge of the core subjects required for formally educated foresters as provided for in 304 CMR 10.04, by evaluating the following, which shall be submitted by the applicant to indicate his or her experience of a professional nature:

    (a) management plans prepared and submitted by the applicant and approved under M.G.L. c. 61, M.G.L. c. 61A or the Forest Stewardship Program;

    (b) evidence that the applicant has been employed in forestry for at least seven years;

    (c) evidence of familiarity with and a willingness to comply with all other provisions of 304 CMR 10.00 and other regulations pertaining to forestry in Massachusetts;

    (d) other academic, government or nonprofit forestry work; and,

    (e) other documentation to support the application.

(4) License Application and Approval.

    (a) To become a Licensed Forester an applicant shall submit to the Director a completed application on a form developed by the Director and accompanied by the required license fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    (b) The Director shall approve or deny an application for a license within 90 days of receiving all required application materials. The Director shall provide each qualified applicant with a license. Applications not acted upon within 90 days will be deemed approved.

(5) Appeal of a License Denial. If an applicant's application is denied, he or she may appeal in writing to the Director within 30 days of the receipt of notification of license denial. The Director shall make a decision on an appeal within 90 days of receipt of the appeal.

(6) Licensing fees. The initial application fee is $100.00 and the annual renewal fee is $50.00. Fees may be adjusted by the Director to sustain the Forester Licensing program.

(7) License Renewal.

    (a) Not less than 30 days before the expiration of his or her license, a Licensed Forester shall submit a renewal application accompanied by the required fee to the Director.

    (b) If any Licensed Forester fails to renew his or her license within six months of expiration, he or she shall not engage in the practice of forestry until a new license is issued. Each Licensed Forester seeking the renewal of his or her license shall comply with the Director's policy on continuing education for Licensed Foresters.

10.05: Disciplinary Actions by the Director.

(1) The Director may revoke or suspend a forester's license to practice forestry within the Commonwealth upon finding that the forester has engaged in fraud, negligence, deceit, incompetence, unprofessional conduct or gross misconduct in the practice of forestry, or of any offense against the laws of the Commonwealth relating thereto. The Director may initiate proceedings under 304 CMR 10.05(3) upon receipt of notice that a Licensed Forester has been found guility or in violation of any forestry related federal, state, or municipal law or regulation.

(2) Hearings. A Licensed Forester has 30 days after receipt of written notice of suspension or revocation to request the Director to hold a hearing. Failure to request a hearing within 30 days of receipt of a notice of suspension or revocation shall result in automatic suspension or revocation of the license. The Director shall hold a hearing within 30 days of receipt of a request for a hearing and shall provide reasonable notice of said hearing to the Licensed Forester.

(3) Initiation of investigatory proceedings.

    (a) Any person may file a complaint with the Director concerning the conduct of a Licensed Forester. The Director shall initiate proceedings under 304 CMR 10.05(3) upon receipt of a properly filed complaint. A properly filed complaint shall:

    1. be in writing and shall be either hand-delivered or mailed certified mail / return receipt requested to Director of Forests and Parks, Department of Environmental Management; and,

    2. contain the name and current address of the complainant, and shall set forth:

      a. the name of the Licensed Forester whose actions are the source of the complaint;

      b. the specific facts or circumstances giving rise to the complaint;

      c. the particular action or conduct in question; and

      d. any provisions of federal, state or local law and regulation on which the complaint is based.

    The Director shall send a copy of the complaint to the Licensed Forester who is the subject of the complaint by certified mail/return receipt requested to the last address on file with the Division, and to the FLB.

    (b) The Director shall review the complaint and determine whether proceedings to investigate the conduct of the Licensed Forester are warranted, and if so, request the FLB to initiate an investigation and render a decision in the matter.

(4) Investigation.

    (a) The chair of the FLB shall appoint one of the members of the FLB, or some other person or persons, to act as an investigator in the particular case, and shall forthwith notify in writing both the Licensed Forester against whom the complaint is registered and the complainant of that appointment.

    (b) If a member of the FLB files the initial complaint, that member must excuse himself or herself from all proceedings and deliberations pertaining to the complaint.

    (c) The investigator shall:

      1. contact and question each party individually about the complaint and take such other actions as the investigator deems appropriate to investigate the charges;

      2. interview any other persons deemed appropriate;

      3. as appropriate, request the FLB to subpoena witnesses and compel by subpoena duces tecum the production of books, papers, and documents that are considered relevant to the investigation;

      4. provide to the FLB a written report containing a summary of the evidence, that in the opinion of the investigator, could be proved at a disciplinary hearing; and

      5. distribute copies of the investigative report to each member of the FLB.

(5) FLB Decision and Appeal.

    (a) The FLB shall review the investigator's report, and shall make a recommendation whether or not to reprimand, limit, restrict, suspend, or revoke the Licensed Forester's license. The Director shall inform the Licensed Forester and the complainant(s) of the Director's decision by certified mail-return receipt requested.

    (b) The Licensed Forester and the complainant shall have fourteen days after receipt of the Director's decision to file an appeal to the Director.

    (c) If there is an appeal, the Director shall conduct an adjudicatory proceeding in conformance with M.G.L. c. 30A and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

(6) Record.

    (a) Any decision or recommendation by the FLB on matters considered pursuant to 304 CMR 10.05 shall be by majority vote. Upon issuance, the FLB shall transmit any recommendation under 304 CMR 10.05(6), in writing, to the complainant and the Licensed Forester.

    (b) In the event of suspension or revocation, a copy of the FLB's recommendation and Director's order shall be issued at the expiration of the appeal period or after an adjudicatory proceeding, to the equivalent body of each state in which the respondent Licensed Forester is licensed to practice.

(7) Voluntary Surrender by a Licensed Forester.

    (a) A Licensed Forester who is the subject of a complaint or an investigation into allegations of misconduct may voluntarily surrender his or her license. The Licensed Forester shall deliver to the Director an affidavit stating that the Licensed Forester desires to voluntarily surrender the license and that:

      1. The surrender is freely and voluntarily rendered;

      2. The Licensed Forester is not being subjected to coercion or duress;

      3. The Licensed Forester is aware of the implications of the surrender and agrees to the terms of the voluntary surrender as set forth by the Director;

      4. The Licensed Forester is aware that there is presently pending an investigation into allegations that the Licensed Forester has been guilty of misconduct, the nature of which the Licensed Forester shall specifically set forth; and

      5. The Licensed Forester acknowledges that the material facts upon which the complaint is predicated are true.

(8) Reinstatement.

    (a) Unless the ordered otherwise by the Director, a person previously licensed as a Licensed Forester by the Director may:

      1. apply for reinstatement of a revoked or voluntarily surrendered license after two years have passed from the date of revocation; or

      2. apply for reinstatement or return to good standing following a period of license suspension or probation not sooner than two months prior to the expiration of the period of suspension or probation ordered by the Director or consented to by the applicant.

    (b) If the Director denies an application for reinstatement, an applicant may not re-apply to the Director for reinstatement until at least 6 months have passed since the date of denial of the application, unless otherwise ordered by the Director.

(9) Notice of Director's decision. If the FLB recommends that the Director reprimand the Licensed Forester, or limit, restrict, suspend, or revoke a license, then at the expiration of the appeal period or upon the completion of an adjudicatory proceeding, the Director shall promptly issue a notice setting forth the full name of the Licensed Forester, his or her professional address as it appears in the records of the FLB, and the fact that discipline has been imposed. Said notice shall state that the license has been revoked or voluntarily surrendered pursuant to 304 CMR 10.05, that the license has been suspended and the time during which the Director's disciplinary action shall be in effect; or that a disciplinary action has been imposed, whichever is appropriate. The notice shall specify whether the license has been limited or restricted and the terms thereof which relate to the time, place or manner in which the Licensed Forester may practice.

304 CMR 10.05 shall apply to disciplinary actions taken both with and without the agreement of the Licensed Forester, and it shall not be waived by the Director.

10.06: Standards of Professional Conduct

(1) Licensed Foresters shall adhere to the ethical and professional standards in 304 CMR 10.06. Non-compliance with these standards may result in the Director taking disciplinary action against the Licensed Forester.

(2) Licensed Foresters shall advocate and practice land management consistent with ecologically sound principles. Licensed Foresters shall perform services consistent with sound forest management and in the best interest of the employer or client. Licensed Foresters shall advise their clients or employers of the long and short term consequences of management alternatives.

(3) Licensed Foresters shall utilize their knowledge or skills for the benefit of society. Licensed Foresters shall strive for accurate, current and increasing knowledge of forestry, shall communicate such knowledge and shall challenge and correct untrue statements about forestry.

(4) Licensed Foresters shall base public comment on forestry matters on accurate knowledge and shall not distort or withhold pertinent information to substantiate a point of view. Prior to making public statements on forest policies and practices, a Licensed Forester shall indicate on whose behalf the statements are made.

(5) Licensed Foresters shall make only accurate statements of the services that they are qualified and prepared to perform or provide and shall perform only those services for which the Licensed Forester are qualified by education or experience.

(6) Licensed Foresters shall engage, or advise their employers to engage, other experts and specialists in forestry whenever the employer's interest would be served by such action, and the Licensed Forester shall work cooperatively with other professionals.

(7) Licensed Foresters supplying forestry services shall disclose a list of all fees, salaries or other compensation to be charged for their services to prospective clients.

(8) Licensed Foresters shall disclose all known or potential conflicts of interest, involving substantial value to their employers, clients or bidders, by promptly informing them of any business association, interest or other circumstances which would or could influence or give the impression of influencing their judgment or the quality of their services. For purposes of 304 CMR 10.06, "substantial value" shall constitute business relationships which comprise, directly or indirectly, $50.00 or more within a calendar year.

(9) Licensed Foresters shall not accept or solicit compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one party on the same project unless circumstances are fully disclosed in writing to all parties, including contractors and their agents.

(10) Licensed Foresters shall not voluntarily disclose information concerning the affairs of employers or applicants without express permission.

(11) At the time of public or private offerings, Licensed Foresters are required to disclose the methods of measurements and data developed in these measurements.

(12) Licensed Foresters shall notify the FLB if their registration, certification or license is suspended or revoked in another jurisdiction.

(13) When boundary work determines ownership of forest products or land on which forest service will be performed, Licensed Foresters shall be prepared to demonstrate that they have performed due diligence on boundary research prior to providing forestry services. At no time shall a Licensed Forester represent that their boundary determination services be relied on for any purpose other than the practice of forestry.

10.07 Severability

If any section, subsection, division or subdivision of 304 CMR 10.00 shall be determined to be invalid, such determination shall apply to the particular section, subsection, division or subdivision, and all other provisions of 304 CMR 10.00 shall remain valid and in effect.

REGULATORY AUTHORITY

304 CMR 10.00 : M.G.L. c.132, 47 through 50

 

Department of Environmental Management Forester Licensing Policies

Policy 1: License Applications and Requirements

(1) To become a Licensed Forester, an applicant shall submit to the Director a completed application on a form developed by the Director accompanied by the required license fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

At a minimum, the application shall require the following information:

    a) a list of colleges and universities attended, dates attended and graduation date;

    b) original or certified copies of all transcripts;

    c) a listing of work experience or resume for the 12 years preceding application, to include for each position:

      1) name, address and phone number of employer;

      2) name of supervisor;

      3) title of position;

      4) description of responsibilities;

      5) dates employed;

      6) average number of hours worked per week;

      7) other pertinent information the applicant wishes to include; and

    d) a disclosure of any convictions of, pleas of guilty to, or pleas of nolo contendere for forestry-related felonies.

A Society of American Forestry (SAF) certified Forester may apply by submitting appropriate documentation of his or her SAF certification and the disclosure statement required in (d) above.

Within 80 days of receipt of all required application materials, the FLB shall make a recommendation to the Director on such application.

Policy 2: Continuing Forestry Education

(1) The purpose of the continuing education requirement is to insure that practitioners obtain current scientific and technical information.

(2) Each Licensed Forester shall complete an average of at least 20 Continuing Forestry Education ("CFE") credits per year to maintain his or her license. The average shall be calculated for the 3-year period coinciding with the terms of the license. Some of the activities that receive credits are listed by the SAF in the News Quarterly of the New England SAF and other publications. The FLB may appoint a committee of evaluators to determine the credits for all activities, and upon request, the FLB shall provide a list of activities that qualify.

College courses, if approved for CFE credit under Categories I and II, must be successfully completed to receive the credit and will be assigned at the rate of 1 CFE credit per lecture. An official transcript will serve as proof of completion. The Director shall assign credits to activities outside of New England, which are usually not covered in the New England SAF publications, and to direct training under the supervision of a professional recognized in forestry or related fields.

The categories and weights of the CFE are as follows:

Category I is defined as: organized course work or activities in forestry or forestry related subject matters such as silviculture, mensuration, forest pest management, habitat management, urban forestry, or forest policy. Category I courses include seminars, short courses, and workshops conducted or sponsored by public or private organizations, as well as technical sessions of SAF meetings or conferences. Credit will be approved only for subject matter directly related to forestry or forest resources. Credit accrues at the rate of one hour for each hour of actual participation. A minimum of 8 of the CFE credits shall be in this category.

Category II is defined as: other organized course work or activities not specifically in forestry or forest-related areas, but which are professionally enriching or directly beneficial to the individual in his or her present position. Examples include general sessions of SAF or other professional meetings and course work in areas such as real estate, computer science, managerial and leadership skills, public speaking, or vertebrate zoology. Credit accrues at the same rate as for Category I. A maximum of 12 of the CFE credits may be in this category.

Category III is defined as the development, preparation, and presentation of course work or activities such as described in categories I and II that requires effort beyond the general scope of the individual's normal duties or job description. Credit accrues at the rate of 2 credits for each 1 hour of presentation. Credit in this category will be issued for the mentoring of forester licensing applicants pursuant to 304 CMR 10.04(2) or (3). A maximum of 12 of the CFE credits may be in this category.

Category IV is defined as the preparation, writing and publication of forestry or forestry-related subject matter that requires effort beyond the general scope of the individual's normal duties or job description. Credit is 15 hours for each article that is technically reviewed and 5 hours for popular articles or series. A maximum of 10 of the CFE credits may be in this category.

Category V is defined as self-improvement in forestry and forestry-related subjects. Included is participation in or attendance at meetings not qualifying for category I or II such as those conducted by state boards of forestry or forestry licensing committees. Also included is self-improvement through reading appropriate technical publications or viewing audiovisual presentations on technical forestry subjects. Credit accrues at the rate of 1 hour for each hour of an activity. A maximum of 4 of the CFE credits may be in this category.

Category VI includes holding elected or appointed office or active committee assignments in the SAF, Massachusetts Association of Professional Foresters, or allied professional organizations such as the Wildlife Society, Society for Range Management, or Association of Consulting Foresters. Credit is 5 hours per year for elected office or chair of committee and 2 hours per year for active committee membership. A maximum of 10 of the CFE credits may be allowed in this category.

(3) A Licensed Forester shall submit a record of CFE credits taken to the Director with the application for his or her license renewal. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to keep a careful record of the credits taken. The Director will notify applicants with deficient CFE credits that their license will be subject to non-renewal if remaining CFE credits are not acquired by the renewal date. The Director shall make forms for recording and reporting CFE credits available.

(4) Individuals or organizations providing activities which they wish to have qualified for CFE credit should submit the activity for approval and credit assignment. No activity can advertise credit before its sponsor has received written confirmation from the Director. The sponsor shall use a Credit Approval form developed by the Director. SAF approved CFE credits need not be approved by the Director.

Successful completion of an SAF CFE or SAF Certified Forester certificate will constitute sufficient proof that the CFE requirement is met for renewal of a license.