SECRETARY OF STATE
OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL REGULATION
FORESTER PEER REVIEW INSTRUCTIONS
Peer review should be used only by applicants for forester licensure who are not eligible based upon the degree-experience combinations set out at 26 V.S.A. § 4921, endorsement from another state, or the other grandfathering provisions of the Forester Practice Act.
Please call the Office before assembling a peer-review portfolio.
The General Assembly has provided that, until January 1, 2019:
[A]n individual may become licensed as a forester without examination or possession of [a recognized degree] if he or she is determined by the Director, after due consultation with the advisor appointees, to have demonstrated through a peer-review process and production of such documentation as the Director may require, that he or she possesses both significant experience and forestry competencies commensurate to those of an individual eligible for licensure pursuant to [26 V.S.A. § 4921].
Peer review requires that the applicant develop a comprehensive portfolio of independently verifiable documentation illustrating the breadth, depth, and quality of his or her past forestry practice. Portfolios should begin with a detailed forestry resume, with corresponding employer and client contact information.
Documentation appropriate to a peer review portfolio is highly context-specific but generally includes evidence of formal or informal education and training; continuing education certificates and course descriptions; membership in professional associations; forestry work product; forest management plans; letters of reference; regulatory or environmental filings; or any other documentation tending to illustrate the competencies outlined below.
Peer review may include requests for additional documentation from the Office and its forestry advisors, and applicants may be invited to an interview where appropriate.
Successful peer-review portfolios will demonstrate:
A. that the applicant’s experience is “significant,” which is interpreted by the Director to mean that the experience is substantial, professional in nature, and achieved in contexts sufficiently varied and challenging as to suggest mastery of the principles of forestry science; and
B. that the applicant possesses competencies commensurate to those of a forester eligible for licensure based upon formal education and examination, which is interpreted by the Director to mean competencies typically the subject of accredited forestry programs and examinations, including, but not limited to:
(1) Fundamental Knowledge of Forest Ecosystem Components and Functioning:
- Knowledge of the elements of botany, zoology, entomology, plant pathology, plant physiology, and genetics essential to an understanding of higher-order ecological processes.
- Understanding of taxonomy and systematics and ability to identify dominant and/or ecologically significant components of the flora and fauna of ecosystems at regional to continental scales.
- Knowledge of the important life history characteristics of dominant and special-concern species.
- Knowledge of soil properties and processes, hydrology, water quality, and watershed functions.
- Understanding of ecological concepts and principles including the structure and function of ecosystems, plant and animal communities, competition, diversity, population dynamics, succession, disturbance, and nutrient cycling.
- Understanding of the effects of climate, fire, pollutants, moisture, nutrients, insects and diseases, and other environmental factors on ecosystem health and functioning at local and landscape scales.
(2) Measurement and Assessment of Ecosystem Components, Properties, and Functioning:
- Ability to identify, measure, and map land areas and conduct spatial analyses.
- Ability to design and implement accurate inventories and assessments of dominant or critical ecosystem components and services, ecosystem properties, and indicators of ecosystem health, including trees and other vegetation, vertebrate fauna, biodiversity, soil and water resources, timber, and recreational opportunities.
- Ability to summarize and statistically analyze inventory and assessment data, evaluate the status of important ecosystem components, describe and interpret interactions and relationships, and project future ecosystem conditions.
(3) Identification and Evaluation of Management Objectives:
- Understanding of the valuation procedures, including market and nonmarket forces that apply to ecosystem goods and services such as timber, water, recreational opportunities, carbon and nutrient cycling, and plant and animal biodiversity.
- Ability to explain the relationships between demand, costs of production, and availability of those goods and services.
- Ability to describe procedures for measuring stakeholder values and managing conflicts in the evaluation and establishment of management objectives.
- Ability to evaluate and understand the economic, ecological, and social trade-offs of alternative land uses and ecosystem management decisions at local, regional, and global scales.
- Knowledge and understanding of environmental policy as applied to ecosystems and the processes by which it is developed.
(4) Development of Management Plans:
- Ability to develop management plans with specific objectives and constraints that are responsive to ownership or stakeholder goals and demonstrate clear and feasible linkages between current condition and desired future condition.
- Ability to describe the process of adaptive management and its application to the management of ecosystems.
(5) Management Practice and Conduct:
- Ability to develop and apply prescriptions for manipulating the composition, structure, and function of ecosystems to achieve management objectives, and understand the impacts of those prescriptions at local and landscape scales.
- Ability to identify and control or mitigate specific threats to ecosystems such as insects, diseases, fire, pollutant stressors, and invasive plants or animals.
- Knowledge of the methods and procedures unique to the production of ecosystem goods and services such as timber, recreation, water, and wildlife populations.
- Understanding of how federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply to management practice.
- Understanding of professional ethics, and recognition of the responsibility to adhere to ethical standards in the practice of ecosystem management on behalf of clients and the public.
- Ability to integrate the knowledge, understanding, and skills from prior coursework and/or experience in the development of collaborative solutions to realistic management problems.