Alex Dobkowski

Research Forester, Weyerhaeuser Company

B.S. (Forest Management, forest soils and silviculture).


What attracted you to your chosen field?

Being able to work in an industry that requires a strong understanding of biological science, coupled with the opportunity for hands-on work in the forest environment, attracted me to forest management.

What do you like best about the field?

The aspect of working in forest industry that I like best is integrating the science and economics of tree growing to achieve the profit expectations of the timberland's business.

What are some personal challenges you have faced in your field?

Choosing to work in a science organization, without an advanced degree, limits recognition and advancement opportunities. Intellectual property restrictions, that comes with doing science in forest industry, limits recognition, and interaction in the forest science community.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

The number of industrial forestry organizations with R&D departments has declined dramatically - consequently there are not many businesses with Research Forester positions, per se. However, positions for operational foresters in the near future will be more like the Research Forester function that I provide for Weyerhaeuser Company.

What things can students do to prepare for a career in this field?

Someone interested in Forest Management needs to have a strong academic background in the basic sciences, forest soils, tree physiology, precision forestry and business statistics. A working knowledge of GIS and remote sensing will allow a forester to obtain information needed for decision-making quickly and cost effectively. Foresters are becoming portfolio managers needing to understand how to influence biological gain, how to access the financial value of biological gain, how to cost-effectively acquire reliable information for decision-making, and how to use statistical methods to make good business decisions.