Green Jobs in Land Resource Management - dummies

Green Jobs in Land Resource Management

By Carol L. McClelland

Whether you want to build a sustainable future through conservation, bring a healthy balance back to the environment through restoration, or simply make sure the land is well cared for, land resource management is a field rich with opportunity for a green career transition. As you start your eco-conscious job search, make sure to remember this often-ignored field.

Land management consists of managing a wide variety of lands including forests, croplands, rangelands, national parks, public lands, and urban areas. In addition to providing stunning views and beautiful vacation destinations, land provides us with a variety of resources including wood products, water, and energy. In addition, the land and vegetation perform critical services for us by cleaning the air we breathe, filtering the water we drink, and capturing the carbon we emit into the atmosphere.

Depending on your interests, you may be drawn to one or more of the following activities within land management:

  • Land Use or Zoning: Generally handled through local government, each piece of land, whether developed or undeveloped, is governed by land use regulations or zoning.

  • Conservation: The goal of conservation is to protect habitats from irreparable damage. In some cases a particular species is at the core of the conservation effort.

  • Restoration: Bringing damaged lands and waters back to a renewed state in such a way that they function as they did originally.

  • Remediation: This term is typically used to refer to restoring an area that has been polluted or contaminated by prior uses. The land may need to be remediated for human health reasons or because the land is slated to be redeveloped for a new purpose.

An increasing number of land owners and managers are managing their land holistically or sustainably, using a triple bottom line approach that balances financial results, environmental impact, and community impact. Through monitoring and sustainable land management practices, land owners and managers make changes to restore the land. According to Holistic Management International (HMI), 30 million acres of land worldwide use its system of holistic land management. Results include improved biodiversity on managed lands, increased profits, better water conservation, restoring land, and increasing the land’s capacity to support wildlife and domestic herds. By improving the land’s function, carbon is naturally sequestered in grasslands and soil. HMI reports a dramatic difference between holistically managed land and traditionally managed land.

As the interest in domestic renewable energy sources grows, land use issues are likely to take center stage as utilities and other energy developers scope out where to site solar farms, wind farms, geothermal plants, and smart grid transmission lines.

If a career in land management is calling you, consider exploring some of the following potential jobs

  • Studying the land: Biologist, geologist, botanist

  • Evaluating land issues: Land law examiner, land surveyor, engineer, land use planner, realty specialist, land investment analyst, soil consultant, environmental policy analyst, risk analyst, urban planner, regional planner, energy planning, energy policy analyst, environmental planner

  • Conservation and restoration: Rangeland management specialists natural resources specialist, conservation biologist, environmental protection specialist, habitat conservation specialist, land rehabilitation specialist, mining reclamation specialist, soil and water conservation, landscape architect

  • Recreation uses: Outdoor recreation planner

  • Protecting the land: Firefighter, fire management officer, law enforcement, ranger