Interview with Zoe Ryan

Forest Carbon Specialist

Zoe Ryan

Case Study

Name: Zoe Ryan
Position: Forest Carbon Specialist
Company: Fauna and Flora International

  • Bachelor of Forest Science

  • Masters of Forestry

Age: 33

What does your job involve?
In any given forest, all the tree components are half carbon by dry weight. So the amount of carbon stored in a tree is directionally proportionate to its size. Further to that, a lot of carbon is stored in the tree littler and dead leaves on the forest floor.
My job is to measure the amount of carbon stored in forests and calculate how much carbon would be emitted if those forests were cut down or converted to an alternative land use. I do that in order to shift those emissions to a carbon trading system by working with a financial consultant who will on sell the carbon in a voluntary carbon market. 

What is your role when you travel to these places?
Last year I travelled to Peru, to look at an area of forest that was under threat from conversion to agriculture, and also mining due to construction of a large international highway. 

What do you most enjoy about your job?
The best thing about my job is that I can wake up in the morning and know that I am doing something that is beneficial for the local communities that depend on the forest I might be working on.
I’m working in a sustainable industry, reducing green house gas emissions and I’m helping to conserve the world’s forests.
Another thing I love about my job is the travel involved. In the first week of my job I found myself on a dug out canoe floating down a river in Borneo with locals who were navigating the boat over various logs, and I pinched myself and couldn’t quite believe that I was getting paid for this. So I feel very fortunate to be able to experience and be exposed to such a diversity of amazing cultures, environments and of course forests.
Please note: We spoke to Zoe about her career and what she does day to day. We hope you find this useful and interesting – but please remember, that all jobs are not exactly the same and other roles with the same title may be different in many respects. You should confirm all the details of a particular job with the organisation offering it.