Interview with Quinton Pakan

Forester Regeneration

Quinton Pakan

Case Study

Name: Quinton Pakan
Position: Forester Regeneration
Company: VicForests
Qualifications: Diploma of Forestry, Technician
Age: 31

What are the responsibilities of your position?
I ensure harvested coupes are regenerated and returned to being productive forests for the future. I am involved in tasks such as seed collection, site preparation, site establishment and regeneration surveys.

What does a typical day involve?
A typical day really depends on the time of year and what season we are in as regeneration activities are cyclical.
Seed collection can occur year round but is typically conducted for 8 months of the year. For me this involves aerial flowering assessments to identify a possible collection area, and ground truthing those areas to confirm a harvestable crop. We compile a collection plan and allocate a collection contractor to the site, then supervise the collection, extraction and storage of the seed for site establishment.
Site preparation and establishment are the busiest times of the year. Each coupe that is harvested needs to be regenerated. We prepare a seed bed by burning the residual slash or through mechanical disturbance with bulldozers and excavators. When this is complete the area is typically sown using a helicopter, though smaller areas are sown by hand.
Once the seedlings have established (after eighteen months) a regeneration survey is conducted to confirm the correct stocking has been achieved and any unstocked areas are identified for re-treatment the following season.
Once a coupe has a successful regeneration survey it is handed back to Department of Sustainability and Environment and placed back into the cycle for future harvest.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?
The best thing about my job is the fact that I don’t spend too much of my time in an office. I can spend a lot of time in forests and actually see the results of what we’re doing. 
To see a coop come back after its been regenerated and harvested is very satisfying.
Another great aspect of forestry is that wherever you are around the world, a tree’s a tree whether its got needles or leaves so consequently you can travel quite a bit within the industry. 

Do you find your job satisfying?
The public perception about forestry is quite skewed and inaccurate, in that many believe that what we are doing is depleting natural resources when instead we are encouraging and nurturing their development and existence.
My job makes a difference because I’m contributing to a sustainable industry and we’re producing a product that can be harvested and regrown indefinitely, which is very satisfying.
Please note: We spoke to Quinton about his career and what he 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.