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If you're the type of person to find yourself outdoors despite the temperamental season changes the Canadian weather brings or if you've ever been nicknamed the tree-hugger by your peers, perhaps a career in the forest industry is your best fit.

Aside from the mill work and environmental engineering positions associated with forestry, we take a look at roles not often discussed, but play a significant role in the industry.

Let's say that aside from your passion for the environment, you're also studying toward your degree in business. With your itching desire to get out into the corporate world, why not fuse your two interests? The business side of forestry is much more intricate than we think, with a range of jobs that ultimately help to shape the industry.

"There's everything from HR managers to health and safety to marketing jobs, and sales," says Jason Koivisto, manager of innovation and market development at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. "A lot of those kinds of professional jobs tend to be located wherever the corporation has its head office."

Monica Bailey, director of communications for the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), says companies within the forest products industry look for individuals who can study the trends. "They'll look at things like, 'where's the economy going in Canada? What's happening in new markets? Where can we diversify our products? [And] how can we better align our systems at the mill level and develop better production?'"

An Ottawa-based advocacy group, FPAC is the national voice for the Canadian pulp, paper, and lumber industry representing companies like Tembec, Resolute Forest Products, West Fraser, and Miller Western Forest Products. With a number of business roles within those companies, Bailey says those individuals play an integral role in molding the vision and ensuring opportunities are met.

"A lot of companies have hired business analysts to predict, check, and see what's going on in the marketplace, what opportunities exist, and advancing our market reputation," says Bailey. "They're kind of like the big thinkers; they'll sit in the corporate office and they'll manage, run, and see what the sales team is doing. They'll work with the business development team, the scientists, and research and developers."   

FPAC introduced, a career resource for new grads which includes corporate positions like IT specialists and logging and forestry supervisors. The average hourly wage for an IT specialist is $50, while a supervisor's is $38.

"There's a whole section on the careers in the forest products industry," says Koivisto. "In the mills, you'll see them hiring economists—so folks who can help them do risk analyses, HR, IT specialists."

Aside from the plethora of business opportunities in forestry, the industry also strives to promote a good work-life balance. "We want people to know the industry is high tech and relies a lot on research and development to take us to that next level," says Bailey. "People who end up in our industry will stay for years because they see that there is proper work-life balance, you get to make a great living, and make a difference."

Photo: shironosov/THINKSTOCK