A forester is a person who practices forestry, the science, art, and profession of managing forests. Foresters engage in a broad range of activities including timber harvesting, ecological restoration and management of protected areas. Foresters manage forests to provide a variety of objectives including direct extraction of raw material, outdoor recreation, conservation, hunting and aesthetics. Emerging management practices include managing forestlands for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and air quality.
A forester was also a title used widely during Medieval times. The forester usually held a position equal to a sheriff or local law enforcer, and he could a as a barrister or arbiter. He was responsible for patrolling the woodlands on a lord or noble's property, hence the synonymous term 'woodward'. His duties included negotiating deals for the sale of lumber and timber and stopping poachers from illegally hunting. Many times wanted criminals would hide in a forest, when this occurred it was the duty of the Forester to organize armed gangs to capture the criminal. Their pay was usually above average and they could make a decent living.
Many people confuse the role of the forester with that of the logger, but most foresters are concerned not only with the harvest of timber, but also with the sustainable management of forests to (in the words of Gifford Pinchot) "provide the greatest good for the greatest number in the long term". Another notable forester, Jack C. Westoby, remarked that "forestry is concerned not with trees, but with how trees can serve people".
The median salary of foresters in the United States was $53,750, in 2008. Beginning foresters with bachelor's degrees make considerably less. Those with master's degrees are able to command salaries closer to the average. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation considers the Society of American Foresters as the principal accreditor for academic degree programs in professional forestry, both at a Bachelor's and Master's level.
Usually a bachelor's degree is considered the minimum education required, but some individuals are able to secure a job without a college education based on their experience. Some states have a licensing requirement for foresters, and most of those require at least a four year degree.
Foresters are often employed by private industry, federal and state land management agencies, or private consulting firms. 
- Dietrich Brandis (1824–1907)
- John Ednie Brown (1848–1899)
- Aimo Cajander (1879–1943)
- Carl von Carlowitz (1645–1714)
- Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400)
- Hugh Francis Cleghorn (1820–1895)
- Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–1683)
- John Evelyn (1620–1706)
- Bernhard Fernow (1851–1923)
- Douglas Hamilton (1820–1895)
- Georg Ludwig Hartig (1764–1837)
- Ralph Hosmer (1874–1963)
- Norman Jolly (1882–1954)
- Charles Lane Poole (1885–1970)
- Aldo Leopold (1887–1948)
- Tim McKay (1947–2006)
- John Muir (1838–1914) ["Father of National Parks"]
- Herman von Nördlinger (1818–1897)
- Gifford Pinchot (1865–1946)
- Christian Ditlev Frederik Reventlow (1748–1827)
- Roy Robinson, 1st Baron Robinson (1883–1952)
- Viktor Schauberger (1885–1958)
- Carl A. Schenck (1868–1955)
- Sir William P.D. Schlich (1840–1925)
- F.X. Schumacher (1892–1967)
- Israel af Ström (1778–1856)
- T. B. Walker (1840–1928)
- Jack C. Westoby (1913–1988)
- Raphael Zon (1874–1956)
- Forestry Commission
- List of forest research institutes
- List of forestry universities and colleges
- Society of American Foresters
- "Medieval Occupations". Retrieved March 2015.
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- Leslie, Alf. 1989. "Obituary: Jack C. Westoby, C.M.G., 1913-1988," New Zealand Forestry, August, p.28. Accessed: May 7, 2012.
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- SAF Accredited Professional Forestry Degree Programs
- SAF Recognized Forest Technology Degree Programs
- Center for International Forestry Research
- International Union of Forest Research Organizations
- FAO Forestry Department
- The National Forest (England)
- Forestry Commission (Great Britain)