Conservation biology jobs encompass a wide range of opportunities. Many conservation biology jobs require a bachelor’s degree in science, and the conservationist should plan to spend a great deal of time outdoors. Conservation biologists can also earn a graduate degree, which will qualify them for higher-ranking positions, as well as university-level teaching employment. There are many different jobs available for the conservation biologist, including soil conservationists, foresters, and water conservationists.
Most conservation biologists work for local, state, or federal government. Private or public corporations may also employ conservation biologists. Conservationists in this line of work help companies comply with state and federal environmental laws.
Foresters are conservation biologists who work to determine the best logging methods to enhance the recreational benefits of an area, conserve an area, and protect the environment in the area being logged. They also work with individual landowners, the government, or corporations to keep the forest healthy, prevent the spread of insects and disease, and reduce the risk of wildfires.
Range managers are conservation biologists who protect grasslands. Grasslands make up much of the land in the western United States, as well as parts of Alaska. These public lands are often used for cattle grazing in addition to wildlife habitat. These lands often contain natural resources, and activities such as mineral extraction and mining take place on them. The multiple uses expected of these lands place specific demands on them. The range manager works to develop a plan to manage the various uses to avoid harming the ecosystem by monitoring the levels of soil, plants, and animals in the area, and maximizing production.
Soil and water conservationists provide support to farmers and ranchers. While they are often employed by the state or federal government, these types of conservation biology jobs often involve working with private landowners to develop programs that allow them to work on their land without harming the soil or water. Soil conservationists can also help homeowners increase the productivity of their land, prevent erosion, and educate the homeowner about state and federal funds that may be available to help better manage the land.
People interested in conservation biology jobs often get their degree through their state’s land-grant institution. While many colleges and universities offer degrees in biology, specialized degrees in conservation biology are not as widely available. Land-grant institutes often offer specific conservation biology degree programs, as well as provide opportunities for students to participate in internships and work-study programs related to their field.