How to Become a Faller

Tree felling is an important part of the logging industry that involves cutting down trees for a variety of purposes. Fallers are trained workers that use a variety of equipment to cut down trees.


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What does a faller do?

Fallers are forestry workers that apply their knowledge of the characteristics of trees and felling techniques to control fall directions and minimize damage to trees. They choose the designated trees to be cut and assess a variety of factors such as location, terrain, and weather conditions. They often saw back-cuts to control the fall directions and they insert wedges and jacks behind saws to prevent the saw from binding. They also measure felled trees, appraise their characteristics, and cut them in certain lengths. Fallers often use supporting poles or limbs and place them under felled trees to avoid splitting and prevent the logs from rolling. They also load logs and woods into vehicles either by hand or using winches and loaders. Fallers are responsible for clearing brush from their work areas and cut other trees and saplings to avoid hazards.

What kind of training does a faller need?

Fallers typically need at least a high school diploma. Many state forestry or logging associations provide training for tree fallers. Aspiring tree fallers learn how to cut down very large trees manually in safe manners with minimal damage to the felled trees and surrounding environment. They often complete courses in environmental compliance, management practices, reforestation, safety, and business management. Most fallers learn their skills through on the job training. They learn the procedures of falling, the required safety precautions, and how to use falling equipment. They often begin by working with experienced workers and move on to independent tasks once the gain the necessary skills and experience.

What are the prospects for a career as a faller?

Employment of fallers is expected to decline slowly for all professions, decreasing 3% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The consolidation of the logging industry and increased foreign competition will contribute to the employment decline.

Job prospects should be fair due to the need to replace fallers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do fallers make?

As of February 2010, the middle 50% of fallers earn annual salaries between $29,874 and $45,264. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $52,629 (2).

A career as a faller is a great choice for people with a strong interest in forestry and cutting down trees for many different purposes. Fallers must have a solid understanding of a variety of felling techniques and the various characteristics of many different types of trees. Physical stamina and strength, mechanical aptitude, and good coordination are necessary characteristics. Fallers must have good communication and be able to effectively work as part of a team. They must be quick on their feet and be able to make effective decisions in hazardous conditions.

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