About tree markers

Tree markers help ensure the sustainability of Ontario’s public and private woodlands across the Deciduous and Great Lakes St Lawrence Forest Regions, by making ‘cut and leave' decisions for individual trees. The trees are evaluated based on their:

  • growth, health and product potential
  • ability to provide seed
  • wildlife benefits

In order to carry out tree marking in a Crown forest, a person must possess a valid tree marking certificate issued by or under the authority of ministry.

The woodland management objectives and the protection of non-timber values are also considered. Tree markers are trained in forest ecosystem management and are aware of the impacts of tree harvesting. The choices they make provide the basis for good forestry practices, which when followed by careful logging safeguards the wellbeing and longevity of a forest.

Having the broad forest knowledge base and field experience of a trained tree marker increases a person’s employability in the forest industry. A tree marker with other forestry skills can often be utilized throughout the year by companies involved with multiple types of operations.

To find a tree marker that has successfully completed this course, please download the Tree Markers List. These tree markers have agreed to share their contact information through this website.

About the course

The Ontario Tree Marking Course is a 4-day course delivered by Forests Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Forestry covering the forest management systems used in Ontario. It involves field visits and exercises with classroom lectures followed by an optional 1 day of written and field examinations for those that wish to receive a certificate.

Topics include:

  • stand analysis
  • tree classification
  • hardwood tree evaluation and marking
  • pine shelterwood marking
  • habitat values (e.g., nesting cavities) and biodiversity consideration in hardwood and pine forests
  • tree marking prescriptions, which are a series of actions taken to meet forest management objectives
  • marking crew organization

To receive a Level 1 tree marking certificate, you must successfully pass a written exam and 3 field exams. After gaining some field experience, you must select and pay a Level 2 tree marker to do an operational field audit on your marking

If you pass, your certificate is valid for 5 years. You must take a refresher course every 5 years to maintain a valid certificate.

Level 1 Tree Markers can get certificates for a single tree selection system and/or a shelterwood system. Level 1 Tree Markers that wish to become tree marking auditors require the Level 2 tree marking course.

The course registration fees are:

  • Level 1 course: $2000
  • Level 1 exams: $500
  • Level 1 field audit fee is set by each Level 2 tree marker independently
  • Level 2 course and exams: $1500
  • Refresher course: $500

Who can take the course?

The Ontario Tree Marking Certificate is mandatory for all tree markers working on Crown land in Ontario.

The course is also valuable if you:

  • want to become an independent tree marker
  • want to increase your awareness of forest ecology
  • want to know more about forest management practices used in Ontario

Before you take the course

While not mandatory, you should have the following skills and knowledge before attending a tree marking course:

Preparation for Level 1 course:

  • learn to able to identify Great Lakes-St Lawrence tree species
  • learn to able to use a prism and calculate the average amount of an area covered by tree stems (basal area)
  • have knowledge about of silviculture and forest ecology
  • review the Ontario Silviculture Guide(s) and Tree Marking Guide
  • obtain orienteering and sampling skills
  • obtain skills through a diploma, other education in forestry, or on–the-job tree marking training.
  • explore the free online tree marking modules on the Learning Compass or the Canadian Institute of Forestry website

Preparation for Level 2 course:

  • complete Level 1 course successfully (mandatory)
  • have 5 seasons of experience in operational tree marking
  • learn skills in tree marking quality assurance

Preparation for refresher course:

  • hold a Level 1 or 2 Certificate

Those with an interest in tree marking can participate in a local refresher course but will not receive a certificate.

How to register

There is currently a waiting list to register for tree marking courses.

You can get on the waiting list, by logging in to the Learning Compass website and select “Tree Marking Courses (Field Courses)” from the list of other courses.

Courses are filled on a first come, first served basis. You will be contacted by email when there is a spot available for you, so please sign up with an email that you check regularly and keep it up to date in the online registration system.

The current course schedule can be found on the Tree Marker Program website.

If you have any questions about registrations and upcoming courses, please contact the Canadian Institute of Forestry at 705-744-1715 ext. 609 or submit your request by email.

Students who have already completed training may contact Forests Ontario with their questions and concerns at 416-646-1193 (or 1-877-646-1193) ext. 237, or submit a request by email.