Senior Ecologist

Forestry Commission

This vacancy is no longer advertised
This vacancy is open at Stage 4 - External Recruitment.

Background Information on Unit

South England Forest District manages some 47,000 hectares of the public forest estate across West Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset & South Wiltshire. The land comprises over 100 different woodlands and substantial areas of heathland, grassland and wetland habitats.
Much of the land is of high importance for nature conservation, with 29,000 hectares of SSSIs of which approximately 27,000 are also designated at a European level as Special Areas of Conservation. The majority of the land managed by the District is also within areas designated for their landscape value, including 7,500 hectares within AONBs and 31,500 hectares across two National Parks. The District also supports a wide range of European Protected Species alongside a huge resource of other rare and notable species. Restoration of ancient woodlands through a long term transition is on-going in many of our productive woodlands.
The District is involved in a number of partnership projects to deliver habitat restoration and landscape connectivity. This includes the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which is one of the largest schemes of its kind in the UK. The scheme aims to restore and enhance internationally important habitats of the New Forest and covers 20,000 hectares of its open forest unequalled in Europe for the complexity and range of habitats, fauna and flora.
The District receives some 20 million day visits by the public each year and includes two major Forest Centres at Moors Valley Country Park and Alice Holt Woodland Park.

Purpose of the Job

' To lead on the provision of ecological advice and support to enable District Staff to deliver their Business Plan priorities and implement FC policy, standards and statutory requirements.

' To communicate and liaise with stakeholders regarding our commitments to the environment and nature conservation legislation

' To line manage the District Ecologist

Key Work Areas

1. Lead on the process and stakeholder engagement required to prepare plans, and obtain consents for the management of habitats and protected species ensuring that all relevant legislation and guidance is taken into account.

2. Provide support and advice to South England District staff to ensure that environmental planning processes and procedures are robust and can be delivered effectively on the ground.

3. Manage and oversee the planning, delivery and reporting of nature conservation programmes including Biodiversity 2020 targets to ensure that the District meets its commitment

4. Oversee ecological contracts including the preparation of tender specifications, tender review and contract management to ensure contract standards are met and delivered safely.

5. Ensure that all ecological standards are in place within the District to meet the UK Woodland Standard and maintain UKWAS Certification.

6. Formulate and manage ecological monitoring programmes to provide evidence for making management decisions, demonstrate success of delivery or to meet consenting conditions.

7. Engage and negotiate with staff, partners and stakeholders regarding restoration programmes and FC delivery objectives. At times this is likely to involve conflict resolution and careful negotiations.

8. Represent the FC at events and steering groups relating to partnership projects and third party engagement.

Person Specification
Experience and Professional/Technical Expertise


A degree or post graduate degree in ecology or similar environmental discipline or equivalent relevant experience
Membership of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) or a similar professional body or able to demonstrate level of professional experience that would meet membership requirements.
Excellent written and aural communication skills along with a proven ability to multi-task, prioritise and deliver projects in a timely manner
Experience in habitat management with a sound understanding of ecological issues, environmental legislation, project planning and delivery.
Practical experience in preparing and implementing policies and management plans.
A proven ability in stakeholder engagement and negotiation
Enjoy working in a challenging and complex environment


Practical experience gained in the land management/forestry sector
Experience of team/people management and contract management
Experience in using GIS
Experience in delivery or management of Environmental Impact Assessment and/or Planning Applications.

Section 2

Please note that competencies and behaviours you select are all considered 'essential' for the post.

Seeing the Big Picture

Be alert to emerging issues and trends which might impact or benefit you and your team's work

Ensure your area/team activities are aligned to Departmental priorities

Leading and Communicating

Take opportunities to regularly communicate and interact with staff, helping to clarify goals and activities and the links between these and Departmental strategy

Communicate in a succinct, engaging manner and stand ground when needed

Collaborating and Partnering

Establish relationships with a range of stakeholders to support delivery of business outcomes

Deal with conflict in a prompt, calm and constructive manner

Encourage collaborative team working within your team and across the Department

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