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Conservation Scientists Career Video

Description: Manage, improve, and protect natural resources to maximize their use without damaging the environment. May conduct soil surveys and develop plans to eliminate soil erosion or to protect rangelands. May instruct farmers, agricultural production managers, or ranchers in best ways to use crop rotation, contour plowing, or terracing to conserve soil and water; in the number and kind of livestock and forage plants best suited to particular ranges; and in range and farm improvements, such as fencing and reservoirs for stock watering.

Video Transcript

When today’s farmers and ranchers need help with their farmland, they count on conservation scientists. To help resolve problems with soil conservation or range management, working in this field often means literally working in a field! Conservation scientists usually start by analyzing how land use patterns contribute to problems identified by farmers, such as overgrazed rangeland, soil erosion, or a shortage of water reservoirs for cattle. These scientists review the results of lab work on soil samples. They record, analyze and map data to formulate plans that will correct problems without endangering the environment, for example using better plowing and planting methods. They must consider laws, costs, and the time required to achieve improvement. They may put their plan into action and monitor progress, or they may follow up with others who implement their plan. Like most jobs in scientific research, these scientists need to possess a healthy degree of curiosity, detailed knowledge of their field, and the discipline required for a trial and error approach to problems. While most conservation scientists hold a bachelor's degree, often in a natural science, a doctorate is required to lead research projects or to teach. Conservation scientists enjoy the challenge of giving nature a little extra help.