Three out of four conservationists and foresters are employed by either the federal or state and local governments. Soil and water conservationists are mostly employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Center, while the more general conservationists and foresters work for the USDA's Forest Service or the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
You'd think that the job outlook for conservation scientists would be rosy, but unfortunately, it isn't so. The job prospects aren't dwindling exactly, but they're not growing much. But why? With global warming and forests and species becoming extinct at an alarming rate, it would make sense that conservationists, foresters, and related careers would be booming.
Jobs have dropped off due to a few different reasons. Large-scale sales of forestlands and the ongoing financial crisis have lessened the number of available jobs. Also, the U.S. Forest service is increasingly focused on fire management and prevention, and less on timber programs. Wildfire controlling needs a different sort of worker.
That said, the government is expecting that many in this field will be retiring during the next decade, opening up more positions for young folks to step in. As well, consulting can be a very lucrative and secure way to work in this field.