Forest Carbon Specialist – Zoe Ryan

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the actions of humans. This can be measured. We can compensate for carbon increase in one area, by creating less carbon in another area. This is known as carbon offsetting. Purchasing carbon credits, investing money in the development of alternative projects such as wind or solar power or reforestation, reduces our carbon footprint.

Undertaking some form of maths significantly increases the number of university courses you can enrol in, as maths is a pre-requisite for many science-based courses. Having a basic understanding of maths also gives you a good foundation for a number of skills that are highly desired by employees, such as the ability to do a basic cost-benefit analysis, analyse statistical data or generate new information from existing data.

My job is to calculate the carbon stock of forests and the potential emissions if they were deforested. This calculation is used in the selling of carbon on the voluntary carbon market. I use equations to determine forest biomass, and apply various ratios and formulas to work out the forest carbon stock for different trees. I monitor changes in land use to find the rate of deforestation. Increasingly I am using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to undertake mathematical calculations such as the amount of forest in a region..

What I like most about my job is the chance to travel to various forests in developing countries around the world. I also very much like working in the forest conservation industry, and helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Maths: Make your career count series was produced by AMSI and funded by the Australian Government under The Improving Mathematics in Schools (TIMES) project. Visit the Maths: Make your career count website at

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search