Colour nr-140

#WomenInForestry – meet Katy Johnson

Forestry South Africa consultant

Website, social media and promotions portfolio


  • BSc (hons) Biology
  • PhD Biology
  • Over a decade of experience in the television and digital media industry

Forestry career: 4 years

My adventure into forestry started in 2016 when I was asked to develop the Forestry Explained website concept. A digital platform that presented forestry and the forestry sector in South Africa to the wider public. The hope was to dispel some of the misconceptions about the industry and provide those who were interested, with a wealth of information about forestry and the forestry value chain. My job role expanded with the inclusion of the Forestry South Africa corporate website, the Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group’s website and social media platforms. I am also involved in FSA’s communication and promotions portfolio, which is both exciting and incredibly challenging, requiring me to learn as I go and hit the ground running.

I have fallen in love with the forestry sector and how it impacts our lives without most of us realising. The fact that it is a sustainably managed, natural resource, which can be recycled excites me. I love the patchwork nature of forestry, with its hidden conservation spaces, recreational opportunities and breath-taking vistas. I love the people involved in forestry; their jobs may be diverse but their passion for the industry brings them together. I love spending time understanding the jobs of others in the industry, visiting upliftment programmes in rural communities, or spending time with the scientists and researchers changing the face of forestry. I’m often overwhelmed by the diversity of forest-based products that go far beyond those we take for granted such as toilet paper, pencils and roofing trusses, and includes low-fat yoghurt, washing powder, creams, glues, paints, flavourings, sweeteners, green fuels and clothing. The thing I love most is that like the trees, this is an industry which is constantly growing and evolving, and I believe will help us solve many of the global challenges we currently face.

Nothing is impossible, the only hurdles are those we set ourselves. You have a responsibility to yourself not to let your gender be a hurdle to you. Forestry was once a ‘mans world’ but advances in technology have removed the physical aspect of forestry which created this gender imbalance. It means that no role within our diverse sector is out of your grasp if you are willing to put the effort, time and dedication into it. Forestry is a sector that rewards those who go the extra mile, it is an industry where hardworking individuals will be noticed, but more than this, it is a family where dreams become realities.

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