At least 400 jobs are to be cut at the Forestry Commission in England and Scotland.
Around 300 roles will be lost in England and between 100 and 150 will go at the organisation’s corporate offices in Edinburgh over the next four years.
The losses come as a result of cuts to the commission’s budget of 26% between now and 2015 and staff were told in a series of meetings, said a Forestry Commission spokesman.
He said: “We are talking around 300 posts in England and there will be at least 100 at the Great Britain office, based in Edinburgh. This could rise to 150 depending on the outcome of the changes in England.
“This is a consequence of the spending cuts announced by the Government in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which is 26% over a four-year period.”
The spokesman said the organisation expected the job losses to include a mixture of voluntary redundancies and retirements but did not rule out compulsory redundancies.
Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These job cuts will decimate the Forestry Commission, where many staff have spent their entire careers, even before the impact of the proposed sell-off, lease and give-away of the public forest estate.
“For many there is no prospect of picking up other work because the economy is in such a poor state and suffering from the cuts in public services. The private sector jobs that the coalition spoke about have not materialised.
“These job losses will hit industries and services allied to forestry, have a severe impact on small communities and affect tourism and other services to the 40 million visitors a year to the forests.
“The only way to protect staff and avoid the wider impact on jobs and economies from the attack on the forests is to have a properly-resourced Forestry Commission to directly own and run the public forest estate.”