Woodknowledge Wales is delighted to see that the UK Government’s Environment Minister has been having discussions with Bangor University about their forestry programmes.  Woodknowlege Wales, in conjunction with Coed Cymru is currently in the process of helping to fund two PhDs at Bangor University looking at the impacts of using marginal land in Wales to grow trees.

Eilidh Forster started her PhD in October 2017 as part of the prestigious NERC Envison programme, in conjunction with Coed Cymru and Bangor University. As part of Eilidh’s PhD she will be exploring ways to develop environmentally sustainable forestry value chains and hopes that the outputs of the research will help to support sustainable growth of the timber sector in Wales.

The second PhD candidate, Estrella Fernandez, will be on a KESS funded programme.  This project will address the question of whether the expansion of forestry on marginal land in Wales can deliver (green) economic growth alongside climate change mitigation, water quality improvement and biodiversity enhancement. In addition Estrella will also be looking at which deployment options can best deliver these objectives, in terms of forestry management and wood product value chains. We look forward to welcoming  Estrealla in the near future.

Both Eilidh and Estrella will be supervised by staff in Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography.  This department recently hosted a visit by Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, who took part in round table discussions with staff and students involved in the school’s forestry programmes.

Below is some more information about the visit of the Minister originally published on the Bangor University website on 20 October 2017

In addition to being MP for Suffolk Coastal, Dr Coffey is the UK Government’s Environment Minister and is responsible, amongst other things, for the natural environment, biodiversity, marine protection and air quality. She sought out Bangor University due to the good name of its forestry-related provision and its close links with the sector.

Photo of UK Environment Ministers and staff and students at Bangor University

UK Environment Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey visiting staff and students involved with the forestry programme at Bangor University.

During the visit, Dr Coffey took part in roundtable discussions with SENRGy staff and students and explored ways in which the forestry profession can recruit more graduates and to see whether the profession itself is making the most of what is currently taught to forestry students. Staff from SENRGy, the School of Ocean Sciences and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Bangor) outlined the high-profile research being conducted at Bangor across a range of issues.

Speaking after her visit, the Environment Minister said:

“A thriving forestry sector is a vital part of a healthy environment, and it has been great to see the level of talent, ambition and enthusiasm this industry is attracting while at Bangor University today.”

This was echoed by Professor Morag McDonald, Head of the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, who said following the visit:

“Forestry is thriving at Bangor and our students continue to enjoy very high levels of success when it comes to gaining relevant, interesting and challenging roles within the profession. Our graduates and have secured employment with national bodies such as Scottish Woodlands, Tilhill Forestry, Natural Resources Wales and Forestry Commission England, as well as going onto various PhD projects. Our overseas students are also achieving similar levels of success with a whole host of different organisations, including national governments and international charities, building on the strong national and international links that have been established here at Bangor for over a century.”