Rachel Orchard is one of the tree and wood trainees working at our site in Doris, Aberdinshire. As a newcomer to the forestry sector, she won the Lantra AlBS Best Student of the Year award. After playing for about a year, we asked Rachel for ideas on modern forestry, the challenges it faces, and how young people can grow in this industry.
Founded in Doris, Aberdenshire, I have been a wood and wood practitioner with forest and land Scotland for over a year. At the time of the outbreak, I had just completed my undergraduate degree in online arts and sciences, and I quickly realized that I did not need an office job. So I started looking at foreign industries. Although I knew what it was like to work in the forest, I always loved trees and was eager to learn more.
Fortunately, the outdoor lifestyle has been exactly what I expected. The wild breeze and the wet or majestic sunshine make the weather unique every day and are a major part of most conversations with co-workers!
As part of the Duris team, my job is to take practical action to make FLS forests run smoothly. This is a unique role, as most forests serve a variety of purposes, such as recreation, housing, and sustainable wood production. I find the work encouraging and I have great satisfaction in using the chainsaw to complete the physical impact of the tree fall safely.
During my practice, I learned many aspects of the forest industry. Site visits often raise concerns about current challenges, but they also create excitement for new opportunities. There are still many limits to evolution in forestry. For example, I visited both a private and FLS tree nursery to see the process of growing seedlings. This important process may seem simple at first, but it is fraught with challenges.
- Both facilities I visited are expanding to meet the growing demand for trees. This is partly due to the government’s efforts to reduce climate change. What this means is that the nursery centers need a lot of seeds, a lot of land and extra resources, which is not easy.
- Climate change makes it difficult to choose which species to grow. Will the species we plant now survive from pests and diseases that could reach Scotland? What species grow in hot climates? Should we want to keep our forests indigenous or should we look for species and varieties that can work better here?
- Different forests are known to be more resistant to pests, diseases, and climate change. To do this means collecting seeds from different species and species to give our forests a chance to thrive in the future.
I really enjoyed learning and discussing these challenges. Since forestry is often measured in decades, it is important to make the right decision now.
FLS’s own forest adaptation program is testing many new species.
- Western Red Cedar
- Western Hemlock
- Macedonian pine
- European Silver Fir
- Pacific Silver Fir
This means that future forests will vary greatly in type and age. I think this change will help to solve the biodiversity emergency by creating more space for wildlife. This is important because forests can be regenerated only if they have a balanced relationship with their inhabitants. Think about how Jay planted an acorn that could support and propagate oak. I think they need a lot of different forests to meet human needs. By reducing pests, diseases, and climate hazards in our forests, we can ensure adequate and sustainable environment. This will reduce our dependence on wood overseas, further reducing the carbon footprint of wood-based products.
Most broadlift seedlings are made of plastic tubing and wood to protect deer. One of the tasks he performed was to remove the remaining trees from the deer, which were constantly grazing. If these tubes are not collected, they will pollute the environment and damage trees intended for protection. I think we should be diligent in eliminating the legacy of these plastic tubing while building plastic-free tree trunks. While the trees are mostly alive and certainly bigger than us, I don’t want them to pick up plastic tubing for future forests.
There is a strong sense of community in the forest, which is a great place to learn about original forest management practices. The difference in knowledge and depth among my colleagues means that I have learned about different issues.
- How to use rebirth instead of implantation
- Soil enrichment with broad leaf rot
- Implantation of mixed species to improve and maintain mycorrhizal networks
This community network is the key to learning new forests if you have decades of experience like mine. It has helped me to understand forest development, and it ensures that we can learn from past mistakes, and that best practices continue. This knowledge sharing is also available through the Scottish Forrest Open Access Database. Provides detailed information to forest experts to support management decisions in collaboration with other programs and tools. However, there is still room for improvement. Adding an accessible database to all forest owners and managers to record their experiments and growth is a great resource. It can strengthen our understanding of which exercises you are doing well, and encourage creativity to overcome challenges.
Considering the future, I hope to play a positive role in improving the forest landscape over the next decade. That role is on the ground right now but when I feel ready I want to go to a management or planning role. Many older forests want to pass on their knowledge to new income earners, but much can be done to spread the word about the various forestry worlds. Community Woodland groups, for example, can play an important role in engaging people of all ages and backgrounds to learn more about forest opportunities. Similarly, teachers of all ages can be encouraged to highlight forest work for those who need it outdoors.
In addition, the Scottish Government can provide forest and ecological training, such as climate reduction and adaptation practical training funds. This provides an accessible way for people who want to enter the industry to develop skills.
Above all, in my opinion, we have to convince people that the forest is not just for men with big beards, beards and 6’7 “(none of my team is more than 5’8!). We are trying to represent you by sharing our work on Instagram.
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