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MSc Tropical Forestry students publish findings from their research in Ghana

A group of MSc Tropical Forestry (distance learning) students from Bangor University have had their research published in a leading scientific publication, the International Forestry Review, the journal of theOne of the ‘log yards’ in Bobiri Forest Reserve, measured by the student research team. © James WalmsleyOne of the ‘log yards’ in Bobiri Forest Reserve, measured by the student research team. © James WalmsleyCommonwealth Forestry Association.  The article “Reduced impact logging and silvicultural interventions in Ghana: the case of Bobiri Forest Reserve”, published in September 2017, presents the findings of research which was conducted as part of a tropical forestry study tour, during which students devised, prepared and conducted their own research, with supervision and guidance from SENRGy staff members.

Reflecting on the Sanfillippo et al (2017) study, lead author Massimiliano (‘Max’) Sanfillippo, from Italy, said “The first thing that I would like to point out is that our article suggests that it is possible to improve forest management with a relatively small effort, i.e. improving the flow of information among the key stakeholders.”  He went on to discuss the study in more detail, observing “it is often thought that adoption of RIL (reduced impact logging) measures is limited because they are more difficult to implement or more costly than conventional logging, but in Bobiri, we found the main barrier to be poor flow of information.” 

Reflecting on the article, the culmination of hard work both in Ghana and the refinement of several drafts following the initial submission to reviewers of the journal, Max said “What I like about the article is that it does not criticise the efficiency of the Ghanaian forestry sector but, on the contrary, it highlights the opportunities for improvement. What really excited me about the research process was the wealth of knowledge and ideas provided by all co-authors (we are from 7 different countries!).  The methodology adopted was very important to identify the barriers in the implementation of RIL in Bobiri, and the multi-Students from the MSc Tropical Forestry programme © James WalmsleyStudents from the MSc Tropical Forestry programme © James Walmsleydisciplinary nature of the research built on the varied expertise of all group members, enabling impressive team work.”

And in terms of the findings?  Max was honest in admitting “the results surprised us; we were not expecting that the flow of information was the main hindering factor for the implementation of RIL in Bobiri. And when we carried out the research, we certainly were not expecting to achieve findings that deserved publication in one of the top journals of the international forestry sector.”

Looking back on his time studying at Bangor University, Max said “We are very satisfied by this achievement and we know that it is the result of what we have learned during the MSc in Tropical Forestry at Bangor. We learned how to organise and carry out research, how to select the most relevant references and how to devise appropriate research methods. And now we really hope that our article will be read by the right people and that they will make the changes needed to enhance the implementation of RIL in the Ghana.”

James Walmsley, Course Director for the MSc Tropical Forestry programme, said “Our students often conduct academic coursework of the highest quality, yet seldom is it seen outside the University. It’s a privilege to work with such a capable group of students and help them to publish the findings of such valuable research. This achievement also underscores the unique strength of our distance learning programmes, which enable outstanding scholars from across the world to study for an MSc programme of the highest quality, when their personal and / or professional circumstances do not afford them the option of full-time residential study.”    

Publication date: 11 October 2017