Prestigious Prize awarded to Staff at the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography

 Prof. Doug Godbold ( left ) and Dr James Walmsley Prof. Doug Godbold (left) and Dr James WalmsleyDr James Walmsley and Professor Doug Godbold  have been awarded the prestigious Silviculture 2010 prize by the Institute of Chartered Foresters  for their article ‘Stump Harvesting for Bioenergy – A Review of the Environmental Impacts’, published in the journal Forestry 83(1). 

Upon opening the award letter, James said ‘It is an honour that our research has been recognised in this way.  Up to 40% of tree biomass in forests can be found in the stump and root system and at a time when the demand for biomass fibre for energy production is rising rapidly, mechanical extraction of stumps presents a new and substantial source of material.  The UK forest industry has recently commenced large-scale stump harvesting trials and there are major concerns about its environmental impacts.  We worked extremely hard to undertake and publish a comprehensive review of the literature in order to understand and communicate the range of impacts it might have.  Specifically, we were able to identify both benefits and costs, helping the forest sector to identify when and where stump harvesting can be acceptable.  Potential benefits include fossil fuel substitution, additional revenue for forest owners, improved site preparation and the potential to reduce the incidence of forest pests and diseases.  Costs include additional soil erosion, compaction and nutrient depletion, impacts on forest soil greenhouse gas emissions, loss of habitat for fungi and insects and a likely increase in non-tree vegetation, leading to increased herbicide requirements.  This award indicates that the forest industry has taken on board what we found and values the recommendations we made’.

The School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography offers a range of postgraduate and undergraduate degrees that have been accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, including an MSc Forestry by distance learning. This course is designed to allow students in full-time employment or with other commitments, and for whom a full-time University course is not a realistic possibility, to study for a high-quality, internationally recognised postgraduate qualification in a forestry-related subject area.

The award will be presented to the winners at the Institution of Chartered Foresters National Conference Dinner, which this year will be held in Birmingham on 13th April 2011.

Publication date: 23 March 2011