PhD: Developing environmentally sustainable forestry value chains
My first degree was a MEng in Chemical Engineering from Strathclyde University. Since graduating I have had a varied and interesting career that has taken me from weather forecasting at the Met Office to working for one of the UK’s leading recyclers of organic waste to land (anaerobic digestion and composting).
In 2013 I became interested in forest conservation after being inspired by a colleague who was working with an organisation that aims to safeguard forests as natural capital. I enrolled in the MSc Tropical Forestry (part-time, distance learning) at Bangor University and continued to work alongside it. I completed the degree in 2017 after a 12 month break to have a baby in the middle.
During the MSc I developed a deep interest in sustainable land use – in particular the important role that trees play. For my dissertation I travelled to Costa Rica (with my 8 month old) to carry out field work on a silvopastoral dairy farm at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in order to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the dairy system.
During my PhD I will continue to develop skills in LCA, this time with application to timber systems. I will be using LCA techniques to help identify opportunities and potential methods for improving the sustainability of timber value chains. I hope that the output of this research will help lead to more afforestation and expansion of existing woodland.