#TheFutureIsForestry: winning essays

27 April 2020

The  winning essays in Confor's #TheFutureIsForestry essay prize have been published. Click the links under the photos below to read them.

The essays were written ahead of the October 2019 competition deadline, with the presentation of the awards (along with the accompanying video prizes) due to take place at Westminster last November.

The event was postponed after the General Election was called - and was rescheduled for March 24th, only to be cancelled again due to Coronavirus. The winners were announced on the day the Awards were due to be presented at the Houses of Parliament by Zac Goldsmith, the Defra Minister whose portfolio includes forestry. 

Jenny Knight of the University of Birmingham was first, with Alex Malkin of Norbury Park, Staffordshire second and Ellen Humphrey of Coed Cymru in third place.

Jenny, a Doctoral Researcher in Geography and Environmental Science, challenged the idea that farmers and landowners need to be motivated to plant trees. She argued they need more support, in a range of ways, to make it happen - and says the forestry industry must tackle negative historic perceptions to help achieve this.

Alex, formerly of Tilhill Forestry, made a plea for forestry to share more good news stories and win more advocates among farmers and landowners. Ellen argued that "an alternative environmentally and financially sustainable woodland farm model is needed to reduce the dependency of landowners on planting grants".

Three essays were Highly Commended - by Nathan Adams of Bangor University and Focus Consultants, Jay Williams - formerly of Harper Adams University - and Maeve Wright, of legal firm Anderson Strathern.

Congratulations to all the essay-writers for their excellent efforts - from Confor and from award sponsors Tilhill, BSW Timber and Forestry Commission.

The winner in the accompanying video competition was Dan Haslam and Scottish Woodlands colleagues, with a forestry spin on Monty Python’s “What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?”. Watch it here. Runner-up was Pippa Paterson, formerly of Davidson and Robertson (here), while film-maker Chris Court was third (here)