Tree Sparks interviews Karen, a Forestry student from Bangor University in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019.

What do you study?

BSc Forestry, 2nd Year at Bangor University.

Why forestry?

I love working in the outdoors and forestry has the perfect balance of outdoor and office work. There are also fantastic job opportunities in the forestry sector, and there are not many jobs where your decisions on forest management impact the landscape for as long as the life of that forest.

Favourite Tree?

Beech aka Fagus sylvatica. I love the shape of the tree and walking through open beech woodlands in the summer.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing forestry today?

The spread of pests and diseases is a huge threat to forestry around the world and tackling it will be a challenge, especially with the uncertain future climate due to climate change. It has the potential to limit species choice in the future for timber production as well as dramatically impact native trees to Britain, just look (or indeed not) at the elm and ash trees of Britain.

What next?

I hope that with my background of farming, I’ll be able to speak to landowners on a landscape scale and encourage a more diverse land use, which will ensure there are areas for plantations, native woodlands and maybe even agroforestry.

Advice for future female foresters?

Don’t be put off by the lack of women in forestry as in my experience, it isn’t that lacking and it’s getting better! Every person I have met or worked with in forestry, whether male or female, have been lovely and we all share a common interest in trees and a love for the outdoors!