Harper Adams University has welcomed the first student to investigate the relationship between trees and the farmed environment through a Woodland Trust-sponsored research qualification.
Tim Saunders from Eastbourne, Sussex, is the first of three students that will complete 12-months of work in consecutive years for a masters of research (MRes) degree.
The project is being funded by the Woodland Trust and aims to investigate the potential value of trees in farm businesses. Three farm enterprises across the country have been selected and are currently planting new trees in preparation for evaluation.
Mike Townsend, Senior Adviser for the Woodland Trust, said: “We’ve always believed that trees are hugely beneficial to farmers, supporting sustainable production, helping protect crops and livestock, reducing loss of soil, and reducing the risk of flooding.
“Through this new course, which we’re delighted to be sponsoring, Tim will be able to do invaluable research and add extra weight to our offer to farmers who want to plant trees.”
23-year-old Tim joins Harper Adams following the completion of an undergraduate degree in ecology and environmental biology, and a postgraduate degree in environmental technology, both from Imperial College, London.
Tim, who also enjoys fishing and surfing, said: “I decided to apply for the MRes at Harper Adams because it naturally follows on from what I have studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
“I have always been interested in natural sciences and hope to be able to develop the application of this knowledge into the field and beyond just theory.
“Harper Adams has an excellent reputation for a successful mix between theoretical and practical learning, so I am very much looking forward to gaining more applied experience.”
Supervising the project at Harper Adams is Senior Lecturer and Chartered Forester, Jim Waterson. He said: “We are delighted to be working with the Woodland Trust on this three-year project as it strengthens our relationship with them both academically and within applied research.
“We hope that the work that Tim and future students complete will help farmers to understand how trees can contribute to their businesses and the potential value of that contribution.”