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    Size matters in the tree world - Environmental Land Management student Amy Harley tells us why.

    21 March 2022

    Height, age, width and hardness are all factors that determine tree health and have a big impact on the environment in which they are situated.  

    As part of the Forestry and Forest Products module, students learn how to assess our ancient woody friends and make the right decisions for their environment.  

    Second year Environmental Land Management student, Amy Harley explains: 

    The fieldtrip to Haughmond Hill was to compliment my second year Forestry and Forest Products module on BSc (Hons) Environmental Land Management.  

    We had to measure the top height, basal area and find out the yield class of a sub-compartment in the forest, using different calculations.  

    We needed to work this out to know whether we would need to thin the woodland and how light or heavy the thinning would need to be, depending on our forest objectives of course.  

    We used a clinometer which shows us the percentage at the top and bottom of the tree which is used to work out the top height of the tree within a sample plot. 

    The top height and age help us work out the yield class which will show us our biological rotation age, or maximum mean annual increment.  

    We do this to see when the trees will be at their full potential, which shows us when to extract our timber.  

    This trip was particularly helpful as I was using the clinometer that showed us the top and bottom per cent of the tree. From this we could work out the top height of the tree. Skills like these are ones we will need on placement and in our careers, so it is good to be able to practise now. 

    My third-year placement will be with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust in Gloucester. I’ll be working with the Practical Reserves Management remit. So, trips like this and the expertise of the Harper staff will definitely come in useful there. 

    The Environmental Land Management course at Harper is so broad and covers a range of topical modules in this ever-changing world. We cover everything from soils, farming, forestry and climate change to name a few. Plus, the resources and staff are really helpful and this helps me to make the most of my degree.” 

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