Real life lecture for foresters of the future

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Foresters of the future received a silviculture masterclass from today’s experts when they spent two days learning how Forestry Commission Wales looks after the Welsh Government’s woodlands.

Students from Bangor University swapped their lecture rooms for Clocaenog forest and neighbouring Alwen forest in North Wales as members of Forestry Commission Wales’s harvesting and restocking teams brought the pages of their textbooks to life.

The second year forestry students explored the complexities of felling trees to feed an industry worth more than £840 million to the Welsh economy and considered the challenges of replanting a woodland as part of the cycle of forestry.

Neil Muir, Forestry Commission Wales’s Restock Manager, accompanied the students, along with Dylan Roberts and Bruce Theobald of the Wales Silviculture Operations team.

Neil said, “Woodlands provide rural jobs and bring economic benefits, but managing them successfully requires skill and sound judgement.

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students as they applied their knowledge gained in lectures to real life scenarios.”

The students visited a site which is ready for felling and were invited to suggest how they would fell the trees and extract the timber.

They also saw a woodland which has been clearfelled and were quizzed on what type of trees they would plant on the site, and how they would go about it.

On the second day, the students looked at replanting in more detail when they discussed the ground preparation needed to establish a crop of trees and what trees should be planted, depending on the soil type and other conditions.

Finally, they visited a planted woodland and discussed what the new trees needed to help them grow successfully.

Dr Mark Reyment, Bangor University lecturer and forestry module organiser, said, "Forestry Commission Wales has done a tremendous job of providing a real world context for some of the subjects our students learn about in lectures and seminars.

“Feedback from students once again confirmed our belief that field visits such as these are a hugely effective means of enhancing the students' experience, and delivering a quality education that's relevant across the UK forestry sector."

Caption: Neil Muir (left) and Dylan Roberts of Forestry Commission Wales’s restocking team take some of the students through the finer points of forestry.


A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Visit News at FCWales for news, images, press office contact details and links to case studies.

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email