Winning forest photo supports trees for Africa

Scientists from Forest Research at Alice Holt, near Farnham, have donated the £400 prize money they received for their winning photograph in a Europe-wide competition to Tree Aid, the charity that supports Africans out of poverty by planting trees.

View from the Flux tower









Matt Wilkinson, a scientist who works on the role of forests in climate change, entered the picture – an unusual shot of the top of the forest canopy taken from a 26-metre (85-feet) tower in the forest - into a competition to illustrate scientific research that contributes to industries based on living materials, such as the food, agriculture, forestry, biotechnology and marine sectors. The photograph, taken by a ‘phenocam’ which takes pictures looking down on the forest every 30 minutes during daylight hours to record seasonal and cyclical changes in the forest, proved to be the winner.

Commenting on his success Matt said:

“Tree Aid carries out vital work in Africa, growing trees to provide food and income and to protect the environment; our win gives us a chance to support them. It is hard to imagine a bigger contrast than between the lush green forest canopy in our picture and the arid landscapes in which Tree Aid works”

John Moffett, TREE AID CEO says “Our sincere thanks go to Matt and those from Forest Research for donating their prize money to TREE AID.”

“Over the last 30 years our approach has led to the planting of 10 million trees to help half a million people to lift themselves out of poverty. With support from the likes of individuals and organisations like Forest Research we aim to plant many more.”

The tower in is used for a range of scientific research and experimentation. Information about research using the tower and cameras to examine the effects of climate change on forest trees is at



Phenology is the study of seasonal and cyclical changes in nature.

TREE AID is an international development organisation working in the drylands of Africa, using agroforestry to protect the environment and relieve extreme poverty.

The Bioeconomy Photo Competition invited researchers to submit photographs which conveyed some aspect of research in any sector of the bioeconomy – food, agriculture, forestry, biotechnology and marine. The overall winner was announced at the CommBeBiz conference, ‘Bioeconomy Impact 2016’, on the 11February in Dublin, Ireland.