Tilhill Forestry, October, 2019

My Job as a Forest Manager

by Forest Manager, Hannah Richardson, South West Scotland.

My last few blogs have been centred around specific topics so for this piece I’m going to bring it back to my day to day job as a Forest Manager

Almost a year and a half ago, when I first started writing my blog, I had just finished my degree in Environmental Science and was learning whilst on the job. Needless to say, my brain was a little frazzled. However, over the last two and a half years I have soaked up as much knowledge as I can and feel significantly less frazzled as a result!

Recently I have had the exciting and challenging task of transitioning from an assistant role to a management role. Taking over the management of several forests that I have already spent time working with, this has been a learning curve and I am enjoying the new roles I have to play in this job.

Currently I am splitting my time between; supervision of harvesting and ground preparation, writing forest plans, applying for grants, complying with Statutory Plant Health Notices’ (SPHN), weeding and contract management. The ability to multitask and still get the job done to a high standard has been a crucial skill in maintaining all of these operations, as is the confidence and trust I have in my contractors.

My life this week:

Monday – Client meetings

Tuesday – Return from a meeting and costing up weeding, pruning, heather spraying and fertilising

Wednesday – Pre commencement meetings, admin, securing plants

Thursday – A site visit for fences, road inspection, stock check and gate checks followed by scope for a new restocking site.

Friday –A Site visit to look at restock crops, site notes, client meeting organisation, creation of work packs for upcoming operations and powerline discussions.

Despite my obsessively colour coded diary looking more like a headache than organisation, I am glad to be busy and doing such varied work, and it seems like the diary is only going to get fuller.

With increasing targets for afforestation, the continuation of restructuring works within established forests, and continued numbers of SPHN’s, the jobs are going to continue to line up. In order to complete these jobs, we rely on a number of trusted contractors.

There has however started to be a realisation that in order to meet these growing workloads more contractors will be required, as will managers. Therefore, there needs to be investment now into the education of the managers and contractors of the future. To ensure there is enough awareness about the roles that are available in the forest industry.  

Tilhill Forestry is working hard attending careers fairs and agricultural shows, visiting schools as well as making the most of the social media platforms to encourage and bring awareness about joining the industry.  Who wouldn’t want to work in the landscapes we get the privilege of enjoying?