Tilhill Forest Manager Andrew Macqueen who is based in South West Scotland won the Future Forestry Leader Award at the Confor Award Dinner 2020. Read Tilhill’s interview with Andrew following the awards.
How do you feel to have won ‘The Future Forestry Leader Award’?
In short, very humbled. I’ve never seen myself as a leader in a managerial sense but I am very grateful to be regarded as a potential future leader in silviculture. We spend so much of our time focussing on our own areas of the industry that it’s always refreshing to come together with a wide range of people from the sector and celebrate our mutual achievements.
What achievements are you most proud of?
It’s a difficult question to answer without sounding pretentious! The words of Professor Mark Anderson “Study Nature, follow her if you can” have always rung true with me. I do my best to advocate for a silvicultural approach which bases choices around what’s in front of you and a site’s inherent capacity rather than looking to impose a uniform prescription in every case. To that end I’m really keen on promoting a better understanding of soils and species diversity and it is great that I get the opportunity to work with our graduates as part of our in house training at Tilhill. Our soils are the most precious resource in the forest and I’m pleased to see soil returning to the centre of discussions in forest planning and creation.
Do you have any advice for future generations of forest managers on how to become a leader in forestry?
I think it’s vitally important that younger foresters are equipped with, and continue to develop, the core silvicultural skills required to deal with all the challenges we stand to face in the future. As with everything, understanding the future relies on an appreciation of the past. The timescales involved in our industry are simply too long to be anything of an expert without leaning on the wisdom of those past. Continuing to pass on inherited knowledge will be essential in safeguarding our future. For that reason, the Royal Scottish Forestry Society (RSFS) holds a special place in my heart as a cross generational organisation dedicated to promoting knowledge exchange and best practice in all things silvicultural. So, I suppose the best advice I could give would be to become a RSFS member and get involved.
Also keep learning and get out in the forest with the trees. Simple as that.