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And we're back...

 After a three month hiatus I need to hit the ground running, as it's the final push for data collection and evaluation on the PhD. That three month 'break' was spent on placement with the Welsh Forestry Policy Team, working on the National Forest in Wales programme. Whilst that in itself is worthy of a number of blog posts, I need a bit of time to evalute the work I did, plus I need to work out what I can and can't say without breaking any offical secrets?! (I jest in part..) So presenting at the BIFoR 2021 annual meeting seemed like a great idea to get some feedback on progress, and try and get my head around what my PhD was actually like. Yes, I decided that presenting my PhD, whilst in the last week of a really challenging but brilliant placement was a good idea - don't go there.. It went, however, quite well. I really enjoyed myself, and as I only had 10minutes there was little time to make a mess of it. I only regret that I didn't have time to wax lyrical
Recent posts

Making videos! A PhD update

Well this was tricky! I've never made videos like this before and I know I have a LOT to learn! This video was created to go alongside a Poster submitted to the RRC's annual conference - online in 2020. Aside from the obvious editing and presentation improvements needed, my delightful silkie chickens took this opportunity to have a really good dust bath, adding to the distractions of road noise. Oh well! I'll practice this and try to spend a bit more time on it if I do it again, but poster and video below for the records

Twitter Conference! RGS-IGB PGF formum

 This was sooo hard! Having not been able to run the normal events this year, the Post-Graduate Forum group (PGF RGS-IBG) decided to hold a twitter conference. With an allocated day and time, participants summarised their research in 5 tweets (one every 3 mins) and then had 15mins for Q&A. It's a great idea, but even with the tweets pre-prepared I found the format pretty challenging. In particular checking that you've found and answered all the questions asked during your 15min slot was tricky. Thinking about this afterwards, I don't actually have twitter downloaded onto my phone as an app, because being pinged by things drives me nuts. However, this would have been of benefit during this conference, I could have always removed it again afterwards! Oh well a note for the next time. Anyway, whilst it's pretty easy to find the thread, I've pasted it all below for reference - it was fun, and a good way to share a (very) brief research update: Hi folks! I'm a

How it feels trying to explain being mid-PhD, mid Pandemic..

Every now and again I go on a training course where I'm reminded that I should have a three different 'descriptions' of my PhD. A two minute intro A one pager - or lift speech (elevator pitch?) A one paragraph, 2-3 sentence summary. Anyone who's tried explaining 'what you do' to someone outside of your field, you'll know how hard this is. The nature of a PhD is that 'literally everyone' is eventually outside of your field, that's the point, new and original.  For Interdisciplinary PhD researchers this just happens a bit earlier. I am mid PhD, so I am at the bottom of a deep deep trench that is full of rich rich data. I hope. I really really hope it's the proper stuff, the real stuff that when applied to theories will create fertile ground in which new knowledge will spring forth. I have some great gifs and very pretty graphs (genuinely proud of this - it shows the phreatic levels, (sort of the water table) in catchment, during and post the fl

Farming, Forestry and Motivation (Confor 2019 #TheFutureIsForestry)

The strange times of Covid-19 have impacted all of the ways in which we conduct our lives. I haven't had much of a chance to discuss this essay with many people, but I'm aware that it is being read.  I hope, when we are all released safely back into the sunshine, that some of the points may still be relevant. For now, please find the essay published on the Confor site here: and downloadable from here: Or, if you're happy reading in a browser... in full below Best wishes Jenny How can farmers and landowners be motivated to plant more trees to deliver a wide range of benefits, especially mitigating climate change? It would not be surprising if many of us feel that we are facing unprecedented change; climate change, biodiversity loss, Brexit. Within the UK, we sit within an uncertain policy

Forestry and Farming: Challenging perceptions (with a competition winning essay)

Confor (a 'membership organisation for sustainable woodland and forestry businesses' ) run a competition, #TheFutureIsForestry, that gives a voice to students and young/early career foresters. Through an essay or video submission they respond to a key question associated with forestry. The question this year was about how to motivate farmers to plant more trees. Well... If there was one area in which I felt I had something to say.... As a member of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research I was definitely placed to enter. My PhD explores the impact of perceptions, preferences and situated expertise on tree planting designs with a focus on tree planting for integrated catchment water/flood managment (a Nature based solution or natural flood management). Now this isn't the primary focus of most 'commercial' forestry, but it is certainly something that falls within their remit. With a move towards ecosystem services this is likely to become an economically v

Research and Reality - Social isolation cont..

This winter I've been focusing on the physical research part of my project. Developing a computer model of the catchment to represent a known flood event which will be used to look at water behaviour in alternative scenarios focusing on different tree based things... But it's still a real world project (even if you ignore the integral social research aspect), about a real life catchment, involving real people; and I'm a real person living in the real world. I mentioned the impact of the flooding in October, but haven't addressed the extreme weather that hit us in the new year. I live inbetween the Severn and the Wye and my catchment is in monmouthshire, so the impact was throughout my personal and professional life. And that was all before we went into lockdown due to a global pandemic... Research into the real world always has to adapt with the changes, with new knowledge, little things all the time. You think you're up to date on the research and a new paper