James Cup win for wood science research student

David co-wrote ‘rigorous’ article on Redwoods and Red Cedar

Date posted

1 March 2017


A wood science research student has won the Royal Forestry Society’s prestigious James Cup for an article praised by judges as “scientifically rigorous yet very readable”.

The paper, which David Gil-Moreno (right) co-wrote with four others, concluded that western red cedar and coast redwood might find a “significantly increased” role in British forestry under predicted climate change.

PhD student David shares his cup success with chartered forester Dr Scott McG Wilson, Forest Research Fellow Dr Bill Mason, Forest Research’s Dr Richard Jinks and former Oxford University academic Dr Peter Savill, who all had input in The Redwoods and Red Cedar.

The paper appeared in the October 2016 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry and is part of an RFS species profile project looking at tree species with potential for wider use in Britain to enhance forest resilience. 

It can be read in full here by following the forestry knowledge hub/ species profile links.

The authors reviewed the latest research for coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and western red cedar(Thuja plicata). They looked at origin and taxonomy, climate site and soil requirements, natural regeneration, seed production and nursery conditions, provenance issues, growth and productivity, pests and disease, timber properties and uses before considering each species' potential in British forestry.

Pictures: Scot McG Wilson 

The judging panel was made up of RFS members. One judge described the articled as: “Very relevant in the 21st century for alternative conifer species on a wide variety of sites. Not too technical, nice and easy to read.”

Another said: “Given the challenges foresters face today, there is a real need to be considering alternative tree species from outside the UK ... The article is scientifically rigorous yet very readable, well-illustrated and stays focused on the species’ suitability for use in the UK without being tempted to branch out into folklore.”

For western red cedar and coast redwood, the authors concluded: "The most likely scenarios for deployment will be in mixed oceanic stands, managed under continuous cover systems, also including Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, Abies firs and western hemlock. Pure stands and clearfell-restock silviculture may also remain relevant under some circumstances."

However, they added: "There is limited evidence of the likely performance of giant redwoods within British forests."

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is an educational charity and one of the oldest membership organisations for those actively involved in woodland management.

David’s work has been supported by the Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru.

Read about Edinburgh Napier’s work on other species here

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