Dan is homegrown Woodland Hero

Woodland Hero 
Professor Dan Ridley-Ellis

Woodland Hero Professor Dan Ridley-Ellis

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A UNIVERSITY professor has been crowned a Woodland Hero for innovative research into the properties of home-grown timber.

Professor Dan Ridley-Ellis and his team at Edinburgh Napier University become only the second recipients of the award, established last year by the Grown in Britain movement.

In being named Woodland Hero 2016, Dan was praised for his and his team’s research into the growth and use of domestically grown timber and how this may be affected by a changing environment and by forest management.

Their work has changed the perception of the quality of the wood, enabled better processing and grading, and is providing information to support new planting that will shape the forests for decades to come, improving species diversity and resilience against pests, diseases and climate change.

Dan, head of the university’s Centre for Wood Science and Technology, which works to support UK forests and the use of their timber, said: “I am part of a great team which has fantastic support from numerous partners, growers and sawmills in the UK.

He said: “It is wonderful to get this recognition from Grown in Britain, who are creating increasing demand for home-grown timber, which makes our work ever more important and rewarding.

“We have a tremendously positive vision for sustainable forestry in the UK and are excited about the opportunities for more home-grown wood in construction and other products. While wood and trees are fascinating scientifically, our real motivation comes from knowing that we are doing something good to support growth of the forest and the economy.”

Grown in Britain brings together people who value British trees, woods and forests and products made from them. The movement is designed to help create a sustainable wood culture that connects people, companies and organisations to woods and forests and the environment they provide.

It has established a licensing scheme that allows timber to be marked to ensure the forests and woods it came from have been managed in accordance with the Government’s UK forestry and public procurement standards.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, said: “Dan and his team carried out vital research on the properties of timber grown in Britain and in particular the factors that affect the quality of sawn timber for construction.

“He is a world expert on timber grading, resource assessment and segregation of timber into the most appropriate markets and we are fortunate to have him on the our ‘team’ and leading the charge for home-grown timber. Dan’s work on standards, grading and British Standards is largely unseen, and we want to change that as he is a true Grown in Britain Woodland Hero.”