Help at hand for ‘Cinderella’ habitat

Published Friday, 12th July 2019 in Study at SRUC news

Gus Routledge spending time among trees
Gus Routledge spending time among trees

A Countryside Management student has been awarded a £200 grant to help with the costs of his final year project at Scotland’s Rural College.

Gus Routledge is the first student to win a bursary from Reforesting Scotland for his dissertation looking at the potential for expanding montane scrub woodland – nicknamed the ‘Cinderella’ habitat – in Scotland.

He will put the money towards the cost of buying a new laptop to enable him to use mapping software, and hopes his research will help organisations better target their efforts to revive this habitat in the Scottish hills.

Gus, who studies at SRUC’s Craibstone campus in Aberdeen, said: “It's great to have been given a helping hand with my dissertation project by Reforesting Scotland.

“It's an organisation that's looking to make a real difference to land use in Scotland for the benefit of people, nature and the planet as a whole.

“I'm glad they saw my project as worthy of the grant and am looking forward to getting on with the fieldwork this summer. Time amongst the trees is always time well-spent.”

Reforesting Scotland, which aims to promote a sustainable forest culture and economy, will provide up to ten grants a year to undergraduate or MSc students who are preparing for their dissertations.

Gus’s supervisor Nicky Penford, who is one of the directors of Reforesting Scotland, said: “We are very pleased with the standard and relevance of our first successful bursary application.

“The practical research Gus is undertaking to assess potential areas for montane willow expansion is very useful and will enable targeted initiatives to encourage these plants to recolonise suitable sites, providing a valuable habitat for a range of other species.

“Gus will develop important field work skills which will add to the knowledge he has gained from the Countryside Management course at SRUC in Aberdeen.”

For more information about the bursary, contact Nicky Penford at: nicky@farmland.plus.com

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