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First Viking Bursaries awarded
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Two forestry students from the University of Cumbria’s National School of Forestry will share the first-ever RFS Viking Bursary totalling £2000 as they look to complete separate ground breaking research.

James Broom, who is studying BSc Forest Management, will use the bursary towards his dissertation on The effect of dieback on ash tree growth rate across Suffolk and Norfolk.

Mauro Lanfranchi will use the bursary towards his PhD on Forest management and below-ground litter: Carbon dynamics of UK forest soils.

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First Viking Bursary recipients: From top, James Broom and Mauro Lanfranchi

Dr Andrew Weatherall, Senior Lecturer in the National School of Forestry, who supervises both James and Mauro, said: “Dissertation supervision of good undergraduate and post-graduate students with interesting projects, like James' and Mauro's, is one of the best parts of my job. I am excited that this first RFS Viking Bursary will enable them to collect sufficiently robust data to truly test their research questions. I look forward to reading the results of their experiments.”

The bursary was established thanks to a generous bequest by Mrs Sheila Jorgensen, a former RFS Yorkshire Division member, who requested the RFS set up a bursary to be known as the Viking Bursary, for study and travel. This bursary is part of the RFS Future Foresters programme.

RFS Yorkshire Division Chairman, David Carter said: "At a time when the forestry sector is faced with a skills shortage, the RFS Future Foresters programme aims to encourage more talented students at every level to pursue their passion for forestry, share their research with the forestry community and further their careers in the sector.

"We are delighted that the very first Viking Bursary awarded will be used to conduct such important research."  

James will be comparing growth rates at different sites between ash trees within five varying degrees of dieback categories and assessing the differences in growth rates across the different yield classes of ash trees with dieback.

Mauro will use the bursary to support the first field experiment in his PhD study (co-supervised by Dr Elena Vanguelova of Forest Research), investigating the effect of forest management practices on forest soil carbon pools and nutrient content within Conventionally Harvested and Whole-Tree Harvested sites. He hopes his work will improve our knowledge of how forest management that considers the soil carbon pool can help combat climate change.

Both students will submit an article on the results of their research to the RFS Quarterly Journal of Forestry. More details on the Viking bursary available here.