Guest Blog – Chris Simpson from Informed Tree Services
Chris Simpson is the Managing Director of Informed Tree Services and does much of his work providing training in tree and woodland management within Cumbernauld.
We invited Chris in for a Q&A about his work.
What does your job involve?
I organise and deliver training courses, and assessments, for candidates looking to learn forestry and tree surgery skills.
You have been using Cumbernauld as a training base for the past 9 years. What makes it a good location for your business?
Cumbernauld is such a central position; easily accessible whether candidates are coming from the east, west, north or south. When the Cumbernauld Development Cooperation planted so many trees around the new residential developments they created a fantastic woodland resource. That resource requires some re-spacing work, if it is going to reach its full potential, and that fits in nicely with candidates learning how to fell, clear windblown trees, climb trees etc.
What do you think is the biggest opportunity is for green businesses in Central Scotland?
Without doubt the gradual move to “carbon neutral” fuels, means there is growing interest in sourcing sustainable local timber. This makes managing small woodlands more financially realistic.
More and more the value of having woodland that is accessible to the public is being appreciated. The Central Scotland Green Network Trust is planting large areas of amenity woodland across the central-belt. These woodlands need establishing then maintaining, which creates work for local contractors.
How does your work help to improve Cumbernauld’s woodlands?
We tend to thin woodlands while training candidates. This allows more light to the woodland floor and so diversifies the field-layer flora. We focus on the removal of non-native species and favour native ones. Hopefully this will improve the wildlife habitat value of the woods around Cumbernauld, over time.
Having spent more time in the woods than most have you had any special encounters with wildlife (in Cumbernauld)?
When working in the woods you take pleasure in each encounter – rare, fleeting, big or small. From foxes darting across your path, to hearing the woodpecker in the distance, to deer watching you warily from a distance; to see the thriving wildlife reminds you that you’re just a visitor in their realm. I take as much pleasure from seeing a common wee Robin (who is bold-as-brass) as when I spot a grass snake or owl. The trick is to rejoice in the variety around you.
If there was one thing you could teach everyone about woodland management what would it be?
Just take it all in. Question everything. Don’t just walk through the woods but look at what is growing well and wonder why. Look up, look down and look around.
Chris Simpson, Managing Director, Informed Tree Services
With over three decades experience in professional tree management Informed Tree Services run a full programme of training courses for tree surgeons.