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Rachael’s role is to support research into the tree growth and wood properties of commercially important timber species, primarily through the testing of trees and subsequent preparation and testing of wood samples for the Tree & Wood Properties programme. This involves operating wood working machinery, a mobile sawmill, and a variety of specialist testing equipment. Rachael aims to continually develop and improve the efficiency of wood sample handling, preparation and testing.

Currently her main duties are within the Sitka Spruced project, where the information she collects on tree growth and mechanical properties will be used to inform the forestry sector on the possibility of reducing rotation lengths in Sitka spruce. Ultimately these data will be used to develop predictive genomic models to help inform tree breeding.

Rachael joined Forest Research in April 2018. Her work is primarily focused on improving tree growth and wood properties of Sitka spruce. She received her BSc in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Davis in 2015. Previously, Rachael has taken part in agricultural research of drought-resistant crop hybrids and worked in environmental education and public outreach.

Research Assistant
Silviculture and wood properties


Northern Research Station

Bush Estate



Related Publications


Diameter, height and volume increment single tree models for improved Sitka spruce in Great Britain

The British forestry sector lacks reliable dynamic growth models for stands of improved Sitka spruce, the most important commercial forest type in Great Britain. The aim of this study is to fill this gap by trialling a new modelling framework and to lay the foundations of a future dynamic growth simulator for that forest type. […]