Print page print this page

RFS - Sylva Trophy

In 2011 a new challenge prize was introduced by the RFS, the Sylva Trophy, donated by Patrick Evelyn, a direct descendent of John Evelyn, author of the seminal 17th century ‘Sylva or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the propagation of Timber’. This trophy is presented annually to recognise a person or organisation who in the opinion of the RFS has made an outstanding contribution to forestry in its broadest sense.


Patrickevelynlefttojulianevans Sylvatrophy19 Os 140719

Patrick Evelyn, left, presents the 2019 Sylva Trophy to Professor Julian Evans for his outstanding contributions to forestry.

 Pic Credit: RFS/Brian Martin


Professor Julian Evans

The 2019 Award was presented by Patrick Evelyn to Professor julian evans at the Excellence in Forestry Awards event at the York Club in Windsor Great Park. 

A forest scientist, author and woodland owner of international renown, Professor Julian Evans, has been awarded the 2019 Sylva Trophy for outstanding contributions to forestry.

The Sylva Trophy is donated by Patrick Evelyn, a direct descendent of John Evelyn, author of the seminal 17th century ‘Sylva or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the propagation of Timber’ and is awarded annually.

Professor Julian Evans OBE, FICFor, BSc, PhD, DSc. was formerly professor of Forestry at Imperial College, and before that the Forestry Commission’s Chief Research Officer (S) at Alice Holt Research Station.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and a past President and has written, or was a principal editor of, many technical books on forestry and tree related subjects. 

He was one of the three principal editors of the Encyclopaedia of Forest Science (Elsevier 2004). Internationally, Julian has chaired UN Intersessional conferences on the Future of Planted Forests, Chile and New Zealand, and in 1997 he was appointed OBE for “Services to Forestry and the Third World”.

Julian has a long-term interest in the silviculture of broadleaved woodland in the UK and owns woodland in Hampshire.

On receiving the award, he said: “‘I am humbled, delighted but above all surprised to receive this great honour. I am doubly blessed to receive it from Patrick Evelyn, a direct descendent of the great John Evelyn, as a part of my own woodland was once owned by the great man’s sister-in-law. Also when lecturing on trees in the Bible my final quote is always from Evelyn’s Silva: ‘In a word, and speak a bold and noble truth, trees and woods have twice saved the whole world, first by the ark and then by the cross; making full amends for evil fruit of the tree in paradise by that which was born on the tree in Golgotha.’

Since Julian’s bookGod’s Trees, was published four years ago he has given over 120 presentations all over the country in cathedrals, at prayer breakfasts, to secular groups etc - offering the above quote from Sylva at each of each of them!

Nominating him for the award, Derick Stickler, Chairman of the RFS Southern Division, says: “He attends our Southern Division’s meetings and is a major contributor to our discussions; his experience and expertise is widely sort by members.”

Julian is a mentor for new woodland owners on the RFS’s mentoring programme and holds training courses in his Hampshire woodland. He has also written Getting Started in Your Own Wood and is on the Editorial Board of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry.



Sylvatrophy2018 Profjobradwell Crfsbrianmartin

Professor Jo Bradwell, recipient of the Sylva Trophy 2018

Pic Credit:RFS/Brian Martin


Professor Jo Bradwell


Professor Jo Bradwell, who is credited with transforming the research landscape for forestry in England in less than a decade, has been awarded the Sylva Trophy.

The Sylva Trophy recognises a person or organisation who, in the opinion of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), has made an outstanding contribution to forestry. The 2018 award recognises Professor Bradwell’s ‘can-do’ attitude which has enabled ambitious research (long consigned to the ‘too difficult’ box) to be carried out.

With a £15M gift to the University of Birmingham, one of the largest philanthropic gifts to a UK university, Professor Bradwell and his wife, Dr Barbara Scott, inaugurated the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). One of BIFoR’s ground breaking projects is the Free-Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) facility in old-growth oak woodland on Professor Bradwell’s Norbury Park estate in Staffordshire.

Giving the citation at the RFS Excellence in Forestry Awards, Simon Lloyd, RFS Chief Executive, said: “This is a monumental undertaking; it stands comparison with the very largest scientific endeavours and is, in its way, the ecology equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is added to the air in an oak woodland to measure the ecological response to the atmospheric composition expected by 2050. In every other way the woodland is left undisturbed as the experimental modification runs on - for a decade.”

It is a project involving 20 research groups from across the world. Already, 150 events have brought the pressing issues of climate change and forest resilience to the attention of public, professionals, and education at all levels from primary to university.

The inauguration of BIFoR has also made possible the £1M Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship Programme called Forest Edge, which is the UK’s biggest single injection of doctoral research into forest research.

In addition, Professor Bradwell has brought the existing forest stands at Norbury Park into management and added over 300 acres of forest planting with new and unusual species mixes. The estate’s commitment to sustainable best practice provides a national exemplar reaching right through the supply chain from new planting to biomass-fuelled combined heat and power and the highly-praised refurbishment of the estate’s 18th-century threshing barn with estate-sourced timber.    



Sylvatrophy2017 Sally Goodwin Wn 140717
Sally Goodwin with the Sylva Trophy presented posthumously to Peter Goodwin


Peter Goodwin

The renowned timber furniture manufacturer and one of the founders of Woodland Heritage, Peter Goodwin, has been posthumously awarded with the Sylva Trophy for his outstanding contribution to forestry by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).

The Trophy was presented to Peter's widow Sally at the 2017 Excellence in Forestry Awards at Grimsthorpe Castle by Sir Jack Whitaker, immediate past President of the RFS.

Receiving the award, Sally said how delighted the family was to receive the award, describing it as like winning the Olympics of forestry. Peter had received the Royal Forestry Society's Gold Medal for distinguished services to forestry in 2010.

 At aged 18, Peter had joined the family firm of Titchmarsh and Goodwin in Ipswich manufacturing fine period furniture.

On his father’s death, he and his half-brother ran the company for many years. Peter scoured the country for timbers suited to its manufacture - no tree of any value escaped his discerning eye. He knew where the best oak grew, where yew and walnut flourished, where burr could be found and fruit woods purchased. He bought a sawmill at Witnesham to convert and season his purchases.

 In 1994 Peter and fellow furniture manufacturer, Lewis Scott, established the charity Woodland Heritage to connect the growers of timber with all those who used it, from makers of fine furniture to makers of hurdles.

Peter was a member of the Royal Forestry Society's East Anglia Division and an energetic chairman of the division for some time. For a decade he served on the RFS Council. When acute oak decline was recognised Peter raised over £2 million to help Forest Research employ Dr Sandra Denman and her team of dedicated scientists.

He was described by one forester as " the beating heart of forestry."

The Sylva Trophy was donated to the RFS  by Patrick Evelyn, a direct descendent of John Evelyn, author of the seminal 17th century ‘Sylva or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the propagation of Timber’. It  is presented annually to recognise a person or organisation who in the opinion of the RFS has made an outstanding contribution to forestry in its broadest sense.


Previous Recipients of the Sylva Trophy