Forestry change maker wins Sylva Trophy
The Sylva Trophy 2021 goes to Paul Raymond-Barker BEM from Llanstephan, Powys. It recognises his ‘outstanding’ role over many decades helping forestry owners and managers embrace change in Wales and England.
Chris Jones, Royal Forestry Society (RFS) South Wales Division Chairman, presented the award. He said: “Paul has been a champion of more traditional estate forest management over the years. He has also tuned in to the need for management to evolve and develop. He has embraced new ideas and convinced others to change as well.”
The award is presented annually by the RFS to recognise an outstanding contribution to forestry in its broadest sense.
Receiving his award at the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Paul said: “It has been a privilege to work in forestry. We have all the conditions to grow great timber in this country. We should never lose sight of the importance of home-grown timber.
“Over the years I have been able to host visits from foresters from Europe. They have never failed to be impressed by what can be achieved locally, particularly with species like Douglas Fir.
“The Royal Forestry Society has been a champion of woodland management across the country, for decades and through thick and thin. I’m honoured to be a part of it and to receive this award.”
Paul retired in 2019 at the age of 85. His career had taken him from national service and France to the Lord Bradford Estates in Shropshire and Tilhill. He became a partner in Woosnam and Tyler at Builth Wells before setting up his own business, Raymond-Barker & Co.
Paul had entered forestry at a time when estates were moving away from using their own direct workforce. He recognized the shift and set about developing a core of reliable teams of contractors to undertake all the necessary tasks whilst maintaining silvicultural standards.
He also specialised in valuations and forestry sales.
Paul was Chair of the South East Wales division (now integrated with the South Wales Division) .He is known to many as the former Chair of the Forestry Section of the Royal Welsh Show.
In 2016 he was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his impact on forestry and silviculture in Wales.
Chris Jones added: “He was ahead of his time in understanding the need for consistency of ongoing work to ensure that contractors could develop and invest for the future. This also led to an expansion of the type of clients he dealt with, to include a much wider range of landowner engaged in forestry.
“Paul also enabled Forest Research to establish several field trials at sites that he managed which have provided valuable information for the whole sector.”
The Sylva Trophy was donated by Patrick Evelyn. Patrick is a direct descendent of John Evelyn, author of the seminal 17th century ‘Sylva or a Discourse of Forest-trees and the propagation of Timber’.