New MD for Wessex Woodland Management Ltd

 ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’

After 32 years in the Forestry industry I am delighted to be joining Wessex Woodland Management as their new MD. I consider Wessex to be one of the best in the business, with an enviable reputation for excellence and of course a team of highly respected, experienced and personable Foresters.

Having said that, my job as MD is to try and build on these core values and take the business forward. That will involve some change, not least as I continue to learn more about Wessex and the company learns more about me.

Change is not always necessary and when it is it is not always easy. Personally, I’ve found  ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr Spencer Johnson a great guide in helping me understand how to anticipate, adapt and enjoy the process of change and I’ll be taking that philosophy into my time at Wessex.

So, within the next 100 days and beyond, I hope to implement some of the ideas and plans which I have formulated in the early stages of my time in this position.

Internally, I am a firm believer in the importance of taking care of the team. All good businesses must have a professional, competent, and deeply committed team behind them and so my goal is to ensure an enjoyable and productive work environment for everyone.

From a market perspective there are number of key initiatives I’ll be focusing on:

Woodland Creation & Carbon Capture

The Government has clearly identified its focus on climate change and through the introduction of a £50 million scheme to help boost tree-planting rates, inextricably linked the two.richard baker md of wessex woodland management

Obviously, planting more trees and creating new woodland, provides a range of ecosystem benefits such as preventing flood risk, soil conservation and boosting biodiversity as well as Carom Capture, but the turning point is that government grants for planting and Carbon Capture now makes investment in woodland viable.

In addition to Government Scheme there are also a number of private companies that offer alternative routes to realise the financial benefits of Carbon Capture. We’ve linked up with Forest Carbon, a company that leads the way in UK woodland creation for Carbon Capture and who together with their partners, they have planted over 9.5 million new trees since 2006, thus removing nearly 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Whether you choose to go the Government route or work with a Carbon trading company there are large financial incentives to create new woodland. WWM is well placed to give expert advice and manage your woodland grant application through all the stages of design, planning and approval.

Timber Harvesting and Marketing

2021 brings continued demand for timber supplies to all sawmills – there’s been a steady increase in sales prices across the sector and in some areas delivered prices are going over £100/t. We have long-lasting relationships with all companies in the industry and always strive to obtain the best possible price for our clients. Demand for round timber firewood also remains strong, with demand outweighing supplies in some areas, particularly in Lincolnshire. There has never been a better time to think about felling or thinning your woodlands, to take advantage of the highest prices this country has ever seen. Learn more about our timber harvesting services.

Drone Video & Photography

Drones are becoming another tool in the forest managers armoury as they can assist in planning decisions before harvesting, planting, or restocking, along with tree health surveys and tree safety assessments. At Wessex, we now have two drones and two qualified drone pilots, and they are increasingly becoming a key art of our everyday business. One key innovation is to include a short drone video as part of an annual woodland plan, which helps both visualise the plan and provide a physical record of progress and change over the years.

Richard Baker

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