Me & my job - Brian Muelaner, ancient tree & forestry adviser, National Trust

- What does your typical day involve?

I have three roles. For two days of the week I'm the National Trust's ancient tree adviser, for two days I'm its forestry adviser for Devon and Cornwall, and for the remaining day I'm woodland projects manager, which right now means preparing a feasibility study on using woodchip from National Trust woodland in Devon and Cornwall to provide carbon-neutral energy for its properties.

It will take about a year to see which areas are potentially self-sufficient and which aren't - and whether we need some sort of supply network between the two.

On the ancient-tree side, the thinking has changed quite a lot in the 24 years I've been with the trust. You're now much more aware of what's below the tree, in the soil.

Mycorrhizal fungi are vital for nutrient uptake, but they're affected by things like fertilisers and insecticides. You also have to prevent compaction, which means no more seats around the base of old trees, unfortunately.

- Do you get out of the office enough?

I'm in the office about 50 per cent of the time, the rest of my day is spent out and about.

- What is the best part of your job?

Looking around all the wonderful places the National Trust owns down here.

- And the worst?

Having to deal with correspondence.

- What piece of kit can't you do without?

The assessment I undertake is mostly visual. But my GPS is vital for mapping, and I always carry a tape measure. In both forestry and ancient-tree work it's handy for determining a tree's size and age.

- How do you wind down?

My wife and I like walking, and we travel quite a lot. We like India - and it has some stunning trees.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Chainsaws - Improving performance

Chainsaws - Improving performance

Battery chainsaws offer many advantages while innovative technology shelps the latest petrol models meet emissions standards, writes Sally Drury.

Chainsaws tested and reviewed: battery v petrol

Chainsaws tested and reviewed: battery v petrol

How do the latest battery models shape up against new petrol chainsaws when tested at Bridgwater College? Sally Drury reports.

Business planning: The labour challenge

Business planning: The labour challenge

With staffing becoming increasingly problematic, Neville Stein looks at the alternatives to finding good recruits.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Custodian Awards

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources