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Forester Wins Fulbright Senior Scholarship


Forester Wins Fulbright Senior Scholarship

University of Canterbury School of Forestry Associate Professor and New Zealand Institute of Forestry Councillor, Euan Mason, has been awarded the Fullbright Senior Scholarship for 2006.

Professor Mason will take up his scholarship in October, collaborating with scientists at Oregon State University and Auburn University.

Professor Mason has spent much of the last 13 years developing hybrid models of tree growth – ones that combine growth and yield models with physiological models to better model how trees grow in a range of situations.

Professor Mason noted that forestry is crucial to New Zealand. “Our plantations generate $3.1 billion per year in exports and make up 4% of GDP. In terms of global warming forestry is central to New Zealand earning carbon credits and playing its role as a good global environmental citizen. Our native forests are a key part of our national heritage and require protection from introduced pests.”

“If we can build better integrated (hybrid) models we can both make an important contribution to basic science around tree growth while at the same time providing essential advice to those who manage forests about how to do it much better.”

Professor Mason also noted that these integrated models are likely to provide much better information about how much carbon is incorporated into trees, which is crucial to New Zealand as it is used in calculations involving carbon credits.

The American scientists Professor Mason is collaborating with have unique datasets on which he can test his integrated models. One of the benefits from this collaboration is that the research will lead to shared supervision of postgraduate students, and visits to New Zealand by American colleagues.

NZIF President Ket Bradshaw congratulated Professor Mason on his award, noting the project will produce scientific, academic and cultural benefits.

“It is welcome recognition of the quality of Professor Mason’s work, and of the importance of forestry to the New Zealand economy and environment.”

[ends]

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