Baker Consultants

The Diary of an Ecology Apprentice: Tree Climbing, Wildlife Law and Carbon Sequestration

Continuing with CPD in February (well, he is an Ecology Apprentice), Matthew met the physical challenges of tree climbing, the intellectual challenge of protected species legislation and the joy of discovering some valuable wilderness on our doorstep. Find out more about his fifth month with us in his latest diary entry:

CPD fills most of my time sheets as doing University work and learning new field and technical skills all fall under that heading. All the Assistant Ecologists (Robin, Rae & I) at Baker Consultants were fortunate enough to attend the CIEEM course: An introduction to UK Conservation Legislation. We attended three hour-long sessions online, looking at case studies and the different legislations that help to protect species in the UK. Understanding the legislation is a vital part of being an effective Ecologist, as it benefits both our clients and wildlife.

 My colleague and one of our Principal Ecologists, Jim, is a certified tree climber; he has an impressive kit with all sorts of things. Hoisting yourself up a rope is not easy, it requires lots of core and upper body strength and a very specific technique that uses muscles you did not even know you had. It was a satisfying activity to learn but more days at the gym needed for sure!

 This week I also attempted to write my first quote (which was checked by a senior member of the team before it went to the client, obviously!). I quite like making calculations and having to think about the logistics of jobs, from the desk study to the number of surveys required, travel plans and reporting. It’s something that I’ll be expected to do regularly when I’m finally a fully-fledged Ecologist.

 The highlight of the month though was to understand more about our precious moorlands in the UK. Moorlands are a fascinating habitat and I have worked on them a couple of times now since joining Baker Consultants. Moorlands can be dry heathlands or wet boggy mires that form amazing carbon capturing peat. Peatlands make up 3% of the world’s soil and contains 60% of soil organic carbon. That is a lot of carbon sequestered! We really want our moorlands in the best possible shape so they can continue forming peat and sequestering carbon. That is what we have been working on recently – peat depth and condition assessments. A forest captures a lot of carbon, but an actively forming peatland captures more. Therefore, you do not want to plant a forest on a peatland as a form of restoration, you want to just restore the peatland itself.

 All in all, February was yet another busy month of learning (and doing!) for me at Baker Consultants, and I’m looking forward to see what the next one brings.

The Baker Consultants team is highly experienced and we are passionate about what we do. If you need advice related to ecology, surveys or conservation, then please get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on