Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Anna McWilliam

Research interests:

Ecology and conservation with a focus on uplands, peatland restoration and forestry.
Water quality.
Biomass and biochar.

Career history:

Prior to starting her PhD, I completed an MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation and a BSc (Hons) in Science. Since then, I have worked as an Ecologist on a variety of research projects in association with The Golden Eagle Trust, RSPB, GWCT, Scottish Natural Heritage, and The James Hutton Institute.
I have designed and run research projects such as the Scottish Grey-Partridge Recovery Project, which was accepted into INTEREG PARTRIDGE. I advised farmers on habitat management and informed Scottish Government policy. As Senior Research Assistant at Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, I surveyed and worked with protected species, SPAs and SSSIs. Surveys included: VPs, transects, great-crested newts, INNS, upland vegetation, woodland, fox scat, small mammals, mustelids, raptors, ravens, BBS, red/black grouse, hen harriers, grey partridge, invertebrates, moths, winter bird counts and radio/sat tracking. I was personally commended by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, for my work researching white tailed eagle reintroduction.
Most recently I joined Forest Enterprise Scotland and latterly Forestry and Land Scotland, I was introduced to silviculture and peatland restoration in detail. Working as an Environment Ranger, Harvesting Supervisor and Forester, I managed contracts and sites of environmental and felling operations, including on deep peat and peatland restoration. I work with contractors who are inventing the machinery to rectify the past planting on deep peat e.g. using feller bunchers on wide tracked, low impact machines, mulching heads and peat hag re-profilers and addressing legacy issues.
I have now taken my combined interests in conservation and forestry to begin a PhD in innovative brash management to enhance water quality following peatland restoration and forestry operations.

Active research projects:

Innovative brash management to enhance water quality following peatland restoration and forestry operations.

This PhD project aims to develop innovative brash management techniques which can have applications within forestry management and potentially enhance restoration of drained afforested peatlands. This will be done through 1) investigation of the mechanistic and longer-term role of brash in terms of impacts on water quality (i.e., in peatland restoration areas), and 2) considering the development of brash biochar based materials for use in water treatment/water quality improvement or enhancing peatland restoration/forestry practices.

Recent publications:


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