Biggest-ever Confor Awards Dinner celebrates leaders of the forestry and wood-using industry

15 March 2024

Confor announced the winners of the Confor Awards 2024 as part of a ceremony at Surgeons Quarter, Edinburgh on 12th March.

Future forestry leaders, great communicators and inspiring innovators were honoured alongside a dedicated servant of the industry at Confor’s largest-ever awards dinner.

Speaking ahead of the event, Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said the evening was an opportunity to look ahead positively to the future. He commented: “This is a resilient industry, and amidst all the challenges we face, it is more important than ever to have representatives to champion our work and to realise the significant potential that exists across our sector.”

Rodney Shearer of Elsoms Trees won the top award for Dedicated Service to Forestry. With close to four decades’ worth of experience in the industry, Rodney’s expertise and vision is recognised as the force behind the huge planting of new Caledonian pinewoods between 1988 and 2020 among countless other achievements for seed collection and nursery innovation.

Rosanna Curtis, Senior Consultant at Reheat, won the Tom A Bruce-Jones Memorial Award for Future Leader in the Forest Industry. She works across a range of specialisms and has made a particular success of reviving the Northwoods forestry support initiative, where she has delivered genuinely exceptional results from a standing start.

Tomorrow’s Forests was the winner of the Changing Attitudes Award for their work producing quality content highlighting the vital role of forestry. The business is passionate about providing educational insights into how the sector operates and the vital ecosystem and societal services that it provides.

Rainbow Professional Ltd won the Net Zero Award for the development of their biodegradable tree shelters, particularly the Rainbow Terra. The goal of the shelter is to eliminate the need for recycling and mitigate the climatic impact of conventional plastics. CarbonStore were delighted to once again sponsor this award.

Daniel Iddon, SAF Woodland Management, scooped the Science & Technology prize and has impressed by bringing eDNA testing into the mainstream conversation around understanding the benefits of and mimicking woodland soils. He has as a deep passion for changing current thinking on planting practices and soil health.

Gordon Brown MICFor of TreeStory picked up the Institute of Chartered Foresters Professional Forester of the Year Award as a passionate advocate for professionalism who encourages all his staff to pursue chartered status. Gordon developed the TreeStory Woodland Charter to ensure all their projects put nature first and has experience spanning the public, charity and private sectors.

The dinner also heard a video message from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon MSP, and a live speech from Jim Fairlie MSP, Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity. Mr Fairlie described forestry as a “dynamic industry with sustainability at its core” and said it was vital to Scotland’s climate change ambitions.

He recognised industry concerns about the 40% reduction in the Scottish Government budget for woodland creation in 2024/25 but said ministers were “doing everything we can in straitened times”.

Mr Fairlie thanked the forestry industry for its work and said there was a record number of approvals for new planting in the system (around 14,000 hectares). He added: “It’s critical we make the most of the available funds this year and get as much planted as possible. Keeping up momentum increases the case for more funding in future.”

Later, Confor CEO Stuart Goodall highlighted the deep industry concerns over the budget cut, noting that nurseries would have to make decisions soon about how many young trees to grow for the coming years, and without additional funding being made available quickly nurseries would inevitably reduce their production, ‘baking in’ a significant reduction in future tree supply and meaning woodland creation targets would be significantly undershot for at least the next 3-4 years.

He warned Scotland that its much vaunted position as the best place to plant trees and invest in wood production in the UK could not be guaranteed because there had been real progress made on fast-tracking approvals in England and work with industry to develop a National Wood Strategy for England and a Timber in Construction Roadmap, while Scotland was falling back following the funding cut and was at risk of standing still at best in the coming years.

Confor would like to thank the event sponsors – Forestry Commission, Forestry & Land Scotland, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, James Jones & Sons, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, CarbonStore and Green-tech.

Who are CarbonStore?

In partnership with Tilhill, CarbonStore can help you deliver new woodland creation and woodland-based carbon mitigation projects in the UK that not only achieves the highest possible standards in carbon offsetting but also offers many widespread benefits which we can all enjoy.

Please contact David McCulloch, the head of CarbonStore, personally either by email ( or by phone (07500 950832).

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Pending Issuance Unit: A promise to deliver a Woodland Carbon Unit during a given period, based on the trees’ predicted growth Woodland Carbon Unit: A ton of carbon dioxide which has been sequestered in a scheme verified under the Woodland Carbon Code