10 Questions with Thomas Baker

What is your role and what does it encompass
I am a Research Coordinator. The main parts of my role involve keeping track of the wide variety of research projects that STT is involved in (around 30 at the moment), identifying key research areas, collaborating with research institutions, and providing general research support to STT staff.

Which organisation do you work for?
Sustainable Timber Tasmania (for about 2 months)

How long have you been in the industry?
While I have only been working in a forestry business for 2 months, I started my forestry research career in 2010 when I did my honours on bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), looking at their recolonisation following native forest harvesting. Since then, I have worked/studied at the University of Tasmania on a range of topics including native forests, plantations, and agroforestry.

What do you enjoy most about your role at STT?
The wide variety of topics that I get to be involved with, since starting I have got to work on tree breeding, wood properties, IOT devices, pest management and natural capital.

What are you most passionate about in the industry?
I am most passionate about conducting and supporting research to improve forest management, productivity, and sustainability. For example, one exciting research area that is currently developing in the forest industry is natural capital which is providing a mechanism to highlight the value that forest management can provide to services such as carbon, biodiversity, amenity and many more areas. This will be a great tool to help show the wide variety of benefits the forest industry provides.

What opportunities has working in the industry provided you?
One of the main reasons I started studying forestry is because I really enjoy wandering around in forests. Working in forestry always provide an opportunity to see places that otherwise you would not think to look at.

What do you think the industry does very well?
For me it is a very collaborative and welcoming industry. In my brief time with STT I have experienced collaboration within different parts of the organisation, across different businesses both within Tasmania and interstate, and across other institutions e.g. government, regulators, and research groups.

Where do you think there is room for improvement?
The exciting thing about being involved in forest research is that everything can be improved, and it’s great to see that across all areas of the forestry industry there are experts in their field who are trying new ways of doing things, adopting new technologies or developing new products.

On a weekend, we’d find you…
Ideally it would either at home in the garden/shed or off on a little bushwalk/paddleboard, but most likely you would find me following my two year old around and doing whatever he tells me.

People would be surprised to learn that I…
The one thing that seems to surprise a few of my new colleagues is that I am always wearing hats and I have quite a few of them.