28 Mar 2022

Blog: the role of the Conservator

Being a Conservator with Scottish Forestry is a busy but very rewarding job. 

Cameron Maxwell, Perth and Argyll Conservator, has worked with Scottish Forestry for 20 years in a wide range of roles.

We asked Cameron about his job and what it is like to work for Scottish Forestry. This is what he said.

Cameron Maxwell 1

Being the Conservator is the best job there is. Especially this area. I get to live, work and travel through parts of the country with fantastic scenery, visiting islands, talking about trees and meeting a huge range of interesting people.

And you’re working with others to create or renew wooded landscapes which will last for the next 40-100 years. So it’s important to get that right but also a great opportunity.

People sometimes think forestry is a bit niche but it’s amazing what you get involved in. You never get bored. I find out about an incredible range of stuff.

As part of my day to day role, alongside regularly updating my knowledge around sustainable forest management and silviculture, through our casework I’ve learned a huge amount about golden eagle behaviour, the decline in waders, medieval archaeology, agriculture and other land uses, and in one case, the Digital Economy Act 2017..! (that’s a long story..).

Hairy pigs!
But most recently, my favourite was meeting the world’s only species of hairy pig, on a woodland creation site! Mangalica… Google it!

Mangalica Pigs

And the breakfast on the mull ferry is always worth getting up for.

Leading the team
I lead the 26 strong conservancy team of technical foresters and the conservancy support team. They’re a really good bunch. They’re always supportive, welcoming and committed to what they do. No matter your passion you can’t help but get caught up in the work we’re involved in delivering.

If I had to sum up why I love this job. It’s the interesting stuff, the interesting people and the fact that, with others, we’re delivering new and improved forests for people now and in the future. (that sounds a bit boring at the end..!)

And to quote the far sighted and inspirational Jack Westoby ( in The Purpose of Forests: Follies of Development):

“Forestry is not about trees, it is about people. And it is about trees only insofar as trees can serve the needs of people.”

Further information
Scottish Forestry has a number of vacancies coming up during this year - you can check them out here.