Winning forest image selected

A stunning image of birch trees in deep snow in a forest in eastern France has won the PEFC Photographer of the Year Award. The contest, which asked photographers to capture what a forest meant to them, attracted more than 11,000 entries from around the world. The photo – A Morning Star – was taken in the Bellecombe national forest by Gareth Goldthorpe, who won 3000 Swiss francs (about $A3950) for his winning entry.

European silver birch (Betula pendula) is characterised by white bark and pendulous branches and is found mostly at higher altitudes across Europe, from the Mediterranean to central Siberia. The pale-coloured wood is used for carpentry, plywood production pulp and fuelwood, although some varieties produce a curly wood used for veneer.

“This is the first international photography competition I have won and so it is a major boost for my photographic morale (not to mention a means to updating some of my camera gear),” Gareth said. “When I am not running around the forest, looking for images to capture, I am a professional biodiversity conservationist and so the fact that the competition is organised by a sustainable forestry NGO such as PEFC is an added bonus for me.”

Joining Gareth’s image among 12 finalists who submitted images as diverse as elephants in India, hard workers using horses in Slovakia and a family enjoying a day in the forest in Italy. Close finalist in the contest was Robyn MacRae of Tumut, NSW, who was judged Australian winner. She captured the winning image on her Cannon 7D camera – a photo taken during a snowfall among sugar pines (Pinus lambertiana) in the Bago state forest.

AFS CEO Simon Dorries said the contest embraced such topics as forest landscapes to individual trees and plants, harvesters to families hiking in the woods, indigenous people to rural village life, and wooden buildings to PEFC-labelled products.

“Certified forests are incredibly diverse and entries in the PEFC photo contest highlight the enjoyment they give to visitors from all walks of life,” Mr Dorries said. All national competitions were run at the same time, from Earth Day (April 22) to World Environment Day (June 5). By June 16, all PEFC national government bodies had picked their winning entries, which then entered the international contest.

Photo: A Morning Star… winning entry by Gareth Goldthorpe in the PEFC international photo contest

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