A Scottish School of Forestry student has been awarded a top prize from real estate firm Savills in recognition of his work in the area of estate management.

Sandy Davidson, 24, who is in the fourth year of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ BSc (Hons) in forest management, won the Savills Forestry and Sustainability Award after producing an outstanding land management plan as part of his degree.

Sandy, who works as an assistant woodland officer with Scottish Forestry, proposed a strategy for the future management of a fictitious Inverness estate, which identified current land uses, their strengths and limitations. He went on to propose an integrated land management approach to increase the sustainability of the estate, while maintaining the important areas of productive agricultural land, forestry, historical conservation and recreational areas.

The plan targeted management in areas likely to deliver highest impact and identified opportunities to improve engagement with local communities.

Sandy, who grew up in North Uist in the Western Isles, said: “I was very surprised to win this award, but also very pleased as I feel really passionate about sustainability. Land management has a huge part to play in addressing some of the major challenges we face in Scotland and around the world, particularly regarding the major issues of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“While our exercise was entirely theoretical, I think it was a good way to get students to think of ways we can adapt our current land-use models in order to improve overall sustainability. Being recognised for my work by a company like Savills is really special.”