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Bradford student set to survey Canada’s vast boreal forest


Krupa Sayania standing next to a tree

University of Bradford archaeology student Krupa Sayania is about to embark on a field trip of a lifetime that will involve surveying part of Canada’s vast Western boreal forest.

Krupa, originally from Leeds, is the recipient of a Mitacs Globalink Research Internship. She will use drones and laser scanners to survey forest canopies across Saskatchewan, data from which will be used to understand how climate change is affecting tree growth.

Krupa, 33, said: “I’m thrilled to be part of the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship and I am looking forward to learning new techniques and contributing to important research on climate change. The vast expanse of Canada's western boreal forest stores a lot of carbon and ultimately, our project will help us understand how climate change may impact these forests in the future, which is important for protecting them. 

I've always had an interest in archaeology, so when I learned Bradford has a really good archaeology department... I decided to go for it.

“This project will take me out of my comfort zone, and I am looking forward to the experience. Additionally, I look forward to meeting the project team and to living in the forest for three months.”

Krupa Sayania

Mature student

Krupa spent her 20s in building a career but always harboured a dream of becoming an archaeologist. She said: “I've always had an interest in archaeology, so when I learned Bradford has a really good archaeology department (through word of mouth), and a considerable number of mature students, I decided to go for it.

“I started thinking about becoming an archaeologist whilst working a full-time job. The more I considered it, the more comfortable I became with the idea of attending university. Another thing that really drew me to the course was the option to take a sandwich year. I had not travelled much at the time, and I knew straight away that if I got onto this course, I would use this year to experience archaeology abroad.”

In her placement year, Krupa has already visited Slovakia, Iceland, Poland, and has recently spent a semester studying at Thompson Rivers university in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Krupa Sayania sitting on the bough of a tree

Tree project

The project, entitled Dynamics of the Western Canadian Boreal Forest - is run by Professor Mark Vanderwel at the University of Regina. Students participating in the study will use drones and ground-based laser scanning to survey forest canopies. The main goal of the overall project is to understand factors affecting tree growth and survival.

It is the second Mitacs Globalink Research Internship awarded to students at the University of Bradford this year - in February, we reported how archaeology undergraduate and mature student Sean Cahill also benefited from the bursary, using his knowledge of archaeology to help war veterans deal with post-traumatic stress.

Snlight streaming through a forest canopy