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  1. Policy Roundup – October 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too.

    Institute Policy & Research

    We’ve had a meeting with the forestry policy leads in Defra to discuss our concerns about the critical skills shortage in the sector. They have asked us for our expertise in identifying the issues and finding solutions. We’re working with Liz Barron-Majerik, chair of the Forestry Skills Forum, and Neville Elstone MICFor, ICF member representative, to develop what they need.

    Otherwise, consultations continue to dominate the Institute’s policy work. We made a brief response to the Welsh consultation ‘Sustainable farming and our land’, our main message being that forestry must be properly incorporated alongside farming.

    We convened an expert group to advise on our response to the government’s planning reforms in the consultation ‘Planning for the future’ – it is critical that trees are considered early in the planning process and that councils have qualified and experienced tree officers. We’ve been working with the Arboricultural Association, Forestry Commission, Landscape Institute, RTPI and the Woodland Trust to align our responses for maximum impact. We know how vital partnership working is and continue to work together wherever possible in all areas of our work.

    We attended the Annual Forestry Conference hosted online by the CLA. It was hugely energetic about the pace of change needed and the partnerships and knowledge sharing that will facilitate it – from Forestry Commission and Defra but also our colleagues working in agriculture.

    Finally, members may be aware of an EFRA Inquiry into tree planting and woodlands. It’s interesting timing given the forthcoming England Tree Strategy. We’re planning a submission based on our response to the ETS consultation, emphasising the critical skills gap and the value of cross-UK working. Members are encouraged to contact with suggestions or comments.

    Policy & Research Updates from Across the Sector

    Update: England Tree Strategy

    The England Tree Strategy is now due to be published in the first quarter of 2021, with a summary of responses due later this year.

    Plant Passports Factsheet

    This fact sheet outlines what will be changing for Plant Passports (PP) and what UK businesses need to do to. Read it here.

    Confor Publish Article on Green Recovery

    Confor’s latest Forestry and Timber News featured an article on how the forestry and the wood processing sector can aid a Green Recovery. Please read the full article here.


    • Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy – read

    • Some UK cities have more trees than national parks, new research – read

    • Study reveals changes in tree canopy cover in Britain’s urban areas – read

    • Forest, trees and the eradication of poverty – read

    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  2. Nearly 1000 People Enjoy #CPDSeptember

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    We dedicated the entire month of September 2020 to enhancing professional development and are delighted that so many members and non-members were able to benefit from #CPDSeptember.







    From our opening session on urban forest sustainability, to a stunning close on rewilding in Scotland, with mycorrhizal associations, pine martens and squirrels in between, there was something for everyone. Here are some highlights from the month:


    Although the month is over, members can still access all of the content on the Members’ Area – there are 20 hours worth of CPD recordings from September alone! To catch up on what you may have missed, log into the Members’ Area and navigate to the Library.

    Log into the Members’ Area

  3. Environmental Policy Forum Publish Statement on a Sustainable Recovery Post COVID-19

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    As a member of the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF), we recently contributed to the EPF position statement on what a sustainable recovery should look like from the coronavirus pandemic.

    With views from six other organisations from across the environmental sector, we pleased to be able to stress the importance of a sustainable recovery and how the forestry and arboriculture sector can help achieve it. Read the full position statement below, especially our views on page 13:


  4. Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor Speaks on Why Trees are Key to New Agricultural Revolution

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    In September 2020, Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor CEnv spoke, on behalf of the Institute and the Sylva Foundation, at the Westminster Policy Forum’s online conference on the future of agricultural land use.

    “Better for food, better for nature, better for people – trees for life. Trees really can deliver for climate, nature, people and the economy, it is not a zero-sum game”

    We’re pleased to have Dr Hemery’s full talk transcript and slides. Please view the transcript here and you can view the slides below.

  5. Policy Roundup – September 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    Institute Policy & Research

    England Tree Strategy

    This month we issued two responses to Defra on the England Tree Strategy consultation – one on behalf of the Institute, and the other on behalf of the forestry sector, in partnership with Confor and the Royal Forestry Society. Next month, we are meeting with senior civil servants at Defra to work together on what comes next.

    Read Our Response

    Read the Joint Response

    Raising our Profile

    Council member Jo O’Hara MICFor and a group of members are developing an action plan to raise the profile of the Institute in the public debate on trees. At the first meeting, the group talked about what audiences should be targeted, from civil servants, to the media. We will provide members with an update on this work in the autumn edition of Trees.

    Planning for the Future in England

    The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Planning for the future‘ consultation outlines proposals that will have a significant impact on how trees are considered and valued in the planning process. We have put together a small expert group working on this and we would like to hear your thoughts. If you work in this area, please get in touch with us by email to Jemima Cooper by Thursday 8 October.

    Consultations & Public Policy

    Timber Sales & Marketing Plan 2022 – 2026 (Wales)

    Opened on 1 September by Natural Resources Wales, this consultation was launched to review the current plan (2016) due to changes in the market place, expectations of both the forest sector and new legislation, and to align it with the current forest resource plans reviews and felling period of 2022-2026. Please get involved by completing the online survey before the deadline of 3 November – you can do this here.

    Sustainable Farming and Our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support (Wales)

    The Welsh Government’s ‘Sustainable farming and our land: simplifying agricultural support‘ consultation will close on 23 October and we would value your thoughts on the proposals. Please get in touch with Jemima Cooper to contribute. We also strongly encourage you to directly respond to the consultation online.

    Scotland’s Plant Health Centre Outline Key Principles to Protect Plant Health

    With the growing risks to plant health, Scotland’s Plant Health Centre has set out five key principles that should be considered in order to address the current threats and to protect plant health in Scotland. Please read this document here.

    Tree-Lined Streets

    Look out for this bill that will be read a second time on Friday 23 October in the House of Commons:

    Put simply, trees are good for us, and the presence of trees and other greenery in urban environments has a discernible effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of those who live there. The presence of trees has a particularly important role to play in that philosophy, as they are inextricably linked to cleaner air, increased physical exercise and enhanced health and wellbeing. Trees also play a central role in nature’s recovery and in addressing climate change.” – Chris Clarkson MP

    Forests & Climate Change

    Below are some challenging reports and opinion pieces on forests and climate change.

    • Climate change will alter forests as we know them (Global Forest Watch) – read
    • Time to press on and drive a vibrant green recovery (The Herald, Scotland) – read
    • Tree planting is critical for sustainable future but can’t fix climate change on its own (Center for International Forestry Research) – read
    • RSPB calls out UK’s lost decade for nature as the UN reveals ten years of missed targets (RSPB) – read

    • UK path to net zero must be underpinned by education, choice, fairness and political consensus, urges Climate Assembly (Climate Assembly) – read


    Researchers Develop Woodland Carbon Map

    Created by the James Hutton Institute, Forest Research and the University of Aberdeen, this online mapping tool allows you to visualise net change in carbon from afforestation in Scotland over time for different woodland planting options. To access the tool, click here.

    Forest Research Publish 2020 Forestry Facts & Figures Report

    The visual report provides up-to-date figures for new planting, restocking, wood production, employment and more. It is available for download on the Forest Research website.

    UK Government Challenged on Meeting Targets

    The Institute for Government have published this report ‘Net zero: how government can meet its climate change target‘ that challenges the UK Government and offers recommendations for committing to the current climate change targets.

    Update on UK Squirrel Accord Fertility Research Project

    Currently in its third year, this project on oral contraceptives for grey squirrel management is still going ahead despite the recent lockdown and field work was carried out in July 2020. For an overview of the data collection methods and next steps, visit the UKSA website.

    Survey Finds Farmers Want More Support for Agroforestry

    A recent survey has found that much greater support, information and payment certainty is needed for farmers and land managers in order for them to implement agroforestry in the UK. You can view the results of the survey here.

    Read: Accelerating Private Investment in Nature-Based Solutions

    This paper from the Broadway Initiative (IEMA) presents a proposal for the UK Government to support green recovery through private investment in nature-based solutions. Please read the full paper here.

    RFS Highlights Four Papers in Quarterly Journal of Forestry on Forest Resilience

    Since 2018, the Royal Forestry Society have published four papers on forest resilience and they are all available for download on their website. You can find all four on this page.

    Creating a Strong Bioeconomy With Sustainable Non-Timber Products

    The following spotlight blog from the International Union of Forest Research Organisations discusses the future of renewable energy and the transition to a bioeconomy to fight the climate crisis. The article suggests exploring non-timber forest products is essential in order to facilitate the sustainable management of global resources. To read the full blog, click here.

    Grants and Funding

    • Defra: The third Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction is now open and there is £10million available to help tackle climate change – view
    • Forestry Commission: Next deadline for the HS2 Woodland Fund is 27 November – view
    • UKRI: Call for interdisciplinary research proposals on the future of treescapes – view

    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • Consultation Launched on Torymus Sinensis Use to Control Dryocosmus Kuriphilus

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    Dryocosmus kuriphilus is a harmful gall wasp of sweet chestnut trees and was discovered for the first time in the UK in June 2015 in Kent. Native to China, since spreading into Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, USA, and many countries in Europe, as of March 2020, it has been detected in over 140 locations in rural and urban areas in South-East England. Galls produced by the wasp impede shoot and flower development, which negatively impacts on the quality of coppiced timber, also reducing tree vigour by reducing leaf area, photosynthesis and tree biomass.

    Defra are seeking your input on the proposed release of the non-native biological control agent, Torymus sinensis (parasitoid wasp), in England to suppress populations of D. kuriphilus. The department commissioned Fera Science Ltd through the Future Proofing Plant Health package to investigate the possibility of using T. sinensis as a biological control agent in England and a risk assessment was produced.

    Read the Risk Assessment

    We encourage you to read the risk assessment, which sets out the impact of T. sinensis on native gall wasps and the potential benefits for sweet chestnut trees, and respond to Defra with your views and comments before authorisation is given to release T. sinensis into England to control D. kuriphilus.

    Please share this page with anyone who may be interested in contributing.

    The consultation is open until Monday 16 November 2020. To respond*, please email or you can respond by post to Matthew Everatt, Plant Health Risk and Policy team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Room 02FA01/05, National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, Sand Hutton, YO41 1LZ.

    *Note from Defra: if you do not wish your response, including your name, contact details and any other personal information, to be publicly available, please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. Please note that if your computer automatically includes a confidentiality disclaimer, this will not count as a confidentiality request. Please explain why you need to keep details confidential. We will take your reasons into account if someone asks for this information under freedom of information legislation. However, we cannot promise that we will always be able to keep those details confidential.

  • Defra Launch UK’s First Plant Health Week

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    With 2020 being the UN’s International Year of Plant Health, Defra is hosting the UK’s first Plant Health Week from 21 – 27 September. Designed in collaboration with multiple organisations in the plant and forestry sectors, it aims to raise awareness of plant health threats and the actions people can take to keep our plants healthy.

    Please see below a press release from Defra.

    The campaign will be digitally led, with exciting and informative content being posted by various partners including the Forestry Commission, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, HTA, RHS, The Tree Council, the UK Research Institute, plus many others. Each day of the week will be themed around a key area, including safe sourcing and biosecurity. Please find an outline of the key themes below.

    Speaking about the UK’s first Plant Health Week, Minister for Biosecurity, Lord Gardiner, said:

    “Climate change and increasing globalisation has huge implications for the health of the world’s plants, which is why in the UN designated International Year of Plant Health, we are holding the UK’s first Plant Health Week.

    “This week will help raise awareness of the risks that our plants face, and I encourage everyone – from retailers and nurseries, to gardeners and children – to support this campaign and glean helpful tips on how to keep our plants healthy, by practicing good biosecurity.

    “From the biggest forests and national parks, to what we plant in our own gardens, we need to celebrate this beautiful rich tapestry we see in everyday life and help protect the nation’s trees and plants from harmful pest and diseases.”

    During the week, please look out for social media content and share amongst your channels, using the hashtag #PlantHealthWeek and #IYPH.

    Outline of key themes for Plant Health Week:

    • 21 Sept – we begin the week with content on why plant health matters, what pest and disease threats we are facing, and how government and the sector are responding. We are also launching an innovative children’s plant health activity book ‘Izzy the Inspector’ (copy available on request).
    • 22 Sept – LOOK AFTER your plants – at home and in the garden. We are partnering with RHS to bring ‘top tips’ to the public.
    • 23 Sept – BUYING REPSONSIBLY – Source plants from reputable nurseries and suppliers and check the plant’s origin. We are partnering with HTA in alignment with their ‘million planting moments’ campaign. We will also be relaunching our ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaign to offer gardeners tips on how to prevent the spread and reduce damage of invasive plant species. The key messages for ‘Be Plant Wise’ are to: remind gardeners to choose non-invasive plants and dispose of garden waste responsibly when they are having an end of summer clear out and to encourage garden centres and retailers to sign up to the campaign and order a Be Plant Wise pack for their stores.
    • 24 Sept – DON’T RISK IT – raising awareness to not bring back plants and cuttings from holidays and trips abroad or from unreputable sellers. Doing so risks bringing in a plant pest or disease.
    • 25 Sept – CLEAN YOUR BOOTS – Forestry Commission led content focusing on biosecurity. As an example, the FC remind people to clean your boots before and after going out and about in woodlands and parks to help limit the spread of potentially devastating plant diseases.
    • 26 Sept – LOOK OUT – for any unusual symptoms on trees and plants and report them to the Forestry Commission’s Tree Alert website or the Animal and Plant Health Agency. This will be a Citizen Science day, led by The Tree Council and Observatree, talking about the role of the public in stopping the spread of pests and diseases.

    Throughout the week we will also be focusing on the key theme ‘Healthy plants can support a healthy mind’:

    • BOOST YOUR WELLBEING: Get out and about and enjoy green spaces – a local park, woodland or your garden.
  • Survey Finds Farmers Want More Support for Agroforestry

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    Produced in collaboration with the Soil Association and the Farm Woodland Forum, the Agroforestry Handbook was published in 2019 and aims to help farmers make decisions about planting and integrating trees into their farming systems. The following survey was designed to assess the impact of the handbook and to identify what further support was needed to encourage agroforestry planting in the UK.

    Please find the results of this survey in the below press release from the Soil Association.

    Survey finds farmers want more support for agroforestry

    A survey of 346 people interested in agroforestry found that much greater support, information and payment certainty are needed for farmers and land managers to implement agroforestry in the UK. Planting trees on farms can boost farm productivity by 30% and bring a range of benefits including improved soil health, carbon capture, biodiversity and animal welfare. It would also support Government tree planting targets.

    Respondents were asked to complete the survey after downloading the free Agroforestry Handbook, which aims to help farmers decide which trees and systems are best for their farms. The handbook gave most farmers more confidence to implement agroforestry, with over 75% of respondents more likely to implement agroforestry on their farms after reading the guide. Respondents’ most common motivations were increased biodiversity, landscape resilience, and farm resilience.

    However, despite strong interest in the benefits of agroforestry for farms and the environment, the survey found significant barriers holding development back, including a lack of technical knowledge and uncertainty around support payments. Around 40% of respondents did not know where to go for further guidance on agroforestry, with many others finding that the information they need from government simply does not exist.

    Ben Raskin, Head of Horticulture and Agroforestry at the Soil Association, said;

    The UK is amongst the least wooded countries in Europe – with only 13% of the UK under trees compared to 38% on average in Europe. Planting more trees on farms can be a win-win for climate, nature and health and would support the huge ambition of the Government’s National Tree Strategy. The UK is already well behind on our Government’s own targets and there’s been other issues, like the potential impacts on wildlife. It’s critical for nature and climate that the right trees are grown in the right places.

    It seems a no brainer for UK government to provide a supportive policy framework and more clarity on payments in order to increase the uptake of agroforestry. Tree planting can and must play a vital role in a green recovery – tapping into the strong appetite for agroforestry could support more resilient farming, and help restore nature, health and a safe climate.”

    The survey results revealed the need for:

    • More financial modelling and case studies
    • More information on UK specific benefits (environmental and otherwise)
    • Greater knowledge exchange on systems design, species choice, and management
    • Market development for the broad range of outputs from agroforestry systems
    • Greater policy support and funding

    Dr Tim Pagella, Lecturer in Forestry at Bangor University and co-author of the Agroforestry Handbook, said:

    “Agroforestry is a new name for an ancient practice. Trees have potential to play a critical role as we move towards more sustainable and ‘climate smart’ food systems. Careful integration of the right trees onto our farms can improve soil and animal health, create diversification opportunities, enhance biodiversity, reduce inputs and deliver public goods in our rural landscapes.”

    Survey respondent and Woodland Consultant, David Cracknell, said:

    “One silver lining of Brexit should be that we can now shape our own domestic agricultural grants scheme so that we pay farmers to plant trees on their livestock farms – to improve soil, carbon storage, livestock well-being, productivity and the environment as a whole. With the right political will we could really lead on agroforestry in this country. We have the expertise.”

    The handbook also highlights opportunities for UK farmers to reduce farm inputs and replace imports with tree products such as fruit, nuts, fence post timber, animal bedding, fuel wood and mulches. Research by French think tank IDDRI has shown that in Europe a ten-year transition to agroecological farming practices – like agroforestry – would slash agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, help to restore biodiversity and protect natural resources – all while producing enough healthy food for Europe’s growing population.

  • Your Chance to Input on Four New Apprenticeships

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    The Arboriculture, Forestry, Horticulture and Landscape Apprenticeship Group has gained approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to develop four new apprenticeships. Once complete, these will be supported by the Government’s apprenticeship scheme and will be available for training providers to offer across England.

    Employers, with the support of training professionals, have been working hard to write the content of these new apprenticeships and now need a wider perspective. To make sure that they meet the needs of the widest cross-section of organisations, they need the industry’s help.

    If you are an employer, training provider, assessment organisation or potential apprentice, we encourage you to complete this survey before 15th October 2020. It only takes 10 minutes and it gives you the chance to influence the content of these future apprenticeships.

    There are four surveys, each with relevant standards – please complete those that are relevant to your work.

    Professional Arboriculturist – Level 6 (degree level)

    This will include managing peri-urban and urban trees including writing and implementing proactive strategic plans to enhance the environment to benefit people, air quality, biodiversity, amenity and the built environment while mitigating risk to people, buildings and property from trees by coordinating proactive inspections and undertaking tree work operations within an appropriate time-scale.

    Professional Arboriculturist Standard

    Professional Arboriculturist Survey

    Professional Forester – Level 6 (degree level)

    This is a technical expert in planning, creation, management, harvesting and utilisation of woodlands and forests.

    Professional Forester Standard

    Professional Forester Survey

    Arboriculturist – Level 4 (a step above an A-Level)

    This occupation assesses tree health and risk, manages contractors, handles complaints, applies the law in relation to tree work and makes/assesses planning applications.

    Arboriculturist Standard

    Arboriculturist Survey

    Horticulture Technical Manager – Level 5 (foundation degree level)

    Developing and manages parks, gardens, greenspaces and grounds (e.g. business parks, schools, retail sites etc).

    Horticulture Technical Manager Standard

    Horticulture Technical Manager Survey

    This is a unique opportunity for our industries to develop work-based training routes into higher technical roles that are recognised and funded by the Government. These apprenticeships will help businesses bring new talent into their workforce and develop existing staff into these roles, helping us make sure we have effective and technically trained managers to drive our sector forwards for years to come.

  • Our Response to the England Tree Strategy Consultation

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    The England Tree Strategy is an immense opportunity, with high risk and reward

    On behalf of our members and the profession, we have responded to the consultation on the development of an England Tree Strategy. Along with the questionnaire, we wrote a covering statement setting out our position as an organisation.

    Read our Response

    Our response was developed from a range of inputs:

    • We conducted a survey to get our members’ views
    • We ran two workshops for our members on the strategy consultation – you can watch these here.
    • We convened a task and finish group made up of members
    • We had input from members of the Institute’s Council

    The 5 key messages in our response:

    1. Strategic Direction
      The final strategy needs a sharp focus, political will to drive forward the scale of change needed, and have read-across to other departments and policy developments.
    2. Scope
      Different actions are suitable for different purposes and the strategy must be clear about its delivery plan. There also needs to be more detail on urban trees and trees outside of woodland.
    3. Skills and Standards
      The final strategy will need to be much stronger on skills and careers, given the urgent need for more skilled staff in the forestry and arboriculture workforce. Professional standards will be ever more important.
    4. Sustainable Business
      We must create new markets for ecosystem services, as well as supporting existing markets, to make trees and woodlands financially attractive. This includes removing regulatory and administrative disincentives.
    5. Science
      It is critical that the strategy is evidence-led and we urge Defra to engage with us as partners who can convene experts from our diverse membership. It also needs quantified commitments and monitoring.

    We are hugely grateful to the task and finish group, Graham Garratt FICFor, Paul Nolan MICFor, John Tucker MICFor and Amelia Williams MICFor, for providing invaluable expertise and steer.

    Have you read the forestry sector response to the England Tree Strategy?
    We partnered with Confor and the Royal Forestry Society on a joint response. You can read it here.

    If you have any questions or comments, please contact our Senior Policy & Research Officer, Jemima Cooper –
  • Forestry Sector Responds to the England Tree Strategy

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    The England Tree Strategy presents a huge opportunity to shape the future of England’s treescapes while combatting the climate and nature crises. With the consultation closing on Friday 11 September, we have been working with the Royal Forestry Society and Confor to produce a forestry sector response highlighting six priorities for the strategy going forward. Please read this response below.

    Download the Response Here

  • Call for Ideas: Plant Biosecurity Strategy

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    We are a member of the Plant Health Alliance, a cross-sector group with a purpose of promoting and enhancing plant health and biosecurity measures to protect plant species and associated ecosystems (natural capital) in the United Kingdom and beyond. With the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) looking to refresh their plant biosecurity strategy from 2014, the Plant Health Alliance are encouraging members to submit their ideas and recommendations on the future of plant biosecurity and to ensure a world-class strategy is developed.

    Please read the document below from Defra that has details on what information and ideas they’d like from you, including how and where to submit these ideas.

    View Document & Submit Ideas

  • Policy Roundup – August 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    Institute Policy & Research

    This summer, we’ve had two significant policy developments, both presenting a huge opportunity for the future of trees and woodlands, so this is where we’ve focussed our efforts.

    Environmental Land Management Scheme

    The Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) consultation closed on Friday 31 July. We were proud to partner with Confor, the Royal Forestry Society and the Woodland Trust to produce a joint response, on behalf of the UK forestry sector, to the ELMs proposals. You can read this response here.

    As a new member of the Environmental Policy Forum, we are also pleased to have contributed to the EPF’s ELMs response. In this response, the network stressed that the Environmental Land Management scheme can be the main delivery framework for transforming all land through investment and sustainable resource management. However, it is vital that the scheme focusses on delivering a resilient and functional natural environment, that works in harmony with sustainable food production. Please read the full EPF response here.

    England Tree Strategy

    The England Tree Strategy consultation deadline is approaching and we have been working hard on our response to Defra. We recently ran a survey and held two workshops, featuring input from Alec Rhodes MICFor, Defra’s England Tree Strategy Project Manager, and group discussions, to inform our response to the consultation and survey. We want to thank all members that took the time to participate in either workshop or responded to our survey on the England Tree Strategy. We’re now developing our response with a small task and finish group and are working with partners across the sector to strengthen our messaging.


    Here are some recent news articles that might be of interest to you:

    • The Environmental Bill plans on setting targets – read
    • Scotland’s natural economy valued at over £29 billion per annum – read


    Here is a selection of the latest research from across the sector and beyond:

    • Land Use and Agriculture: pitfalls and precautions on the road to net zero – read
    • How to plant the forests of the future – read
    • Tree planting in tropical forests is aiding logging recovery 50% faster – read
    • International Union of Forest Research Organizations report on non-timber forest products and bioeconomy – read
    • Watch: Land Management 2.0 webinar recordings online – view
    • Review of South West Forest Scheme shows problems were generally not with the initial planting design but with post planting maintenance- read
    • Confor publish report ‘Biodiversity, forestry and wood’ – read

    Grants and Funding

    You may be eligible for the following grants and funding opportunities:

    • Forestry Commission: Updates to application process and documentation for Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Creation & Tree health grants – view
    • Scottish Government: Farmers and crofters are being offered £1 million in funding to diversify into forestry and help with the fight against climate change – view
    • Welsh Government: £1.55m scheme announced to help plant more trees as part of the National Forest programme – view
    • Forestry Commission: Third Woodland Carbon Guarantee opens for applications with £10m available – view

    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • Welcome to CPD September

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    Continuous Professional Development (CPD) allows you to excel in your field, by enhancing your knowledge and adding value through work-based activities and learning.

    Although this has been a difficult year for many of us, the integrity of professionals who provide robust, credible advice has never been more necessary. With this in mind, we are excited to bring you #CPDSeptember, giving you the opportunity to access a wide-range of free, daily, online content for the entire month of September.

    Our practising Fellows and Professional Members are expected to undertake and record a minimum of 100 hours of CPD in every three year period, which normally equates to around 33 hours a year.

    #CPDSeptember will offer a whole host of online events, while signposting relevant articles and papers, and highlighting existing content on the Members’ Area that you might have missed. You can enjoy as much or as little of the online content as you have time for and as a member of the Institute, you’ll be able to access all of the September content on the Members’ Area if you can’t attend on the day. This means that there’ll be over 45 hours of CPD content available to you to enjoy at your leisure.

    With a variety of speakers lined up from across the forestry and arboriculture sector and beyond, we hope you can take advantage of what #CPDSeptember has to offer.

    We’ve created a #CPDSeptember programme so that you can easily plan the events you’d like to attend or catch up on. Download the programme here.



    Bookings are now open!

    View All Events

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  • Forestry Sector Responds to ELM Scheme Proposals

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    The Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) will transform the way foresters, farmers and other land managers are supported.

    The Institute has led on a response to the Government’s ELMs consultation to produce a forestry sector response, partnering with Confor, the Royal Forestry Society and the Woodland Trust. The scheme is set to completely overhaul the current system of payments and grants and will shape land management for many years to come.

    Read our Response

    This response was developed in collaboration with a cross-sector group of forestry stakeholders working across public, private and third sector forestry, and was shaped by input from Institute members. The Institute convened the group to meet with Defra in June where we raised the key issues with scheme developers.

    Our work on ELMs has shown how much impact we can have when members and partners come together. We are now working hard on the England Tree Strategy and we would appreciate your input. Read our recent blog on the England Tree Strategy to find out how you can help us.

    Key issues in our ELMs response

    In order for the Government to deliver on its ambitious targets, not just for ELMs but for the tree planting agenda and government-wide objectives, forestry must be better integrated in the scheme. These are some of the areas discussed in our response:

    • Inclusive terminology – no more farmer vs forester
    • Woodland options in Tier 1
    • Provision of advice in the scheme
    • Transition arrangements and clarity
    • Payment methodologies
    • How ELMs works in the wider funding landscape
    • Deer and squirrel management
    • Understanding regulation in forestry and the importance of UKFS.

    Environmental Policy Forum Response

    We also contributed to, and signed, the Environmental Policy Forum’s response to the ELMs consulation. We, and the EPF, continue to keep the pressure on government to make sure that ELMs delivers on its potential for hugely positive environmental outcomes – including properly including trees and woodland.

    Our work continues with the Defra ELM engagement group and with our partners. The scheme is set to be piloted from 2021 and rolled out in 2024.

    You can find out more about the ELMs consultation here.

    Read our Response

  • Policy Roundup – July 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    Institute Policy & Research

    England Tree Strategy

    With the launch of the England Tree Strategy consultation, we have put together a blog on our activities on the strategy and how you can support our efforts. We are holding two workshops on the strategy and we recently issued a survey to understand your views. In addition to supporting our response, we still strongly encourage you to respond directly to Defra’s consultation which can be found here.

    This month we convened a task and finish group to guide our work on responding to the England Tree Strategy. This group is made up of Graham Garratt FICFor, Amelia Williams MICFor, John Tucker MICFor and Paul Nolan OBE MICFor.

    Environmental Land Management Scheme

    On the back of the meeting hosted by Defra, convened by the Institute, on ELM forestry in June, we are now following up with RFS, Confor and the Woodland Trust to lead on writing a joint ELMs response. Our response will be published after 31st July.

    Forestry Skills Agenda

    We continue to pressure Defra on allowing Institute-involvement in the forestry skills agenda.

    Environmental Policy Forum

    We’re pleased to now be a member of the Environmental Policy Forum, a network of UK environmental professional bodies promoting environmental sustainability and resilience for the public benefit. In July, we attended our first EPF meeting and are working in partnership with the 12 other organisations on consultations and other initiatives. Please read more about this in our recent blog.

    Jo O’Hara MICFor, Managing Director at FutureArk, has written the piece ‘What Does Sustainability Look Like?’ on behalf of the Institute. It will be published alongside pieces by other members of the Environmental Policy Forum on green recovery. We will be releasing this on our website in the coming weeks.

    Land Management 2.0

    We have been talking with Land Management 2.0 with regards to growing our networks and partnering on activities. Registering with Land Management 2.0, and joining its Slack community, is a great resource and allows land managers to connect.

    All-Party Parliamentary Group 

    In early July, we attended the Forestry and Tree Planting APPG meeting hosted by Confor. The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith (Minister of State) was in attendance and urged responses to the England Tree Strategy to share ideas. He also assured attendees that no one would be disadvantaged by commencing planting now.

    Association of Tree Officers ELMs & ETS Response

    We have been talking to the Association of Tree Officers regarding our responses to both the Environmental Land Management scheme and the England Tree Strategy in order to cover a wide-range of issues.


    Update: Institute Representatives

    Threat of Xylella

    Xylella is currently a major threat, especially with the rise in imports of things like lavender and rosemary, but there’s also a high risk of infection in oak, acer, ash, among others. Institute Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor contacted the UK’s Chief Plant Health Officer Professor Nicola Spence who encouraged all members to be aware of the threat and to follow the guidance on the UK plant health portal.

    Dr Jon Heuch MICFor is ICF rep for Defra’s Tree Health Policy group. Jon has been updating us on the ongoing threat of Xylella/plane canker and the issues with EU imports.


    Institute representative Stuart Wilkie FICFor is chairing a group on the UKWAS review and welcomes all input from members. Our recent blog on the UKWAS review will give you more information on the process and how you can contribute.

    England Tree Strategy

    As mentioned above, we are holding two free workshops on the England Tree Strategy for members. These will be held on Thursday 30 July and Tuesday 4 August – places are limited for each session. These workshops will give you the opportunity to:

    • Learn more about the strategy from a speaker from Defra
    • Share your views on the strategy and what it could mean to you
    • Inform the Institute’s response to the consultation
    • Shape the future of forestry policy in England.

    We have also been in touch with Martin Gammie MICFor, Institute representative for the Tree and Design Action Group, on the group’s initial thoughts on the strategy and these will be fed into our response.

    Environmental Land Management Scheme

    Through ICF Rep Neville Elstone MICFor, we continue to have an ongoing involvement in the development of the ELM scheme, especially with regards to advice. There will be an update on this in the Summer edition of our Chartered Forester magazine which will be published next month.

    Wider Policy & Funding

    • Update on National Measures for Xylella and Plane Canker – read
    • Forest Research wins £2 million funding for ‘BAC-STOP’ (Bacteria: Advancement of Control and Knowledge to Save Threatened Oak and Protect) – read
    • Scottish Forestry is making over £2 million available to tree nurseries, small forestry businesses and farmers to help them gear up and play their part in creating more woodland across Scotland – read
    • £1 million for timber transport – read
    • Wales National Forest community planting scheme – read
    • £40 million for jobs in green recovery – read



    • Confor ‘Biodiversity, forestry and wood’ report – read
    • Forest Research report on deer damage – read
    • Global benefits of Agroforestry – read
    • Report for farmers and landowners on rural land and carbon – read
    • Managing Ash Dieback: 10 case studies – read
    • Responding to the climate emergency with new trees and woodlands – read

    For more of our ongoing policy work, have a look at our April, May & June roundup blogs.
    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • Forestry and Land Scotland Launches New CivTech Challenge

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    Forestry and Land Scotland has launched an exciting funding opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and innovators. The challenge is to come up with ways to analyse and measure forest trees better.

    The main focus is on trying to understand the properties  and quality of the timber in different areas of forest, so that those areas can be harvested as efficiently as possible. Timber is a hugely important part of Scotland’s economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and supplying the materials that become everything from homes, to food packaging and fuel. But forests are a precious and limited resource, so areas that are harvested need to go as far as possible.

    The challenge is being run through the Scottish Government CivTech programme, a scheme that provides a wide range of resources to support entrepreneurs build a business around their product idea. This means anyone can apply to the scheme even if they don’t have a product or a business already. All they need is a good idea and the drive to make it happen.

    Forestry and Land Scotland ran a similar style of challenge with CivTech in 2019 looking at growing trees from seed better. That challenge is already providing very exciting results, from both a scientific and commercial perspective and it’s hoped that success can be repeated again this year.

    Josh Roberts, FLS Innovation Manager, said;

    “We manage hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest, so despite our best efforts and some already sophisticated techniques, we cannot scale up the mostly manual processes we use for measuring and calculating timber, it would be too time consuming and labour intensive.  We therefore work to general estimates of the timber volume in a given area when planning operations.

    “If we could build up a more detailed picture of the make-up of all of our forests when planning across a whole region, it would allow a huge leap forward in our management of the land and really optimise how efficiently the nation’s forests are used, which is the ultimate goal of this project.

    “There are a lot of different attributes we would like to know about trees and at different stages of the planning process, so believe there are a lot of different ways this problem could be approached.

    “This is an issue for foresters right around the world, so hopefully our latest CivTech challenge is as productive as the last in finding solutions that can be exported wherever there are forests!”

    Finding and employing a new tool for gathering this information would help forest planners to identify suitable forest blocks that offer a ‘best fit’ to what is being asked for before any felling takes place, and reduce the chance that we over or under produce when fulfilling an order.

    This would reduce the area of forest that needs to be harvested to meet any given demand and so help make Scotland’s forests go further.

    A live Q&A session about this challenge will be held on Monday 20th July at 15:00. Anyone interested in the challenge can registering their interest in taking part in the Q&A on the Public Contracts Scotland page for this challenge.

    The closing date for applications is Monday 3 August. More information about the challenge can be found online.


  • Your CPD Hub

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    Undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is essential to being a professional. Lifelong learning creates a competent, innovative, forward-looking individual and as such benefits the profession as a whole.

    COVID-19 has changed the way in which many of us work, but in these unprecedented times the integrity of professionals who provide robust, credible advice has never been more necessary. We have been working hard to maintain our membership offering and support throughout this period by moving events online and by creating new ways for us all to stay connected.

    Our practising Fellows and Professional Members are still expected to undertake and record a minimum of 100 hours of CPD in every three year period, which normally equates to around 33 hours a year. The Institute has a bank of online content in the Members’ Area Library that counts as CPD and we’ll be running online events for the foreseeable future.

    In May, the Institute’s Professional and Educational Standards Committee (PESC) met to discuss members’ obligation to undertake and record CPD amid the coronavirus pandemic. Please read their statement here.

    Claire Glaister FICFor has been a member of the Institute for almost twenty years. In response to the statement issued by PESC, Claire shared her views on the value of CPD, even during these unprecedented times, and gave us an insight into her life in lockdown.

    Read Claire’s Blog

    CPD can take different forms, such as:

    • Professional work-based activities
    • Personal and informal learning
    • (Online) courses, seminars and conferences
    • Voluntary or charity work

    Above all, the Institute remains sympathetic and we will provide as much support as possible.

    Members’ Area CPD Content

    There are currently


    hours of online CPD on the Members’ Area

    Our varied, interactive, online events ensure our members still have access to high quality CPD opportunities. We don’t want you to miss out on the chance to attend so we always record these events and a large number are uploaded to the Members’ Area Library where you can watch them at a time that suits you. You can watch back events on the Woodland Carbon Code, the ELM Scheme, Plant Passports & Timber, Contingency Planning & Wildfire Prevention and many more.

    Defra’s ELM scheme and its Significance for Forestry

    Plant Passports and Regulated Timber



















    Landscape Institute’s Campus

    We’re pleased to have secured a 50% off discount for our members for the Landscape Institute’s Campus Catchup platform. LI Campus gives you access to events and livestreams on demand and is a valuable source of online CPD.  You can get an idea of the content that’s on offer online here.

    If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, please get in touch and we can send you the discount code.




  • Dr Helen McKay OBE FICFor Appointed Chief Forester for Scotland

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    New voice for the forestry profession

    Dr Helen McKay OBE FICFor has been appointed as the new Chief Forester for Scotland.

    In her new role, she will provide technical and professional advice on forestry matters to Scottish Government Ministers.

    A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, Dr McKay has worked for Forest Research since 1988, with a seven-year spell in the Forestry Commission’s Corporate and Forestry Support and a short secondment to the then Forestry Commission Scotland. She currently provides scientific and strategic leadership to the Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change.

    Since 2003, she has also been an editor of the prestigious journal Forestry: An international journal of forest research, and has mentored many research staff in writing peer-reviewed scientific papers.

    Welcoming the appointment, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

    “I’m very pleased that Helen has taken up this very important role. Her years of scientific expertise at the cutting edge of forestry research will be invaluable. 

    “Forestry has a very important role to play in our green recovery and we have many challenges ahead. The role will be called upon to keep high professional standards throughout the industry as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

    The role of Chief Forester for Scotland will concentrate on providing trusted technical expertise to Ministers, act as Head of Profession for public sector foresters, promoting professional standards in the wider sector, and working with professional bodies to grow the profession of forestry.

    Delighted with her appointment, Dr McKay added:

    “I am looking forward immensely to working as Chief Forester for Scotland. Times are undoubtedly challenging because of COVID-19 in addition to climate change, pests and diseases as well as Brexit. On the other hand, such challenges can bring the sector together to further strengthen the forestry profession and demonstrate its value to Scotland.”

    Dr McKay draws on her family connection with forestry in Scotland. Her maternal grandfather, Neil Hamilton, worked for the Forestry Commission after the WW1 in Glenachulish and her paternal grandfather, Archibald MacGilp, was the factor who helped to plant the mixed forest at Quinish, Mull.

    Awarded an OBE in for her services to forest science and forestry, Dr McKay holds a BSc in Ecological Science and PhD from Edinburgh University and is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Environmentalists.

    Dr McKay is the second Chief Forester for Scotland with the first being Jo O’Hara, who stepped down at the end of January this year. She will spend approximately 1.5 days a week carrying out her duties as Chief Forester.

    Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters said:

    “I’m delighted that Helen has been appointed to this role. She has been a real advocate of promoting professionalism throughout our sector and I look forward to working with her to showcase forestry as a modern profession to those seeking a green career.”

    The position of Chief Forester for Scotland is a requirement of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018. Dr McKay will take up her appointment on 1st August this year.

  • Consultation launched on the England Tree Strategy

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    Defra has launched a consultation on the new England Tree Strategy which calls on the views and knowledge of (in particular) foresters and land managers. This strategy has been a long time coming and it is a huge opportunity to shape the future of England’s treescapes.

    What can you do?

    • Respond to our survey to tell us what you think the strategy should deliver

    • Respond to Defra directly here

    • Book onto one of our workshops and be part of the conversation.

    Starter for 10

    We know we need a truly ambitious new approach to combat the climate crisis and the nature crisis together.

    The right tree in the right place should be a truism. But what is really crucial – and no tree strategy or planting agenda or land management scheme will work without this – is that we have the right people in the sector, with the right skills, working to the right standards.

    We need to ask who the professionals are that will be advising on this new dawn of tree planting, and where the skilled workforce is going to come from to plant and manage, so that trees can deliver all the public goods and ecosystem services we need from them.

    Our response to the England Tree Strategy will raise these questions and many more – about how to innovate but also learn from the experts and how to remove the barriers to woodland creation and management. We’re calling on your input to help us answer them.

    Help shape the Institute’s response

    The Institute is uniquely placed to formulate a response on behalf of the tree professions and we want to hear from you. Our membership covers a huge breadth of professional settings and represents expertise from across forestry and arboriculture.

    We have created a survey to members to hear your views and raise some of the opportunities and risks for a tree strategy. It will cover the following areas and we ask members to feed in wherever their interest lies:

    • Woodland creation and expansion
    • Woodland management
    • Trees outside woodland
    • Trees in urban areas
    • Tree and woodland protection
    • Biosecurity and climate change
    • Pest control
    • Improving biodiversity
    • Engaging the public and communities
    • Engaging other land use sectors
    • Timber use and supply chain
    • Nursery sector
    • Skills and workforce

    We are also holding two online workshops where we will discuss in more depth and shape the Institute’s response to the consultation. Sign up to one on Tuesday 30 July or Tuesday 4th August and be part of the conversation.

    Finally, we urge all members to respond directly to the Defra consultation before it closes on Friday 11 September. They are actively seeking direction and ideas, with plans to publish the strategy later in the year, and every response counts.

    Complete Survey

    Book Workshop

    Access Consultation

  • Institute Joins the Environmental Policy Forum

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    We’re pleased to now be a member of the Environmental Policy Forum, a network of UK environmental professional bodies promoting environmental sustainability and resilience for the public benefit.

    A by-invitation-only membership group, the forum was established to provide the opportunity for collaboration, learning, dialogue and debate amongst professionals across the environmental disciplines and is currently made up of 13 member bodies.

    The Environmental Policy Forum’s mission is to influence environmental policy and its formulation by ensuring that environmental sustainability is high on policy agendas. As a member, we will attend regular meetings and workshops led by the forum to produce policy papers that will help influence environmental policy and its formulation.

    The Environmental Policy Forum is managed by Society for the Environment, whom the Institute is also a licensed member of.

  • Claire Glaister FICFor on the Value of CPD

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    Claire Glaister FICFor of GR Forestry Consultancy has been a member of the Institute for almost 20 years. She has written a blog highlighting the value of CPD in light of the recent statement from PESC.

    In these extraordinary times, we have found new ways of working, new ways of communicating and new ways to deliver the best, professional service to our clients. Perhaps too, we have also found new ways of deciding what is really important to us, our families, our society and our world.

    For a member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, one important thing in a work context is continuing professional development (CPD). Which is why, when we join, we commit to undertaking ongoing professional development throughout our careers.

    The Professional and Educational Standards Committee (PESC) recently issued a statement on CPD obligations that reiterates the importance of CPD and the need for practising Fellows and Professional Members to record a minimum of 100 hours in every 3-year period in order to remain chartered.

    Some may say ‘surely, in these extraordinary times, doesn’t everyone have enough to worry about without having to think about CPD?’

    And I can totally understand that question.  Particularly as I am one of those members who hasn’t often been able to attend lots of conferences and meetings.

    Having participated in a number of Institute online events since lockdown, I have come to appreciate the value of CPD even more and in ways I’d not quite expected; yes, they were invaluable from gaining knowledge and debating issues with industry colleagues point of view but also for the opportunity to simply take time out from this ‘new normal’, break up the routine and enjoy learning.

    It’s not been the case that all your cares dissipate of course, but for about an hour, I have found myself being taken away from the worries of what’s been happening all around and focusing on a wide range of topics covering wildfire contingency planning, felling permission and development, red squirrels and harvesting operations and more.

    Not only that, I’ve also seen the faces (and home interiors) of colleagues I’ve not caught up with in years; fortunately for me, a friend taught me how to add different backgrounds to my Zoom account (call it my very own CPD in video conferencing) so my own home office clutter has remained largely hidden from view!

    Going back to the ‘Isn’t there enough to worry about?’ question, the PESC statement addresses two key things for me:

    1. The CPD obligation is for a minimum of 100 hours in every 3-year period. In other words, a minimum of 100 hours over a 3-year rolling programme. So if you do find yourself unable to undertake the average 33 hours a year during 2020, if you’ve completed more than this in 2019 and will do likewise in 2021, then your 100 hours will be easier to achieve over a 3-year period and so on.

    2. The statement reassures readers that PESC will consider exemptions on a case-by-base basis for those members currently unable to meet their obligations.  This demonstrates that the Committee is keen to support members to fulfil their CPD commitment and I am thankful that they have taken this stance.

    I am also grateful to Institute staff for planning, managing and delivering such an informative series of events in these extraordinary times too.

    Claire Glaister FICFor

  • Green Recovery Wales Virtual Festival Announced

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    Taking place in the week that would have been the Royal Welsh Show (RWS), the Green Recovery Wales virtual 3-day festival will feature a wide range of farming, food and nature experts and organisations.

    Green Recovery Wales will be an innovative, free, virtual festival that will champion a post COVID-19 Green and Just Recovery, taking a look at the role rural Wales can play to ensure a sustainable Wales and the well-being of future generations.

    The festival will take place between 20 and 23 July and will be a key way of getting opinions and debate on rural and environmental issues from those working in these sectors, as well as be open to the public to raise awareness and interest in the subjects covered. It will put the spotlight on farming and land management, sustainable food systems and working together towards a greener future for Wales.

    Green Recovery Wales will take place 20-23 July. To see the full schedule of events and activities, please visit the festival’s website on

  • Consultation on the draft outline content for the T Level in Agriculture, Land Management and Production

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    The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education are seeking views on the draft outline content for the T Level in Agriculture, Land Management and Production (which contains the Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance specialism).

    The content for all the Agriculture and Land Management T Levels has gone live for public consultation. This includes an occupational specialism for Tree and Woodland Management:
    (Content for Occupational Specialism: Tree and Woodland Management and Maintenance can be found on page 15).

    Your views are required to help ensure that the content captures the right knowledge, skills and performance outcomes that will enable students to enter employment within their chosen occupational specialisms. The consultation is open until midnight on 13th July 2020.


    The Independent Panel on Technical Education highlighted the confusing multitude of qualifications available to young people, as well as issues with the market-based approach to qualifications. The Panel recommended the development of 15 technical routes to skilled employment, that encompass all employment-based and college-based training – including apprenticeships and T Levels.

    T Levels are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to three A Levels. They will combine classroom theory, practical learning and a 3-month industry placement with an employer to make sure students have real experience of the workplace. The 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content will meet the needs of industry and prepare students for work, and provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door to highly skilled employment, an apprenticeship or higher-level study.

    Find out more at

  • UKWAS Review Announced & Call for Stakeholder Input

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    The beginning of a formal process to review and, if thought necessary, revise the UKWAS certification standard was announced on 1 July by the UKWAS steering group.

    The current 4th edition of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, known as UKWAS 4, has been in effect since 1 April 2018 and in accordance with the UKWAS procedures, it is reviewed on a 5-yearly basis.

    An independent multi-stakeholder working group chaired by Peter Wilson FICFor will take forward the initial review phase to determine whether a full revision is necessary. A decision on whether to continue to a revision phase will be made towards the end of this year. If so, the working group will take forward the revision with the objective of a new UKWAS 5 version of the standard being in effect from 1 April 2023.

    UKWAS chair, Richard Howe MICFor, said: “The review process starts with an evidence gathering period and we are now asking standard-users and stakeholders from across the UK forestry community and beyond to help us by submitting their initial thoughts and recommendations to the working group by the end of August.

    “We will be initiating a series of reviews to collect evidence over the next few months but we are particularly keen to hear from standard-users and stakeholders from the outset. We also plan two formal consultations during 2021 if we move to a full revision of the standard.”

    We are strongly encouraging members to get involved. Standard-users and stakeholders must submit their input by 31 August to – please include a few lines about yourself so that the UKWAS can get a better understanding of the composition of respondents.

    You can find a detailed step-by-step UKWAS review and revision plan & timetable document which includes each phase, here.

  • Statement on CPD Obligation

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    In these extraordinary times the integrity of professionals who provide robust, credible advice has never been more necessary.

    More and more, the Institute and its members are expected to publicly demonstrate their commitment to ongoing professional development. It is why the commitment to continuous professional development (CPD) lies at the heart of maintaining a member’s chartered status.

    Our members’ commitment to lifelong learning is a vital element in improving professionalism within our sector and the Professional and Educational Standards Committee (PESC) is pleased to report that 98% of chartered members were compliant with their CPD obligation last year.

    Last month the Committee met to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on members’ obligation to undertake and record appropriate levels of CPD in 2020. The Committee acknowledged that the Institute, and others, have swiftly embraced various digital platforms and provided members with a variety of high quality CPD opportunities. These online offerings – a mixture of free and paid events – may be undertaken live, or often reviewed at a later date when it is perhaps more convenient for the individual. It is for this reason that PESC does not feel the need to relax our members’ obligation to undertake and record professional development. All practising Fellows and Professional Members are therefore still required to undertake and record a minimum of 100 hours of CPD in every three-year period in order to remain chartered.

    Notwithstanding, the Committee is sympathetic to members struggling with the impact of the pandemic restrictions and in addition to normal exemptions – retired members and some non-practicing members –  the committee would be happy to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis for those members currently unable to meet their obligations. If you feel this may apply to you in 2020, please inform Ben Summers-McKay, Members Services Officer – – of your particular circumstances and the Committee will consider your request in due course.

    Jim Waterson MICFor

    Chair of the Professional and Educational Standards Committee



  • Institute Policy Roundup – June 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    England Tree Strategy

    Defra launched the long-awaited England Tree Strategy on Friday 19 June and there is plenty for our sector to respond to with the opportunity of influencing future policy on trees, woodland and forestry. In the next few weeks, we will be seeking members’ input to help us form our response to government. Please look out for a survey, virtual focus groups and a task and finish group. We are strongly encouraging all members to contribute to the consultation.



    Our Work

    Environmental Land Management Scheme

    Our work continues apace on the advice strand and staff and the Institute ELMs representation, Neville Elstone MICFor, have taken part in meetings on earned recognition. On 23rd June, we led another forestry sector meeting with Defra which was, this time, convened from across the sector.

    On Wednesday 24th June, Defra reopened the ELMs policy discussion document after it was paused due to COVID-19. We strongly encourage you to take part in this consultation as the scheme will transform the way foresters, farmers and other land managers are supported. We will be working with Confor, RFS and others on a joint response to Defra and we would appreciate your thoughts and input to guide our efforts here. Please find out more about the scheme and how you can support us here.

    Membership Survey Results Analysis

    All Institute staff are looking forward to a dedicated session on the results of the membership survey before our virtual staff away day in July. This will allow us to improve and enhance our membership offering and experience going forward.

    Land Management 2.0

    Our Senior Policy & Research Officer, Jemima Cooper, recently joined the Rural Land Management Slack channel, ran by Land Management 2.0. If you are a Slack member, we would recommend you to join the #topic-trees chat. If you would like more information on joining, please contact Jemima.

    Woodland Land Management Forum

    The Institute has now linked up with the Woodland Land Management Forum’s woodland creation task and finish group via Institute member and previous President David Edwards FICFor.


    Policy News

    Celebrating Scottish Tree Planting

    10,860 hectares of new woodland were planted in Scotland last year, the second highest level since 2001. That means that nearly 22 million more trees were planted in Scotland in 2019. You can view new woodland proposals from Forest Research here.

    Watch: Alok Sharma at June Momentum for Climate Change

    The COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP, spoke at the June Momentum for Climate Change conference. Watch his opening speech online.

    Three Members Appointed to Forestry Commission

    Hilary Allison MICFor, Professor Julian Evans FICFor and Sandy Storrie were appointed, for three years, as Non-Executive Commissioners to the Forestry Commission. Read the release here.

    UKWAS Review Timetable Announced

    View the timetable here.

    5 Year Plan for Tackling Climate Change in Wales

    View the plan here.

    Scottish Forestry Safe Working Guidance & Restart Plan

    Scottish Forestry recently published their Safe Working Guidance and Restart Plan for the forestry sector in Scotland with the lockdown being eased. View the plan here.

    Confor Disappointed with BBC Reply

    View the article here.


    New Guidance

    • New guidance on importing plants – read
    • FISA guidance on working safely during coronavirus – read
    • Updated industry code of practice for arboriculture – read
    • Guidance for forestry businesses from Welsh government – read
    • Guidance on the use of tree guards – read

    Schemes & Grants

    • Woodland creation support in Scotland – access specialist advice
    • Glastir Woodland Creation window extended to 31 July – read
    • World Environment Day Welsh funds for nature – read
    • NI Forestry grant open for farmers – read
    • Wales Economic Resilience Fund next stage – read
    • Scottish Business Support scheme – read
    • NI Forest Expansion scheme – read
    • Scottish green recovery funding – read


    • Institute members in new research group – read
    • RFS report on woodland creation – read
    • Forestry Commission Annual Report – read
    • Infographic on emissions in UK cities – view
    • Research report on diversifying conifers – read
    • Call for papers on land use in Scotland – submit
    • Timber Trade Federation release information on heavy impact of COVID-19 – read

    For more of our ongoing policy work, have a look at our April & May roundup blogs.
    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • Responding to the Climate Emergency with New Trees & Woodlands

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    To help local authorities and landowning businesses achieve net zero, the Forestry Commission has produced the guide ‘Responding to the climate emergency with new trees and woodlands‘.

    With the UK climate changing, trees, woods and forests play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Woodland creation should be at the heart of any response to climate change due to its efficient and effective carbon capture, as well as a range of other benefits.

    This document includes:

    • tips on creating and managing woodland
    • tips on reducing the use of non-renewable resources through wood and timber products
    • sources of further information on grant funding.

    Read the Guide

    How Trees Benefit your Farm Business

    Additionally, there is also a leaflet for farmers, created by the Forestry Commission in partnership with the Catchment Sensitive Farming project, titled ‘How trees benefit your farm business‘. Woodland creation on farmland can generate income (from timber, wood fuel, tourism and more), provide shade and shelter for livestock, reduce soil and nutrient losses, store carbon to help combat climate change, create new habitats for wildlife and reduce flood risks. The leaflet lists the grants and incentives available for planting trees in England and carbon sequestration.

    View Leaflet

  • Institute Policy Roundup – May 2020

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    Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    Institute Policy & Research

    • We are refining plans for the Institute’s policy strategy and resulting workstreams
    • We published the results of our COVID-19 survey. Read them here
    • We have analysed results from the main membership survey. We are now considering the recommendations and then we will publish the results in a blog and in an article in the next Chartered Forester
    • Work on the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) proposals is ongoing despite the consultation being paused. For example, we are offering feedback to the Defra satellite group that looks after advice provision
    • We are planning activities around the upcoming tree strategy for England. This will be a huge opportunity to influence the government’s approach to increasing and improving woodland across England. We will want your input when it comes out and we aim to provide various routes for you to give feedback, so watch this space. If you’re interested in contributing, please contact Jemima Cooper.
    • We are talking to Sir William Worsley among others about plans for a skills summit to ensure the sector gets the boost to skills that it needs.

    Institute Representatives & Groups

    • We want to keep you in touch with the work of the reps and invite your input as much as possible. So far, we are planning an expanded reps section in the next edition of Chartered Forester, more regular updates and we are thinking about a reps section on the website and an online CPD event. All thoughts on this would be welcome
    • We have appointed a new ICF rep, Andy Baker MICFor, who now represents us on the Woodland Carbon Code Advisory Board
    • Our UKWAS reps – Elaine Dick MICFor, Simon Hart FICFor and Stuart Wilkie FICFor are involved in the upcoming UKWAS review – we’ll be keeping members updated and inviting your input at various stages
    • We joined another Environmental Policy Forum meeting and benefitted from updates on both the Environment and the Agriculture Bills, international trade deals and green recovery, with various opportunities to work with other members.

    Public Policy

    • The Agriculture Bill passed to Lords on 13th May – read more
    • A group of local councils, including Bristol, sent a letter to Defra calling for more local funding for woodland creation to support national targets – read more
    • We joined the All Party Parliamentary Group on forestry and tree planting, hosted by Confor, and focussing on green recovery.

    In the News

    • Yorkshire Post interview with Sir William Worsley
    • The Committee on Climate Change have advised government that a green recovery is needed, including increased tree planting – read more
    • The 11th Annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue took place at the end of April, a virtual conference co-hosted by the UK and Germany. You can watch a video here.

    Publications, Research & Useful Links

    • Members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new FSC Pesticides Policy from 1st August 2020 – read more
    • Natural England published a climate change adaptation manual – read more
    • The Forestry Commission have a video on grants and incentives for woodland creation – read more
    • There is increasing talk about a ‘green recovery’ from the coronavirus – read this thorough article from Carbon Brief

    For more of our ongoing policy work, have a look at our April roundup blog.


    For information on changes to working practices for COVID-19 and divergence across the UK, go to our COVID-19 guidance page.


    To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • #StudentHour

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    Keeping Connected

    These are extraordinary times and we’re aware that many students will have had to adjust to new and perhaps unfamiliar teaching and examination practices.

    As we approach the end of the academic year, here at the Institute, we realise the importance of keeping connected, from both professional and health-related perspectives. With this in mind, building on our very successful #MembersHour we have been working on a more student-focussed provision.

    We’re very excited to bring you #StudentHour – a short informal series of free online sessions that will cover a diverse range of topics and subject areas of interest to students within the industry. This is your opportunity to learn, to share best practice and above all to catch up with other students in the sector.

    These sessions will run on Friday’s from 1pm until 2pm via Zoom and will typically involve a 20 to 30 minute presentation followed by an interactive 30 minutes of Q&A. Please see the schedule for #StudentHour sessions below.

    Lastly, if there’s a subject you’d like to discuss, or potentially host, then please get in touch with us here.

    #StaySafe #StaySocial #StayHome






    Friday 5th June

    Miriam Jones-Walters

    Unconventional Career Development

    Book Now

    Friday 12th June

    Luke Hemmings

    Trainee Forester Scheme

    Book Now

    Friday 19th June

    Andy Baker MICFor

    Professionalism & PME

    Book Now


  • COVID-19 – Member Survey Results

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    In early April, two weeks into lockdown, we issued a survey to find out how Coronavirus (COVID-19) was affecting our members. We wanted to fully understand the challenges so we could better support members and share results with government bodies to help them support the sector.

    The survey was launched on the 9th April and we received 269 responses (14.3% of our total membership). Responses received came from members from a range of backgrounds and regional groups were evenly represented. 70% were employees with the rest split between business owners and self-employed workers. Just over 40% worked in forestry and woodland management, 25% in arboriculture and 9% in public policy. Public and private sector workers were equally represented.

    The majority of respondents were still working but most had experienced at least some changes to their activities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talk of home working and associated challenges. There was also discussion of site visits being on hold or much reduced. A few had been furloughed but we would reasonably expect a higher number now. Similarly, less than a fifth were taking advantage of the government’s financial packages but comments suggested this was a case of ‘not yet’ and that uptake would increase as the situation developed.

    There was a high level of awareness of these support schemes and the majority said government guidance was understandable. Responses also raised awareness of concerns about delays in payments, lack of clarity and non-eligibility – for example, business owners who pay themselves by dividends.

    In terms of support required, a lot of comments related to clear guidance. In light of this we sought to strengthen our own guidance and signpost to other reliable industry resources. A quarter of respondents talked about lobbying and awareness raising, and we’re continuing to work with partners such as Confor and government bodies to further develop relevant resources for our members. Both CPD and events were important considerations for many, with members commenting positively on what the Institute has already implemented with #MembersHour and other online CPD events.

    While this survey is not wholly representative of our membership or of the sector, and of course this is a constantly shifting picture, as a snapshot it has provided a lot of insight. Results are being used to inform our online event planning, guidance for members and consideration of other types of support, as well as shared with government bodies to further raise awareness of the challenges faced by the sector.

  • Professor Euan Mason Awarded Honorary Fellowship

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    Professor Euan Mason Awarded Honorary Fellowship for his Long-Serving Role as Editor of Leading Forestry Journal

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to award Professor Euan Mason an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his role as an Editor for Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research since 2004. 

    The Honorary Fellowship is a distinguished award bestowed upon individuals in respect of notable service to the advancement of forestry and/or arboriculture knowledge. 

    Professor Euan Mason accepted this prestigious honour in April 2020We hope to officially present this award to Professor Mason at next year’s National Conference in Cardiff in May. 

    On receiving the award, Professor Mason said: 

    I am delighted to be named an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and I’m very pleased to have been able to contribute, for 15 years, as an editor of the journal Forestry, which is among the highest ranked forestry-related scientific journals in the world.   

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in production of the journal, particularly the Chief Editor, Gary Kerr FICFor, whose leadership has been a major factor in making it such a great publication. I hope that we continue to have strong links between foresters in New Zealand and those in the UK, and I’ll take every opportunity to foster that relationship. “ 

    Professor Euan Mason FICFor

    Professor Mason is based in the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry in Christchurch, New Zealand. He specialises in silviculture, growth and yield modelling, applications of artificial intelligence and decision-support systems for forest management. His skills have enabled him to handle papers that involve complex mathematical models, large datasets and where the results are sensitive to interpretation, contributing to the development and current success of the Forestry journal.

  • Guidance for Members on COVID-19

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    We are here to offer support and guidance during this difficult time. Below, we have summarised the advice that’s relevant to the forestry and arboriculture sector.

    Please note that the advice for Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales may differ so it is best to check official government advice for the country you are living in first. 

    Advice for England

    Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. There is updated (11/05/20) UK Government guidance specifically for those working in outdoor environments.  The advice is to still work from home where possible but outlines a number of steps that are needed to help you understand how you can continue, or restart, operations at this time. There is also guidance on risk assessments, maintaining social distance, travel to/from work, cleaning/sanitising and face covering and general advice for managers. Please ensure that you have thoroughly read this guidance if you intend to work outdoors – it can be found here.

    Advice for Scotland

    Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. The Scottish Government have produced a route map for moving out of lockdown and are now in Phase 1. Scottish Forestry have published guidance (29/05/20) on how the forestry sector in Scotland can safely and resiliently restart with advice on safe working measures.

    Advice for Wales

    Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. Some changes to the coronavirus restrictions in Wales came into force on 1 June, please see here.

    Advice for Northern Ireland

    Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. There’s a range of advice available for businesses on the government’s website.

    Please read this guidance document from FISA, published 1 June, on safe working in forestry during the coronavirus. It is accessible via their website here

    Confor have produced guidance for the forestry sector on safely returning to work. Please refer to it here.

    The most important thing for members to do is to stay safe. For the latest health advice, see UK Government information and the NHS website. You can also find mental health support here.

    GOV.UK has more information on financial support for businesses. There’s additional financial support in Scotland and Wales. It’s worth exploring official resources where you are in case the support on offer changes.

    Confor’s Covid Hub has detailed guidance on safe working and letters of comfort that can be used by anyone (not just Confor members or designated key workers). There are also FAQs, business support and links to guidance by other bodies like Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales. The Institute is working with Confor to ensure the sector has the information and support it needs.

    The Arboricultural Association have produced their own information and advice (consistent with the above), an advice poster for continuing to work, and arboriculture-specific guidance for working.

    We acknowledge reports that different countries can seem to have different approaches to enforcement and different public attitudes to business and movement. If you are starting to return to work, social distancing measures must be in place.

    We’re also aware of many of the challenges our members are facing, from issues with having to travel in separate vehicles, to delays accessing financial support for the self-employed. The survey we ran earlier this month on the impact of COVID-19 is already being used to help us and government bodies decide what else is needed. The results of this survey can be found here.

    Useful links: 

    Forestry Commissionhow they are supporting the sector through the outbreak
    DefraCOVID-19 update
    FISANews (Including COVID-19 information)
    Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy business support
    UK Government – general up-to-date information

    Make sure to keep checking our website for the latest information.
  • Institute Policy Roundup – April 2020

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    We’re excited to introduce the first monthly policy roundup blog – bringing you updates from what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

    Policy Strategy

    Council approved our new policy strategy at the end of March so we can really push forward with the work we’ve been doing. Thanks to our informal policy steering group, Sam Brown MICFor, Martin Gammie MICFor, Gabriel Hemery FICFor, Syd House FICFor and Stephen Westmore MICFor, for their help leading up to the March meeting of Council.

    The objectives of the strategy are:

    • Giving our members a voice.
    • Raising the profile of the Institute and the tree professions with policymakers and the public.
    • Highlighting the contributions forestry and arboriculture can make to the challenges that public. policy seeks to solve.

    The policy strategy focuses on utilising our members’ expertise and experience, including official Institute representatives and also the general membership.

    Here are some highlights from our recent activities:

    Partners & Consultations
    • In late March, we led a meeting with Defra officials, alongside partners Confor, the RFS and the Woodland Trust to talk about Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) proposals. With Neville Elstone advising as the Institute’s representative for ELMs, we will continue to work closely with partners and keep the pressure on Defra to consult fully with the forestry sector.
    • As you know from our recent blog, the ELMs consultation has been put on pause by Defra, but you can still send your thoughts to us. We’ve had a good number of replies so far and will feed them in to the Institute response.
    • We provided input to a proposal by Woodland Trust Wales to increase planting of ‘hedges and edges’ on farms and we hope to work more closely with them in future.
    • We joined the Environmental Policy Forum as an observer and are working with colleagues at Society for the Environment and their other licensed bodies.
    Member Surveys
    • We sent a survey on the impact of COVID-19 to all our members to see what challenges they face. We’re sharing the anonymised results with government bodies to help them plan how best to support the sector and will provide an update to members soon. Thank you to everyone who responded – we had over 250 responses in less than a week.
    • We closed the main membership survey with a reasonable 20% response rate. It’s important not just for the numbers but for the rich comments. We’re busy analysing it and will update members with our plans soon after that.
    • Later in the year, we’re planning a survey to gather expressions of interest for a members ‘policy panel’ so people can opt in to helping the Institute with a range of policy work. This might include linking us with relevant groups, contributing to consultations, doing media engagement or acting as a sounding board. Watch this space!
    • The results from last year’s CPD survey will be published in the spring edition of Chartered Forester and are feeding into the planning of current programmes (coronavirus notwithstanding).
    • Several of our members spoke at the very well received Accelerating Woodland Creation Conference on 25th March – Jo O’Hara MICFor, Dougal Driver FICFor, Caroline Ayre MICFor, John Deakin MICFor, James Hepburne Scott FICFor, James Simpson MICFor and John Tucker MICFor.
    • We’ll be fielding a speaker at a new event in September by the Westminster Policy Forum on the future for agricultural land use. This will emphasise the importance of trees on farms and working closely with farmers.
    • Many meetings and events have been cancelled but we still want to stay in touch – do send in your updates, suggestions or queries and, of course, sign up to the immensely popular #MembersHour.

    More on #MembersHour

    A Few Updates from Elsewhere
    Please do send us your thoughts on this first policy blog, and your queries or comments about any of our activities to Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research
  • Two Chartered Foresters Receive 2020 Peter Savill Award

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    We are delighted to say that the joint winners of the Woodland Heritage 2020 Peter Savill Award are two Fellows of the Institute, Professor Julian Evans OBE FICFor and Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor. This is only the second joint award and has been done in recognition of the close working relationships that both winners had with Dr Peter Savill, who sadly died in November last year.

    Each year Woodland Heritage gives the Peter Savill Award to recognise the contribution of an individual who has significantly benefited British forestry. That contribution to forestry must be in sympathy with the objectives of the charity of which Peter was a Trustee from 1999 to 2016, and in one of the following areas of forestry: silviculture; research; marketing; wood processing; education.

    “The Trustees of Woodland Heritage always find it incredibly challenging to select the winner of the Peter Savill Award, when there is such a broad and talented range of people to consider”, said Lewis Scott, Co-Founder and Acting Chairman. “This year was the hardest so far coming so soon after Peter’s tragic death. In the end we wanted to recognise not just the amazing contributions that both Julian and Gabriel have made and continue to make to British forestry, but how they were also important people in Peter’s life.”

    Professor Julian Evans OBE FICFor

    Professor Evans said: “Working with Peter on Planation Silviculture in Temperate Regions – with special reference to the British Isles and then Plantation Silviculture in Europe, as well as our continuing professional association in visits to Oxford, at field meetings, and in conferences has been one of life’s privileges for me. To receive this award is honour indeed.”

    Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor

    Dr Hemery added: “Peter Savill has left an incredible legacy to forestry. Compiling memories from his former students and colleagues from across the world before his funeral service, certain keywords shone through which tell of his personal impact: great, gentle, kind, helpful, knowledgeable, patient, wise, humble. In short, I think of him as Peter Savill DBH: Distinguished, Brilliant, Human”.

    With the Woodland Heritage Field Weekend cancelled for this year, the official presentation to Julian Evans and Gabriel Hemery will take place later in 2020.

  • National Tree Officers Virtual Conference 2020 – Invitation to Present

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    Building on the success of previous conferences, and in light of the ongoing situation with Coronavirus (Covid-19), we’re excited to announce the fifth National Tree Officers Conference is being moved online.

    This month-long event, developed by tree officers for tree officers, is a fantastic opportunity for tree, woodland and planning officers to present to their peers on the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural and urban forestry work.

    The conference will be held over four weeks in November, beginning 2nd November 2020. Bookings for the conference will open on 17th August 2020.

    Each of the four weeks will feature presentations covering specific topics. We’re looking for presentations for interactive, online sessions covering the following subject areas:


    • Week 1: Pests & Diseases
    • Week 2: Planting & Species Selection in a Changing Climate
    • Week 3: Planning
    • Week 4: Wildcard Session (any other topics outside those listed above)

    The submission period for presentations is now open and will close on 6th July 2020.

    Proposals must include your name, email address, presentation topic with overview (500-word maximum) and estimated duration. Presentations can be performed live or submitted prior to the conference in video format. We’re also keen to hear from tree officers who are interested in leading discussion groups relating to the various sessions that will be held throughout the month.

    Submissions will be reviewed by a committee, with selection criteria including quality, appropriateness, focus, the practical nature of material, and potential appeal to the audience.

    Outlines should be sent by email to Becky Porter (LTOA):

    The National Tree Officers Virtual Conference 2020 is proudly organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers’ Association (MTOA), the Association of Tree Officers (ATO) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

    Media Enquiries
    Mark Goodwin
    Marketing & Communications Manager
    +44 (0) 131 240 1428

  • We’re Bringing our PME Workshop Online

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    We are doing all we can in these extraordinary times to support and stay connected to our members.

    As part of our efforts, we remain committed to supporting our Associate Members who wish to present for Professional Membership Entry (PME). Over the course of three Tuesday morning sessions in April 2020, we’ll be presenting the key elements from our PME Workshop and answer any questions or queries you may have about the process.

    Session 1: An introduction to the PME process and The Career Profile

    Tuesday 14 April at 11.00am – 12.00pm


    Session 2: The Work Record and Continuous Personal Development

    Tuesday 21 April at 11.00am – 12.00pm

    Book Now

    Session 3: The Critical Analysis, The Professional Interview and Support from the Institute

    Tuesday 28 April at 11.00am – 12.00pm

    Coming Soon

    These are all free and will be hosted on Zoom. You are more than welcome to attend one, two or all three workshops. We anticipate a high level of demand for these and unfortunately we are limited to 100 participants in each workshop. Please book early to secure your place.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

  • #MembersHour

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    Keeping Connected

    These are extraordinary times and we’re aware that many of our members will now be adjusting to new and perhaps unfamiliar working practices.

    Here at the Institute, we realise the importance of keeping connected, from both professional and health-related perspectives. With this in mind, we’ve been working hard on putting together a number of initiatives to help keep our members connected and informed of the latest developments in forestry and arboriculture.

    To this end, we’re very excited to bring you #MembersHour – an informal series of free online sessions that will cover a diverse range of topics and subject areas of interest to our members. This is your opportunity to learn, to share best practice and above all to catch up with other members.

    These sessions will run every second Thursday’s from 11am until 12pm via Zoom and will typically involve a 30-minute presentation followed by an interactive 30 minutes of Q&A.

    Please see below for the sessions currently open for bookings.

    Finally, if there’s a subject you’d like to discuss, or potentially host, then please get in touch with us here.

    #StaySafe #StaySocial


  • Accelerating Woodland Creation – Conference Report

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    The Accelerating Woodland Creation conference on March 25 highlighted what should be done for England to fulfil a meaningful share of the UK’s ambitious goal of 30,000 hectares of new woodland per year until 2025. The UK Climate Change Committee has suggested that net zero will only be possible if this level of planting can be sustained until 2050.

    Key issues and practicalities around woodland creation addressed by the conference:

    Skills shortage – government ambitions for woodland creation are impossible without a new next generation of foresters and woodland managers. Forestry must be in the national curriculum and university capacity must be increased. Otherwise, the country will run out of people to plant and manage woodland at scale.

    Land availability – many farmers don’t have the confidence to commit land to woodland. Farming, not forestry, is in their DNA. Environmental regulation is perceived as a blocker. There are untapped opportunities though, including some of the estimated 145,000 hectares of former landfill sites in England and Ministry of Defence land.

    Nursery stock – young trees can’t be manufactured, they take years to grow. At present, there won’t be enough seed to meet an acceleration in demand. Tree nurseries need confidence that people will buy what they grow. In recent years, thousands of young trees have gone to waste in the past because of uncertain demand.

    Multiple benefits – while net zero is a driver for new planting, trees offer massive benefits to society. In some local situations, this includes nature recovery and flood risk reduction. For this reason, forestry is no longer isolated – it is intertwined into air quality,

    Woodland stewardship – wood is high tech material with thousands of uses. If we manage our existing woods better, we can lock in more carbon and produce wood that is a much more versatile material.


    Summary of keynotes and panel discussions

    Environment minister Lord Goldsmith calls for ‘genuine collaboration’ to meet our greatest ever ambition for tree planting

    While acknowledging the current challenges with COVID-19, Lord Goldsmith stressed the importance not to lose sight of other priorities such as climate change, saying: “The government has hugely ambitious plans for tree planting and woodland creation across the country. Trees are important for the economy, biodiversity and flood resistance. Until COVID-19, the climate crisis was the greatest challenge of this year.”

    “We know planting on hillsides helps to absorb water, trees can protect and enhance biodiversity and they are ritually important for nature recovery networks,” he added, explaining that the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament will reflect this. He referred to the importance of the timber market and its role in farmers’ livelihoods through the planting of trees.

    “None of this comes cheaply.,” he said. “We have a huge challenge to achieve a scale of tree planting and woodland management we haven’t seen before,” pointing to the government’s £640 million Nature for Climate Fund to help deliver the English portion of the commitment to tree planting to 30,000 hectares a year by 2025, and noting the huge success of Scotland, which has planted over 11,000 hectares of woodland in the year 2018 to 2019.

    Lord Goldsmith added that the government cannot deliver this alone, and will require genuine collaboration between businesses, landowners, farmers and communities, to build on the “great work already carried out. We need firms to change the way they do business, and for foresters, local communities, landowners and farmers to plant trees on their land and see woodland creation as a financially viable option. We need more private investment in tree planting schemes, and we need the public sector to make land available that is not needed or suitable for housing building or development.”

    Actions the government is taking include the English Tree Strategy (ETS) which is in the consultation stage. He encouraged the conference to respond to that consultation to “ensure the strategy we design enhances the value of woodlands. We need to get this absolutely right and that is only possible if we get robust, honest input from people on the front line, namely those in this conference today.”

    Seed nurseries setting greater priorities for home grown trees are important to protect against potential biosecurity hazards, and Lord Goldsmith called for more home grown timber, to create a “conveyor belt of locked in carbon from which the wider benefits will flow.”

    He agreed with Dougal Driver FICFor, CEO of Grown in Britain and conference chair, on the value of growing as much home grown timber as possible, as a buffer against “huge biosecurity threats outside our borders,” citing the oak processionary moth, brought into the country on root systems from trees in a garden centre in Kew.  He reported that Defra is working on the issue of tree imports and for the time being will follow current UK timber guidelines, adding “the English Tree Strategy is relevant here.”

    He stressed the need to maintain the standards that are in place right now, and not risk the negative aspects of planting in the wrong place. In some places, natural regeneration is a better alternative to tree planting, but he had no doubt that the system can be more streamlined. “We are trying to find ways for future landowners to bypass some of the cumbersome aspects of the process, or have confidence to be able to plant.” He recognised that there is more work to be done and he hopes that the Tree Strategy will answer a lot of questions.

    Acknowledging that people have concerns about funding streams likely to emerge in the coming years, such as if they plant now on land, they might be required to do more when the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme comes in, he referred to his November 2019 statement, that trees planted now will be accounted for in future ELM schemes.

    He added that while everything in government is being delayed right now, there were no specific delays agreed on the ETS consultation, “So, technically, we are on course for this to be published as planned, but I can’t give you that commitment.”

    He reminded the conference that he and other government ministers had insisted that the ETS was integrated into areas of public policy, such as flood defence and nature recovery. On whether it will be enshrined in law, he explained that “some aspects will require legislation and others won’t.” The Environment Bill, which is scheduled to be introduced into the Lords in May, will be too early to incorporate the ETS consultation.

    As different government teams head up different aspects of policy, he admitted that “we tend to get a silo approach,” and agreed that the government needs a more holistic approach to tree planting. “Tree planting is not suitable everywhere, and some areas not suitable for traditional forestry, so the more joined up we can be the better.”

    In closing, Lord Goldsmith urged conference delegates to “keep the communications going as much as we can. We’re not all experts so please don’t hold back and if there are things we should be doing then let us know.”


    Sir William Worsley, recently-appointed Chair of the Forestry Commission, explained how he is working closely with Lord Goldsmith to enable the development of the ETS to help everyone to accelerate woodland creation. He recognised recent success in getting trees and woods onto the national agenda, however “the government target raises the bar to a completely new level, and the £640 million nature fund makes it the most exciting and challenging time to lead the Forestry Commission since it was founded.”

    He explained that the Commission’s role is to encourage and enable others to create woodland, working in close partnership with the government and organisations such as Defra, Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency and the Environment Agency.

    He pointed out that government departments can help include the Ministry of Defence, which has land to plant, the Department of Transport, which has major infrastructure projects that can incorporate new woodland, and the Ministry of Housing and Development, where in the National Forest, for example, 20% of tree cover has come from housing development, and the Department of Education, which can help develop skills, citing initiatives such as the Young People’s National Forest in Derbyshire.

    Across the private sector, working with tree nurseries is essential to help grow and supply planting stock: “Good biodiversity is essential and we need our own nurseries to provide the quality, quantity and diversity of stock required.”

    The education sector is required to build a more highly skilled workforce, and “we need to show forestry is an exciting career to pursue,” adding that landowners need to be engaged, including farmers who would never have considered woodland creation, and the forestry and land agents are required to advise them. Investors are also needed, and there are many who want to put money into forestry.

    Charities and NGO’s such as the National Trust, National Forest Company, Woodland Trust and community forests are must maximise the woodlands that they can deliver. And local authorities like Northumberland County Council which has convened the Northumberland Forest Partnership are needed to create woodland in response to climate emergency.

    Communications and engagement with the public and the media are important, he said, concluding: “We need to bring people with us and must not have people feel ignored. This is an opportunity none of us can afford to miss.”


    Richard Greenhouse, Director of Forest Services for Forestry Commission England, put forward these conditions for action if the government’s targets are to be met:

    Strong political leadership and backing, which the UK government is showing signs of providing, notably by bringing in forestry experts and guardians for tree related research.

    Substantial investment from the public sector (such as the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund) and a marked increase in private investment in woodland.

    Strong nursery stock with protection against threats of biosecurity.

    Land for new planting, with incentives and access to good advice for landowners, and future agricultural policy that breaks down the divide between farming and woodland, making it easy to create good woodlands with the right trees in the right places.

    More people for planting, establishing and managing woodland

    Quality woodland that upholds the UK Forestry Standard and that best meet society’s needs for timber, fuel, biodiversity and access to nature.

    Woodland restoration for neglected plantations, with proper management to enable them to meet their potential and and protection to preserve woodland we already have, eradicate illegal felling at home and halt ‘exported deforestation’ by minimising imports.

    He reported that there had been a “healthy number of bids” in the first auction within the £50 million Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme, and that stakeholders could “expect an auction every six months”. He highlighted the role of the Woodland Carbon Code in underpinning the scheme.

    When asked if the Forestry Commission is considering matched funding for woodland creation schemes, he pointed to the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, which matches funding with local authorities.


    John Lockhart, Chairman of Lockhart Garratt, referred to the vital role that woodland has to play in carbon reduction. One of his central points was that woodland creation is a long term business, requiring planning and investment over many decades.

    While private sector support in the form of tax relief and incentives have encouraged change, there was now a need to bring forward woodland creation. He called for simplification, citing recent initiatives in the outgoing Countryside Stewardship scheme which have added complexities and barriers for landowners.

    He felt that woodland and forestry had been the poor relation of natural environment policy, but feels that is changing and they have key roles to play in meeting targets for carbon reduction. “The 25 Year Environment Plan is starting to get some legal teeth and we’re starting to see more of this through the Environment Bill.”

    Finding the right land to plant is important and we shouldn’t “take the best and most important agricultural land which we need for food security. We need to think about what land might be released, drawing on the potential for disturbed and land that had been used for extraction of sand and gravel. “The former landfill portfolio is 4.5% of the total land area in England and Wales, amounting to 145,000 hectares, and that could make a significant contribution.”

    “Building in the true, long term costs is important. For example 75 million plants will be needed to fulfil the 30,000 hectares-a-year target,” he said, adding that much planting is done by hand, “so we need to innovate with direct seeding and mechanisation. Financing needs to be set at the right level, woodland creation takes a lot of upfront investment and revenue streams take a long time to flow through.”


    Likewise, the real value of woodland needs to be factored in. Opportunities for timber in construction are on the rise, and technology is being deployed for timber to replace steel. Schemes such as the Woodland Carbon Code demonstrate genuine revenue generation, and well managed woodland can create long term solutions in water management, flood prevention, biodiversity, health and wellbeing, as well as its ability to transform landscapes.

    Woodland creation schemes he was involved with included the 1,500-home community Tresham Garden Village, which is part of a Woodland for Carbon offset scheme, and Mountpark Bardon, which has 30% of the new woodland in the National Forest.


    Opening a session on finance and the business case for woodland creation, James Cameron, an advisor and entrepreneur on climate change matters, spoke of the crucial connections between law, public policy and finance.

    He explained how lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis to create ‘pension fund money’ from policy incentives can be applied now, and that the Paris Climate Agreement and COP26 provide incentives for the government to properly value carbon sequestrations and enshrine them in policy.

    On the issue of matching project size with the right amount of funding, he said that “one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to scale and place.” Examples are big pension funds, who want to deploy, say, £5bn over five years, and want examples of projects. “We have to explain that if you deployed that much in that way too quickly you’d make mistakes.”

    He called on a need for standards to generate confidence among fund managers: “We need to get to a position where funds can take risk, and we have to measure in the right way and make projects investible.”

    For those with concerns or mistrust around private finance, he said, “I like to tell people that public or private, it’s all our money and it matters how it is deployed. We want to see investment as if the future really counted. We want our pension funds to be going into assets that will have value in the longer term, and we want returns that last.”


    Demand for timber is a necessary component for institutional investors and it is vital to create demand in order to stimulate the market, as well as opportunities such as solar mortgages which offer small changes in finance ability for mortgage holders and increasing land value from improved landscapes.


    John Tucker MICFor, Woodland Trust’s Director of Woodland Creation, said that generating the level of scale requires the government to create certainty and to broaden the business case for forestry. “We have the data sets to know where the most profitable land is, so we need a land strategy that is suitable for large woodland creation,” including a responsive planning and grant application procedure and grant mechanisms that cover capital costs and payments at 20, 30 and 40 year periods. “I know landowners who are remortgaging their houses to clear land [for woodland] and we shouldn’t be in that situation.”

    Farming should look at woodland in collaboration, not competition, he said, and forestry should support productive farming, such as when woods are used to reduce lambing losses, provide shade for dairy cattle, and deliver nutritional and medicinal value.


    Susan Twining, CLA’s Chief Land Use Policy Officer, called on the need for a woodland incentive system that has simplicity at the point of access and to extend woodland options to include agroforestry.


    Jon Lambert, John Clegg & Co Senior Director, drew attention to the problem of acquiring sufficient land, suggesting that as more than three billion Euros become available as the UK moves out of Europe, the proposal to pay retiring farmers if they relinquish their tenancy agreement or sell their land could be extended, and “add a top up if that land is converted to woodland.”

    He also pointed out the significant capital available for woodland creation thanks to discrepancies in land values. Farmers currently pay £1,000 to £1,200 per acre, whereas forestry investors will pay more than double, “so we need to unlock that key.”


    James Hepburne Scott FICFor, Co-founder of Forest Carbon, said that the scale of this challenge a major shift in the mindset of landowners and farmers on the relative rewards of woodland relative to farmland. Tenant farmers make up 30% of UK farmland and will need to make long term career choices that require massive investments in training to create the seed collectors, contractors and forestry professionals that will be needed:

    “This will require sustained political leadership, and a land use strategy to underpin the application of ELM’s [the proposed Environmental Land Management Scheme]. We need to reassure farmers that you won’t put yourself offside in 2024 if you plant now,” he said, calling for a grant support system that welcomes blended finance.


    Urban areas offer great potential for woodland creation. However, David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, said the challenges that have to be addressed include land availability, maintenance and watering, as well as vandalism.


    Clare Olver of Mersey Forest, which has planted 10 million trees in North Cheshire and Merseyside, and Community Forests, of which there are 10 in England, said these were an incredible force for change, “as about 50% of the population lives within a community forest, and in urban areas we can get some of the greatest benefits, including ‘putting nature to work’ with flood alleviation, embedding carbon.”


    John Deakin MICFor, Head of Trees and Woodlands for The National Trust, sees its commitment to plant 18,000 hectares of new woodland by 2030, as “a real opportunity for us to engender and engage people to support good woodland management,” adding “there has been too much disconnect between realities of woodland management and creation, and how people perceive them in society.”

    He explained how the National Trust has to enable its farming tenants to create sustainable businesses and warned that we are “still dealing with the legacy in places around previous woodland creation at scale, and the impact this has had on the farming community.  “We need to bring those people along with us, so we can use the opportunity to create diversification, benefits for farmers, rural tourism, and so on, and this has to be done in partnership with the agricultural sector, and not done to them.”


    Richard Blyth, Head of Policy for the Royal Town Planning Institute, called for an overarching vision and integrated strategies for places, and to depart from the tendency to regard environmental matters in silos and is critical of a national preoccupation with parochial ideas: “You can divide a country into small areas and conclude how they might be planned in housing terms, as half the population crosses local authority boundaries to go to work. We need to think big in terms of the relationships between trees, housing, space and flooding.”, adding that more integrated planning would ensure the environmental voice is embedded into policy.”

    When it comes to building a blueprint for action, Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser for the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, said that there are a great range of individuals and situations which need to be considered and suggested we look at those farmers who own land and farm it as a family asset. These people are facing issues around prioritising woodland amid the reshaping that is about to happen from pressures like the economy and Brexit that are changing the economics of farming production.

    On how Scotland has succeeded in tree planting, he said that Scotland offers a scale of land ownership England doesn’t, and estates have longer timescales as sources for private funding.

    Looking at the Forestry Share Agreement, he said be aware that this asks farmers to share income 40 years hence, “which compared to the life of a dairy cow, puts things into perspective. With the changes coming down the track, it’s an opportunity cost, and once you’ve put your land into timber it’s expensive to get out of, and you can shut off other things you might see in the next decades.”

    He warned that a deeper issue for farmers is the sense of woodland as an activity: “They’re used to managing livestock and maintaining woodland can be seen as passive by comparison.”

    He agreed that sawmills are economic drivers and can help, and may help to justify woodland or, he asked, is there a way of looking at Faster Forestry, “something which turns plants around in a quicker cycle so bring income and management and change forward.” These would be “longer term crops are on a farming perspective, rather than something of the perspective of generations.”


    James Simpson MICFor, director of operations, Forestry England said that the main change in Scotland was confidence among landowners that investing in projects would be successful.

    Forestry England is creating a blueprint for next few years and, as part of Defra, is in the middle of the discussion. He reported, “We are aiming to acquire 1,000 hectares of land a year, and while this is a fraction of what needs to be done, if we create activity I hope it will create confidence across a wide sector.”

    He went on to say that any woodland Forestry England will plant will be resilient biologically and in terms of future funding, based on natural capital values not just financial ones, in places chosen for biggest impact, and they will work with owners of neighbouring land to buy from, land will be freehold or at least 120 years’ leasehold.


    Jamie Gordon, chief forest advisor for WWF said that he felt a sense of urgency at the conference and the need to “crack on and do something,” but stressed the work to be done on public perception and “gaining an understanding of what we do.”  He warned that if you do encounter specific interests in your profession, you tend to think a vision of what woodland should do is the vision, citing the mass planting mistakes of the 1980’s and 90’s.

    He pointed to the extensive reach and value of forests, and called for a bigger view when putting forests back into landscapes, as “they will affect what’s going on around that landscape and how it connects up.”

    In essence he said we are asking forests to help restore nature, provide goods and services, as well as combat climate change, and “we have to recognise there will be trade offs while we’re trying to tackle all three.”


    Victoria Vyvyan, CLA vice president, who is also a landowner with forestry, biomass, lowland heath restoration as well as “several hectares of land looking for a home”, called on the Forestry Commission to consider land owners and managers who are looking at land use strategies for their whole holdings, not just in regard to trees and pointed at key challenges and opportunities.

    “Permanent land use change is a disincentive,” she explained, “as some projects aren’t permanent and you lock landowners in.”  The fact that farmers and owners borrow money against land value is another challenge, because if forestry devalues land it will have severe financial consequences.


    Caroline Ayre MICFor, England National Manager for Confor, summarised the country’s capability for woodland creation and management in her presentation. She re-emphasised the vital importance forestry and timber plays in the decarbonisation of the UK economy. “Confor members who make up the supply chain can make that happen but we need knowledgeable policy making, wise investment in growing our future forests and a long-term management strategy”.


    The opportunities lie in creating certainty in policy, which will lead to private and public financial commitments, and developing straightforward funding options that people can access.


    The Accelerating Woodland Creation conference took place on 25 March 2020 and was organised by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.

  • ELM Scheme Consultation Open

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    On Wednesday 24 June 2020, Defra reopened the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme consultation, after it was paused in early April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

    This scheme will transform the way foresters, farmers and other land managers are supported, replacing the payments and grants set up under the Common Agricultural Policy.

    The way in which any new ELM scheme is developed and rolled out will affect all of our members and we would encourage you to respond to this consultation on behalf of yourself and your business. The consultation will close on Friday 31st July.

    Respond Here

    We’ll also be formulating an Institute response and will continue the work we’re doing with partners to influence the scheme. Your input will help guide these efforts. Please send us your thoughts, by email, to Jemima Cooper –

    Join a Defra webinar!

    Defra are planning a series of online interactive webinars on the policy discussion document during July. These offer an opportunity for farmers and foresters to discuss the proposals with Defra staff. Please do join one of these if you are able, the details are below:

    Wednesday 1 July   12:00 – 13:30
    Tuesday 7 July      18:00 – 19:30
    Thursday 16 July    08:30 – 10:00
    Thursday 23 July   12:00 – 13:30
    Tuesday 28 July     08:30 – 10:00
    Thursday 30 Jul   18:00 – 19:30

    Register here to join a webinar

    Neville Elstone is the Institute’s representative for ELMs and is a member of DEFRA’s advisory group. He emphasises the importance of the scheme and your participation in the consultation below.

    Trees, woodlands and forests have been giving a range of really useful stuff to society, largely with no reward or recognition to the owner or manager. The 25 year Environment Plan and the land management policy intervention that will support it, the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) aims to change this. It is being designed to reward land managers and owners that provide ecosystem services such as biodiversity, carbon storage and clean water – paying public money for public goods.

    The Institute is a couple of years into work to shape this scheme to recognise and pay for the benefits that we as a sector provide. The most recent chance to shape this comes as a discussion document launched by DEFRA – it gives you a flavour of the direction that ELMs will take and gives the chance to respond. The Institute is very much focussed on the importance of boosting skills and the provision of high quality advice through the scheme, along with firm emphasis on UKFS and stressing the need for regulatory sign off and incentives to be in one place/one package.

    ELMs gives the sector a chance to be rewarded for what it provides and so grow, develop and thrive. I urge you to take a look at the document, both to have a sight of where we are heading and to give you a chance to input – whether direct to DEFRA, as part of the Institute’s response or preferably both. These developments will shape land management for many years to come.

    Respond to DEFRA  Respond to Us

  • COVID-19: Essential Working Information

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    Updated: 21/04/20

    The Institute has received a significant number of enquiries from our members seeking clarification around the recently implemented restrictions on working practices. The government has not stipulated that all businesses should close and have advised that people can go to work if they cannot do so from home.

    The UK Government’s document, Staying at home and away from others (social distancing), states:

    If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

    Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow established guidelines on social distancing, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).’

    On Tuesday 7 April, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published updated advice for businesses. The following guidance for “Outdoor Businesses” may apply to you:

    This applies to businesses situated outdoors – market stalls, farms, quarries, commercial forests or other outdoor businesses – where it is not possible for workers to observe social distancing guidelines at all times.

    Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.

    If a 2 metre distance cannot be maintained, staff should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible.

    You should communicate to all staff that they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more and more frequently than normal.

    If workers have to share enclosed spaces such as the cabs of vehicles, they should keep the window open for ventilation and they should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times. On leaving the enclosed space, they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more or use hand sanitiser when they cannot wash their hands.

    If customer-facing, you should consider how you can safely sell your products or services without encouraging crowds and ensure hygiene measures are in place. This could be done by taking orders online or by telephone in advance and pre-packing orders to limit face-to-face time, or considering delivery services if possible. When interacting with customers, you should maintain a 2 metre distance as much as possible.

    To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

    In Scotland, the guidance is slightly different and emphasises that for people who can’t work at home, only those involved in supporting production of essential goods and service or critical nation infrastructure should continue to go to work. The Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance was updated on Tuesday 21 April and also highlights the requirements for all business which remain open during the emergency period. There are three new measures introduced in this guidance:

    • requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes (including travelling for work purposes, but only where they cannot work from home)
    • closing certain business and venues (see section below on businesses and premises which must close)
    • stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

    Please read the full guidance for details on the Scottish businesses that are, and are not, allowed to remain open.

    In Wales, the Welsh Government have published regulations which enable enforcement of the guidelines set by the UK Government and WHO where the principles remain the same. Their message reiterates the importance of staying at home to save lives and minimising the risk of transmission in the workplace. There are strict requirements and restrictions for businesses, services and individuals it is against the law to leave your home without a reasonable excuse. You should only travel to work if it is not reasonably practicable to work from home.

    Both businesses and individuals are responsible for setting their own working practices whilst ensuring they remain compliant with the latest government advice at all times. As this advice is likely to be updated frequently over the next few weeks, make sure to keep checking our website for the latest information.

    We are fully supportive of any measures implemented to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and alleviate pressure on our health system.

    Useful Links

    ConforCOVID-19 forestry and wood information hub
    Forestry Commission – statement on COVID-19
    Defra – summary of the latest news from Defra related to COVID-19
    Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategyguidance for employers/businesses
    UK Government – general up-to-date information

  • #TheFutureIsForestry Winners Announced

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    The winners of Confor’s #TheFutureisForestry essay and video awards were announced today- with Jenny Knight of the University of Birmingham picking up the essay prize and Dan Haslam (Scottish Woodlands) winning for best video.

    The awards were due to be presented at Westminster by Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith yesterday (Tuesday 24th March), but the event was cancelled due to Covid-19 – after initially being delayed from last November when the general election was called

    Jenny Knight

    The essay-writers and film-makers were asked to tackle the question (in up to 1500 words or a short film): ‘How can farmers and landowners be motivated to plant more trees to deliver a wide range of benefits, especially mitigating climate change?

    Jenny Knight, a Doctoral Researcher in Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Birmingham, won the essay prize by challenging the premise that farmers and landowners need to be motivated to plant trees and saying they just needed more support to make it happen.

    The judges said: “Jenny set up the context for the discussion quickly, then questioned the question – and delivered a very coherent and persuasive argument as to how we can move forward, focused on relationship-building, communication and challenging perceptions. She identified very specific logistical challenges to planting at a local level, plus problems of knowledge and funding.”

    The video by Dan Haslam and colleagues from Scottish Woodland Ltd, put a forestry and wood spin on Monty Python’s famous sketch “What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?” – explaining the wide-ranging benefits of tree planting. Watch it here.

    Dan Haslam (left)

    Runner-up in the essay prize was Alex Malkin, ex-Tilhill Forestry, now working at Norbury Park, Staffordshire. Ellen Humphrey of Coed Cymru was placed third. Three entries were highly commended in a very high-quality competition: Nathan Adams, a Bangor University Masters student who works with Focus Consultants; Jay Williams, former Masters student, Harper Adams University; and Maeve Wright, of legal firm Anderson Strathern.

    The runner-up in the video prize was Pippa Paterson, former Graduate Rural Surveyor with Davidson and Robertson (film here), while film-maker Chris Court was third: watch here.

    The Awards were sponsored by Tilhill, BSW Timber and Forestry Commission.

    Stuart Goodall, Confor CEO, said: “It was disappointing to have to postpone the awards and then cancel them after such a strong set of entries. However, we are delighted to reward Jenny, Alex and Ellen for their excellent essays and Dan and the team, Pippa and Chris for their videos. The current crisis will throw up long-term challenges for forestry and the rural economy and it is great to see such creative thinking going on.”

    The winning essays will be published in FTN over the coming months, and both the essays and videos will be made available on the Confor website.

  • COVID-19 Events Update

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    As you will no doubt be aware, the UK and much of the world is currently experiencing a significant health crisis.

    In these unprecedented times, and in light of recent advice from the government and WHO on the coronavirus, the Institute has decided to postpone or change a number of events that were planned over the next few months.

    Although this is disappointing, the well-being of our members, delegates and speakers is of the utmost importance to us. We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused and please get in touch with us regarding our refund policy for each event.

    Please note that all staff will be working from home until further notice. We will endeavour to maintain the same levels of service during this time but please bear with us if there is a slight delay while we adapt to this new working regime. In addition, we have included direct dials on our staff page here. Please use these where possible. For general enquiries, please contact

    In the meantime, we are still working to keep connected. Whether you are self-isolating or working from home, we are now offering a number of online events so that you can continue your CPD.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Event Changes

    Young Professionals Study Tour 2020POSTPONED

    This event will now take place in 2021.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4POSTPONED

    #TPBE4 will now take place on the 3rd & 4th of February 2021 at the University of Birmingham. Tickets will be available to book shortly.

    View all Events

  • Women in Forestry: Lamorna Richards

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Lamorna Richards is a student of Forestry at Bangor University.

    Why did you choose to study forestry?

    I chose to study forestry as I love the outdoors and forestry is a great mix of both academic and practical learning.

    Why should young people, especially girls, consider a career in forestry?

    I think young people should consider a career in forestry as it is a really important sector with a diverse range of opportunities. There’s so much more to specialise in than you realise as there is research, biosecurity, agroforestry, urban forestry and lots more! Also all the people are very welcoming and there are lots of networking opportunities.

    Do you think the sector is doing enough to attract a more diverse workforce?

    I think the sector gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to get into forestry. I think the main issue that prevents more people from joining the sector is that forestry isn’t widely advertised, for example during GCSEs and A Levels, so young people aren’t aware that a forestry career actually exists. Instead, we need to show people the value of trees and relevance of forestry in their everyday lives to encourage people into the sector.

  • Women in Forestry: Shona Smyth

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Shona Smyth is a Harvesting Contracts Manager at Tilhill Forestry in Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    The people. Forestry has an almost community feel. Being a small industry everyone knows everyone! I also love the outdoor element of my job. No two days are the same and the need to be reactive to situations keeps you on your toes.

    Why choose forestry/harvesting?

    It’s a rewarding sector with so my disciplines to choose from. Whether you are interested in ecology, wildlife management, timber harvesting, sawmilling, planting and establishment… the list goes on, forestry is able to cater for all interests. I touch on many of them in my role day to day as a Harvesting Contracts Manager.

    How can ICF support women in forestry, harvesting, and arboriculture?

    The ICF already supports women in all aspects of forestry. Being part of a minority, I have never been made feel unwelcome and having events such as the ICF’s AGM or ICF’s National Study Tour provides the opportunity to talk to other women in the industry. Having a higher number of female chairs and speakers at conferences and events shows the progress that the industry is making.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    As forestry is an industry still relatively hidden from career choices, developing a diverse workforce is going to be challenging. Just continuing to have a presence at careers fairs and shows is making a difference; it’s often the perception and uncertainty about the industry that deters women from pursuing a career in forestry.

  • SocEnv Podcast: Ross Weddle MICFor CEnv

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    Society for the Environment are currently running the podcast series ‘Interviews with Environmental Professionals’ which is designed to provide insight into the lives of environmental professionals. What drives them? How did they get where they are today? Why do they do what they do?

    Ross Weddle MICFor CEnv is a chartered, professional member of the Institute and featured on this week’s episode. Ross is a Consultant, Research Associate at Northumbria University, and Director for multiple companies, offering professional expertise in Forestry and Land Management, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, and Planning (spatial, community and project). He has worked in the forestry sector for 30 years, accumulating experience, and sharing his vast knowledge.

    Listen to his episode below

  • Scottish Government Provides £7 Million for Timber Transport Projects

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    Fergus Ewing has reminded local authorities and land owners that they could miss out on funding support for Timber Transport projects if they don’t get application proposals in by the 9th March deadline.

    The Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF), managed by Scottish Forestry, provides co-funding for projects that minimise the impact of timber lorries on Scotland’s rural road network.

    Mr Ewing, said;

    “Over the past 14 years, nearly £60 million of Scottish Government funding has helped to deliver a substantial number of projects to improve mostly minor rural roads throughout Scotland or that promote modal shift, taking lorries off the road and transporting timber to market by sea. This government support has been instrumental in securing co funding of £30 million and the completion of 248 projects across Scotland.

    “Over the past 5 years alone, £28 million of that funding has led to a total investment of over £40 million in works to minimise the impact of transporting timber to market on communities and the environment.

    “The fund began with £3 million per annum in 2005  but now disburses £7 million each year to help the sector, to improve our economic and environmental performance, to unjam bottlenecks and to work with local authorities, which welcome the work that we have done on timber transport.

    “We will be maintaining this level of investment in the coming year and look forward to seeing more projects come to fruition,”

    Work on minor B, C class and Unclassified roads – including drainage, strengthening, improving the road surface, widening corners, adding traffic calming measures or providing passing places – makes it easier for local residents and business to share the rural road network.  A number of in-forest bypass roads have also been created .

    In addition the TimberLINK Service, supported by the fund moves timber by sea on the west coast of Scotland, removing nearly one million lorry miles a year from Scottish roads.

    This has delivered substantial social and environmental benefits to local communities and has helped alleviate some of the pressures that have arisen from the continuing success of Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry.

    Mr Ewing added;

    “The Timber Transport Fund helps to realises projects that deliver benefits today and which will support ongoing investment in new forest well into the future.

    “The fund has been a terrific success story in Scotland, and I am grateful to all the Regional Timber Transport Groups (RTTG) throughout Scotland that work hard to identify potential  candidate schemes for submission to seek funding support through the competitive bidding process.

    Local authorities and forest owners have long been engaged with this project and I would encourage them to bring forward more ideas before we reach the March deadline.”

    Scotland’s rural economy benefits hugely from the millions of tonnes of high quality timber produced every year and the STTF mitigates the impact of these increased volumes of timber coming to market.

    As well as providing these wider community benefits required under the scheme, the funding also delivers benefits to the timber processing sector.

    The scheme also supports work to improve the freight capacity on some busy rural A roads, which is vital for shifting sustainably grown timber from Scotland’s forests to timber processing and manufacturing facilities.

    The projects supported not only ensure the continuing steady stream of quality timber to processors across the country but also reduce the number of road miles required to transport timber to market when shipping timber to market.

    The funding also supports the work of one national and five regionally based Project Officers who engage with Local Authorities and forestry stakeholders to identify any local timber transport issues and seek to identify potential solutions.

    All projects are required to meet the Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS) funding criteria.

    Download List of Funded Projects

  • DAERA Pledge to Plant 18 Million Trees Over the Next 10 Years

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    DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA has pledged to help tackle climate change by planting 18 million trees over the next 10 years – 10 for every person in Northern Ireland.

    The ‘Forests for our Future’ programme is Northern Ireland’s biggest and most ambitious plan to develop our forests and contribute to sustainable economic growth and was announced by the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, in a statement to the Assembly.

    Minister Poots said: “Forests are a natural and vital resource, enjoyed by people across the world. Each year in Northern Ireland, our forest parks are visited around five million times and contribute greatly to positive physical and mental health and help people to connect with their environment.

    “However, forest cover in Northern Ireland currently sits at 8%, well behind the UK average of 13%. We plant only 200 hectares of woodland per year, instead of the 900 hectares recommended recently by the Committee on Climate Change. That is why I have launched ‘Forests for our Future’ – my Department’s biggest and most ambitious plan to improve and sustain our forests and contribute to economic growth.”

    The ‘Forests for our Future’ programme pledges to:

    • Plant 18 million trees (9,000 hectares of new woodland) – 10 trees per person in Northern Ireland.
    • Improve the resilience of our forests and woodlands
    • Increase their contribution to a sustainable, healthy environment;
    • Increase their contribution to NI’s sustainable economic growth;
    • Enable more people to improve their health, wellbeing and life chances; and
    • Contribute to the UK Net Zero by 2050 target.

    Highlighting the benefits of the new programme, the Minister said: “More forests and more trees will help to mitigate climate change – when a tree breathes, it inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. Across its lifetime, typically one tree can absorb enough carbon dioxide to offset emissions from an average car travelling 3,000 miles. There are many more things I intend to consider to mitigate carbon emissions, but tree planting is one of the most simple and low cost options open to us and is a great step in the right direction.

    “Furthermore, planting more trees will make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s sustainable economic growth – the forestry sector generates about £60 million per annum from timber production activity, sustaining approximately 1,000 rural jobs.  A further £60-£80 million is generated in the local economy from forest based recreation and tourism. I want to further enhance that through this programme.”

    Regarding land acquisition, the Minister said: “Existing publicly owned land, including local government land, has the greatest potential for woodland creation in the short term.  I have written to Ministerial colleagues and Chief Executives of local Councils seeking their support and commitment to make public land available for tree planting. I also plan to establish an Afforestation Forum to develop an action plan for increasing afforestation and I will oversee this work personally.”

    Concluding, Minister Poots said: “I will continue to play a lead role in increasing afforestation and creating a sustainable environment.  With the leadership, commitment, skills and willingness available to us, we will significantly increase forest cover over the next decade.”

  • Consultation Review of the IfATE Occupational Route Map

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    The following events will be of interest to apprentices, employers, stakeholders and training providers in the arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and landscape fields.

    Landex are facilitating the review of the IfATE Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care route map, along with 11 Apprenticeship Standards (including 2 for our sector). The outcome of this review will influence apprenticeships in England moving forward and subsequently the T-Level provision. This is your opportunity to engage with the review and have your say by attending one of 5 workshops across England in March and your participation will help get a wide viewpoint of the sector.

    The following standards will be reviewed:

    • Arborist
    • Forest Operative
    • Horticulture and Landscape Operative
    • Horticulture and Landscape Supervisor
    • Golf Greenkeeper
    • Sports Turf Operative
    • Pest Control Technician
    • Stockperson
    • Equine Groom
    • Senior Equine Groom
    • Animal Trainer

    Please see below all workshops and click the link to book!

    South West – Book
    Date: Friday 6th March 2020
    Venue: Bicton College, East Budleigh Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 7BH
    Time: 10.30 – 15.00

    West Midlands – Book
    Date: Monday 23rd March 2020
    Venue: Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6DF
    Time: 10.30 – 15.00

    South East – Book
    Date: Friday 27th March 2020
    Venue: Sparsholt College Westley Lane, Sparsholt, Winchester, SO21 2NF
    Time: 10.30 – 15.00

    East Midlands – Book
    Date: Monday 30th March 2020
    Venue: Moulton College, West Street, Moulton, Northamptonshire, NN3 7RR
    Time: 10.30 – 15.00

    North – Book
    Date: Tuesday 31st March 2020
    Venue: Askham Bryan College, Askham Bryan, York, YO23 3FR
    Time: 10.30 – 15.00

  • Women in Forestry: Rachel Chamberlain FICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Rachel Chamberlain FICFor is a Forest Planning Team Leader at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    In these days of environmental awareness, working in a sector that is sustainable and really is thinking about the future rather than just talking about it.

    Why choose forestry?

    I loved the idea of working outside, although these days I tend to be more desk bound and the idea of a practical role that supports the rural economy and environment.

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    More promotion, particularly using younger female members, to demonstrate that forestry uses a range of skills such as communications, planning, and analysis and help to change the perception that it’s about tweeds and shooting sticks.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    By ICF having a diverse workforce but also continuing to use women, particularly younger ones, in its promotional material.

  • Women in Forestry: Penny Oliver

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Penny Oliver is National Team Manager in the Sustainable Forest Management department at the Forestry Commission.

    What do you love most about your job?

    The people and the forests – I have been in forestry and the Forestry Commission for nearly 29 years doing a diverse range of jobs in some amazing places – from Chilterns, Kielder and the Lakes to North West England, the West Midlands and now Bristol but it is the fantastic people I have worked with in the Forestry Commission and met in partner organisations over the years which make it special as they are passionate about what they do.

    Why choose forestry?

    I grew up on a farm in Suffolk and always wanted to work outdoors and with people – so landing a Recreation Ranger job after university was the perfect mix for me and I’ve never looked back!

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    Being open to the diverse range of forestry-related roles which women carry out and not always by the conventional routes. These days forestry requires a diverse range of skills such as GIS, Planning, Design, Project Management, Recreation, Civil Engineers, Art Curators…..

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    Ensure our events and professional competencies cover the full range of forestry and tree related work.

  • Women in Forestry: Lucy Pitt MICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Lucy Pitt MICFor is a Senior Officer of Forest Operations at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    I love the variety my job brings. One day I could be walking an area to mark a thinning, the next day I could be doing a riparian habitat survey or Schedule 1 bird survey.

    Why choose forestry?

    I actually came into forestry from an Environmental Science degree as a support role doing mainly GIS to begin with, but instantly gained a love for forestry and managed to take on more jobs out in the forest rather than desk-based, went on training, shadowed foresters and then applied for a forester role at a later date using this experience and haven’t looked back!

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    I think the ICF does a brilliant job in supporting women in forestry. It is an inclusive Institute and I have certainly never felt at a disadvantage because I am a woman. So much support is available for anyone who requires it.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    I think advertising the inclusive nature of an organisation goes a long way in terms of attracting a diverse workforce. I find it encouraging to see articles and pictures of other women in forestry and to learn more about different roles other women do. It’s empowering.

  • Women in Arboriculture: Tracy Clarke MICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Tracy Clarke MICFor is Director of Tracy Clarke Tree Consultancy Ltd.

    Why did you choose a career in arboriculture?

    A friend of mine was studying Arboriculture at Merrist Wood, and I had never heard of it before.  I wanted to do something with my work that would make a real difference to the environment and so I was intrigued and found out more about it, I discovered a college closer to my roots and applied straight away to study there.  I was really excited about the whole thing, it fascinated me, it was not just theory, but the practical aspects of arboriculture that interested me, I was able to learn outside, climb trees, use a chainsaw and machinery; it was so different to anything else I was aware of in terms of a career and was really appealing.  I never found it dull and have only continued to learn new things as my career in arboriculture has developed.

    What do you like most about your job?

    I love the fact that my days are varied, and that I can be working inside or outside on any given day of the week.  The subject of arboriculture is so vast that I’m constantly learning, my work is never boring and is always challenging me to improve myself, my knowledge and expertise.   I have some wonderful working relationships with other professionals within the industry and outside of my professional field where we continue to collaborate to resolve technical issues around trees or in helping to deliver a well-considered project, I really enjoy this aspect of the work I do.    There is so much opportunity to get involved in things that can and will make a difference to our environment.

    Do you think the sector is doing enough to attract a more diverse workforce?

    By doing our work well, we can inspire others to want a career in arboriculture, all of us bring something unique to the workforce, each of us has something to contribute and I know that many of us in the arboricultural industry promote diversity in the workplace as much as possible, we need to keep doing this and to try and find new ways of making the sector more visible within the range of careers available in the world.

    How can the Institute support women in forestry & arboriculture?

    The ICF can continue to promote campaigns like #ILookLikeAForester focusing their reach beyond our industry, demonstrate that the career is accessible to all, including women and use existing female members to showcase their work to the wider population

  • Women in Forestry: Llinos Roberts

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Llinos Roberts is a Woodland Programme Advisor at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    What I love most about my job is that every day is different from the other. I’ve never been the kind of person who would be sat behind a desk in the office 5 days a week, and so it’s great to have a job that I enjoy where I get to spend half my time outside. It’s great to be able to work alongside experienced woodland planners and enthusiastic landowners who wish to plant trees. When I started my job back in September 2017, I had very little experience of forestry and therefore it’s great to be in a job you love where you’re able to learn as you work. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of a great team with experienced and knowledgeable members who have been my mentors.

    Why choose forestry?

    Growing up on the family farm in Mid-Wales, I’ve always been surrounded by trees. When it came to choosing a subject to study at University, I had no idea at all what I wanted to do, so I decided to play it safe and study Geography; my favourite subject at school and something I was passionate about. For my dissertation, I decided to look at flooding and flood defences in Wales, which included looking at trees and their benefits to the environment. This is where my passion for tree planting developed. It’s great to now be a part of a team that’s involved in the first step of creating woodlands in Wales.

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    Becoming an ICF member has helped me a lot in developing my career in forestry. When I started my current role a year and a half ago, I hardly had any knowledge of forestry. The ICF offers a wide range of training and events that are a great way of learning about the sector and is a fantastic way of meeting new people who share similar interests. Becoming an ICF member has given me the confidence I needed to learn about the different aspects of forestry whilst networking with others. It’s great that the Chief Executive, Shireen, is also a women in forestry!

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    Forestry is historically known for being a popular sector for men, and it’s great to see that more women are now taking interest and working in the sector. Professional organisations like the ICF gives everyone equal opportunities no matter what age or gender you are and everyone is treated the same.

  • Women in Arboriculture: Sharon Durdant-Hollamby FICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Sharon Durdant-Hollamby FICFor is the Institute’s Vice President and Director of Sharon Hosegood Associates Ltd.

    Why did you choose to pursue a career in arboriculture?

    To make a difference and be an advocate for trees.  Its also fun to be outdoors and work with trees!

    What do you love most about your role?

    It takes you everywhere, and you meet all sorts of people, so no two days are the same.  It is a mixture of scientific technical detail, creative thought and problem solving, and there is always more to learn.  Sharing ideas and collaboration with other disciplines is hugely rewarding.

    Do you think the sector is doing enough to attract a more diverse workforce?

    I think we are trying hard, but we need to be visible.  #ILookLikeAForester is a good start, but we must continue reaching out to young people and career changers.  The more mainstream media cover the better so that arboriculture is seen as an attainable and accessible career for all.

    How can the sector support women in arboriculture and forestry

    Practical things like correctly fitting PPE is improving, but still can be a challenge.  Recognising employers for being sympathetic to good maternity cover and endometriosis (a debilitating menstrual condition).  Things are moving in the right direction, but diversity is about gender, race, sexual orientation, belief systems and disability.  Initiatives such as the Disability Confident campaign should help.

  • Women in Forestry: Caroline Riches MICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Caroline Riches MICFor is a Senior Officer of Forest Operations at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    As a Forest Resource Planner, I compile long term forest management plans. I love spending time in the forest looking at stands and making decisions that will shape the future of the forest. This is not done in isolation however, as I consult with all sorts of people that have a vested interest in the forest. This can range from local Wildlife Trusts to the Ministry of Defence, and everyone in between. I really enjoy meeting the stakeholders and I find it gives me a chance to promote the good work that we do in forestry.

    Why choose forestry?

    There is so much more to forestry than meets the eye. It encompasses science, conservation, engineering, marketing, planning and so much more. There are many directions that a career in forestry can take you, depending on your interest and skills and there really is a role for everyone. I have been training for ten years and I feel that there is a lifetime of learning ahead of me. If you like a job that is challenging and stimulating with the best views imaginable, then choose forestry!

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    The ICF is a great place to meet with inspirational women in forestry and arboriculture, who can offer advice and mentoring to those joining the industry. I myself have looked to these strong role models and have been motivated by their achievements. There are several national and regional events each year where foresters can connect and share experiences. When looking around at those in attendance, I have always been impressed by the representation of females present.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    The ICF can help to promote what is already there, and that’s women working in the forest alongside men. To me, this is the norm. I don’t feel that I work in a ‘man’s world’, as some like to say. It’s the perception that needs to be broken down, so that young females can see forestry as the welcoming profession that it is.

  • Women in Forestry: Dr Eve Over MICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Dr Eve Over MICFor is Lead Specialist Advisor in the Land Management and EU Exit (Forestry) department at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

    What do you love most about your job?

    It is still inspiring to learn about the multiple benefits that trees provide to society and to share this knowledge with individuals who want to plant and manage woodlands.

    Why choose forestry?

    I chose to work in forestry because I wanted to work in the natural environment and I thought forestry was the best option to do this. I am still pleased with my decision. I came into forestry when scientists were starting to discuss global warming and now it has an important role to play in climate change mitigation.

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    The ICF has already worked hard to promote women in forestry and arboriculture. However, it is unusual to see women at senior levels in private forestry companies and the ICF needs to work with these companies to find what are the barriers to employing and retaining experienced women foresters.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    This is a significant issue and both ICF and forestry education institutes have an important role to encourage individuals from BAME to opt for a career in forestry and arboriculture.

  • Tustins: New Forestry Agency

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    2020 saw the launch of Tustins, a bespoke business aimed at providing the highest levels of service for forestry sales, acquisitions and valuations throughout England, Wales and Scotland. The two directors of Tustins are certainly not newcomers to this business and are well known throughout the UK forestry sector. Mike Tustin MICFor and John Clegg have worked together over many years and have over 60 years of forestry specific experience between them.

    Mike has wide ranging experience including at Abbey Forestry, Tilhill Forestry, FIM, Nicholsons and John Clegg & Co. John was instrumental in building up John Clegg & Co after joining his father, also John, Angus Crow, Colin Gee, David Taylor and Fenning Welstead in 1983.

    Mike Tustin commented: “I am delighted to announce the formation of Tustins and to again be working with John Clegg in an independent business where we can provide a personal and responsive service to our clients covering all aspects of the UK’s thriving forestry market.”

    Visit their new website:

  • Women in Forestry: Jean Nairn

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Jean Nairn is a Technical Support Manager at Scottish Woodlands.

    What do you love most about your job?

    Trees!  The opportunity to work with a variety of people, and to be in the woods among the trees where they are storing carbon among many other things.

    Why choose forestry?

    Forestry is a great STEM career choice for those that like the outdoors and are fascinated by the magic of trees and the many benefits they offer, as well as being computer literate and a good communicator. There are a wide variety of job types across the industry, something to suit everyone, from nurseries, forest management and harvesting, safety and health, recreation, policy, digital mapping and processing timber as well as opportunities in rural communities or an urban setting, and private, public or NGO sector. The industry can help in mitigating climate change and timber offers a great building material, so it’s great to be part of an industry which can offer economic, environmental and social benefits.

    How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

    ICF can support women in forestry and arboriculture by giving inspiration of role models to young people to encourage them to join our industry. On a practical level, ICF could help to ensure that PPE can be purchased in sizes appropriate to all in the industry whether female or male, e.g. smaller boot/clothing sizes, and for a women’s fit. When women’s magazines cover successful business women/entrepreneurs, they don’t tend to consider those managing land and perhaps someone might be inspired to try a different career if they are inspired by someone from a different sector to more traditional jobs women would be expected to do, e.g. marketing, teaching, social care, fashion. ICF could work with other organisations in the land-based/engineering sectors which are trying to encourage women, for example, Women in Agriculture, NFUS / Young Farmers’ Clubs, RICS, any women in STEM/engineering networks.

    What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

    ICF can help to attract a more diverse workforce by speaking to students studying appropriate disciplines to highlight options available and to encourage students at school to consider STEM subjects that would fit with a career in the industry. ICF should consider branching out  when advertising job vacancies so that potential candidates see the option of forestry in more mainstream press/networks. Also, it may be useful to understand how best to categorise ‘forestry’ when advertising jobs on an online portal.

  • Laying the Groundwork for Managing Ash Dieback in Scotland

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    Jonathan Callis MICFor, Senior Asset Engineer at Network Rail, attended Scotland’s Ash Dieback Risk Group meeting, coordinated by Scottish Forestry, last month in Edinburgh.

    With the help of a newly formed Ash Dieback Risk Group, Scotland is gearing up to deal with a significant increase in damage likely to arise from ash dieback over the coming years, the brunt of which is likely to be felt by local authorities and those responsible for the safety of transport networks, utilities, buildings and areas with high public access.

    The Group, which brings together expertise from local authorities and the forestry, transport, utilities and nature conservation sectors, will play a key role in helping to develop policies on ash dieback for the Scottish Government. The Tree Council has been commissioned by Scottish Forestry to assist in this process following the Council’s extensive experience in creating an Action Plan ‘Toolkit’ – and associated guidance – for England and Wales.

    Ash dieback, caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus (more commonly known as ‘Chalara’), is likely to be the most significant tree health issue affecting the UK since Dutch elm disease. First detected in England and Scotland in 2012, damage levels in England, even on older ash trees, have escalated significantly over the last two to three years. That trend is now starting to emerge in Scotland and is likely to lead to the decline or death of the majority of its 11 million mature ash trees over the next decade and create significant liabilities and costs for those who own or manage land.

    A recent report from Oxford University indicated that the cumulative cost of the disease to the UK will be in the order of £15 billion over the next 100 years, half of which will arise in the next decade. About two-thirds of those costs relate to the loss of ‘ecosystem services’ such as carbon capture, water quality and air purification, and the remainder relates mainly to landowners having to deal with dangerous trees next to roads, railways, electricity
    lines, buildings and areas of high public access.

    Developing an Action Plan Toolkit tailored to Scotland’s needs is one of the key purposes of the Ash Dieback Risk Group (Scotland). By providing guidance on awareness raising, planning, responses and recovery actions, the Toolkit will provide essential guidance for all those in the private and public sectors who share the collective responsibility for dealing with ash dieback in Scotland.

    For further information, you can contact

  • Urban Greening & Climate Resilience: Interview with Yvonne Lynch

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    It’s now less than 3 months until Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 – our triennial conference on urban greenspace. In advance of the conference we’ll be presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. This interview is with Keynote Speaker Yvonne Lynch, Urban Greening Strategist for the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.




    Yvonne is an urban greening and climate resilience strategist. She advises governments internationally on urban greening. Yvonne is currently collaborating on the development and implementation of Green Riyadh with the Riyadh Development Authority. Green Riyadh aims to create 3300 new parks and gardens, and to plant 7.5 million trees by 2030.

    She has advised local and state governments around Australia and internationally on how to green cities and adapt to extreme climate conditions. She established and led City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest and Ecology team, garnering multiple innovation and leading practice awards over several years.

    Tell us about your presentation:

    In the presentation, I will explore how we can shift our perspectives of urban design and planning away from the traditional approaches that have dominated our thinking about cities for over a century. I will discuss how we can position urban greening as a critical component for creating a liveable and resilient city. I will also look at how we can achieve longevity in policy outcomes and accelerate implementation for urban greening. Case studies from Melbourne, Australia and Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will provide a focus for the presentation.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Policy and strategy development are the first steps in greening our cities, but so often the robust and innovative strategies and polices that governments develop are left sitting on the proverbial shelf unloved, ignored and forgotten! Understanding how we can advance the implementation of these documents is the key to making a change. I will talk about how we can ensure these documents are embraced and actually implemented. This is an important topic because comprehensive urban greening remains a challenge for many governments. If we can achieve better outcomes from government, this will have a positive and enabling impact for industry.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    In Melbourne, I built an extraordinary team of very talented professionals over almost a decade to deliver what is now recognised as a leading urban forestry program globally. The work we achieved together, with the support and advocacy of a very engaged political leadership team, has resulted in increased canopy cover for Melbourne city, a more diverse and resilient tree population, a significant increase in tree planting survival rates and a reduction in tree removals for development. We also fostered high levels of community participation in urban forestry and ecology programs and increased awareness of the importance of nature in the city. Internationally, we raised the profile of urban trees by bestowing email addresses upon the entire urban forest!

    Currently, I work with a visionary team at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City on the implementation of the Green Riyadh program. This is an US$11 billion integrated and holistic urban greening program that aims to transform the liveability of the city by creating over 3300 new parks and planting 7.5 million new trees in 10 years. Work is now underway to get the first trees in the ground.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    We must work relentlessly to make the business case for green infrastructure competitive and appealing. Using green infrastructure to adapt our cities to climate change is the most cost effective, sustainable and efficient way we can respond to climate change which is he most pressing urban challenge we are contending with right now. Yet, as obvious as that is for all of us involved with green infrastructure, it is often not so obvious for our colleagues, leaders and politicians who may need to approve or advance our work. We need to continually strive to change perceptions of green infrastructure from something that is regarded only for visual amenity to something that is a critical urban infrastructure that needs large-scale and ongoing investment.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    To create the resilient cities of the future, we need to involve our communities and we need to work in multidisciplinary teams. No one person or profession holds the key for the future, and we cannot copy and paste a standard template from place to place. It is through collectives we can harness power for change and the realisation of positive outcomes for the future. When we work in cities, we must remember that each street, each park, each tree holds a special meaning or significance for someone, and we should respect that. We need to evolve the sophistication of our methods to allow for the inclusion of ideas and feedback from community members who may not be engineers, architects or arborists. These community members are subject matter experts in their locality.   The places where we work, often temporarily, are the same places others live permanently.

    How did you get into your role?

    I started my professional career in communications working primarily with Engineers Ireland. Though that role I fostered my interest in climate change and urbanism. I was offered the opportunity to transition away from communications into environmental strategy with the City of Melbourne more than a decade ago. I was lucky to work with such an innovative city government that supported me to be creative and to take ambitious approaches to new portfolios in environmental sustainability, urban forestry and ecology. I left my role in Melbourne after a decade  to take my current role in Riyadh because the scale and ambition of the program appealed to me.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF

  • Women in Arboriculture: Lesley Adams FICFor

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    To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Lesley Adams FICFor is the Director of Symbiosis Consulting.

    Why did you choose a career in arboriculture?

    When I left school, I wasn’t aware of courses in conservation and didn’t have an appetite to stay on for higher education. I was keen to get out into the world of work and therefore chose a vocational course at agricultural college. I enjoyed being outdoors, had an idea that I’d like to work with trees and also liked the machinery maintenance side of arboriculture at the time. This was of more interest to me than the scientific side of arboriculture, which came later. However, as I trained, the more I learned about the industry, it grew on me.

    What do you like most about your job?

    I still relish the opportunity for days outside looking at trees. I’m still not good at sitting in the office writing reports and so I make sure I still spend more time on site than I do in the office writing reports. In recent years I’ve undertaken some specialist work involving listed landscapes and historic and veteran trees and I enjoy the challenges associated with the unique situations that present themselves.

    Do you think the sector is doing enough to attract a more diverse workforce?

    In terms of attracting more women into the industry, I would say a definite ‘yes’. I believe the increasing number of women working in Arboriculture and Forestry is a good news story. Thirty years ago, being the only woman at a CPD event was the norm. Now, women are well represented. I think that the industry still has a distance to cover in terms of diversity for people from other backgrounds but gender is not and has never been an issue, in my opinion.

    How can the Institute support women in forestry & arboriculture?

    The best support is to encourage professionalism and everything associated with it – Read the code of conduct, which requires professional members to act with Integrity, treat others with Respect, take Responsibility for your actions etc. Promoting the code of conduct and using this to underpin the Institute’s core values will ensure that everyone feels included in their professional life.

  • Resilient Urban Treescapes: Interview with Dr Bianca Ambrose-Oji

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    It’s now less than 3 months until Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 – our triennial conference on urban greenspace. In advance of the conference we’ll be presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. In the latest of the series, we speak with Dr Bianca Ambrose-Oji, Senior Social Scientist at Forest Research




    Tell us about your presentation

    The paper I am presenting this time is about how managers of urban trees understand the idea of “resilience” and how they incorporate this into their thinking and management of the urban treescape. Urban trees and woodlands obviously present a whole host of challenges to managers because of the complexity of urban ecologies and governance systems.  The research the paper reports on looked to understand resilience from the perspective of responding to tree pests and diseases.  Since the arrival of pathogens such as ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus), awareness and attitudes around the growing threat to urban trees has been shifting, but there are still many barriers to action.  The research unpicks what those are, and why the urban treescape is more often linked with the notion of liabilities rather than benefits, and how this effects resilience strategies.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    The human and social dimensions of urban tree management are an important component of urban green infrastructure, but are often overlooked in favour of the technical and operational challenges. Sharing  “lessons learned” and other research insights into the drivers of human behaviour and the outcomes for urban treescapes, should inspire thoughts and actions about how to move forward and make a difference?

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    There is a basket of well-rehearsed pressures on green infrastructure including those from climate change, increased incidence of pests and diseases, and increased economic development pressure, but I think there is also a real challenge from perceptions and attitudes to risk, and responses to risk.  There seems to be an imbalance in assessments made about the likely benefits of green infrastructure, against the likely risk of impact on people and how built environments function.  Green infrastructure is often afforded low value in governance because of deeply embedded individual, professional and community level attitudes to risk, as well as legal and regulatory frameworks.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    This particular research project is contributing to a co-design process that is directly informing and developing new tree health policy options linked with “Future Farming” and the Environmental Land Management system. This includes consideration of trees and woodlands in urban and peri-urban environments.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    I think there is no question about this, its down to social innovation and action. Even if we know how to design nature-based solutions for urban resilience, and even when we know how much these may benefit us, it’s always down to people to instigate the changes, whether that’s people taking part in national and regional governance, or local communities energising action. It’s all about building on the synergies between people and the environment.  I know that sounds like a lot of vague social science speak, but lively, diverse, engaged, learning places that connect with the multiple environmental values urban green infrastructure gives us, seem to me to move towards greater social and ecological resilience.

    How did you get into your role?

    I grew up in inner city Bristol.  My favourite place as a child was the zoo, and the parks and green spaces near to my home.  I developed a real attachment to nature in these spaces. When I was ready to go to university, I decided to do an environmental science and conservation degree.  At this point I realised that it was the trees I loved the most.  I was also surprised to realise that forest conservation and resilience was all about people, and how people managed the tree and woodland resource. I then specialised in the human dimension of forestry through my MSc and my PhD.  The first part of my career was spent working in tropical and dry land environments where I was able to get involved with many forest conservation projects mixing research and practice.  I started working with Forest Research when an opportunity opened up just at the time I’d decided I wanted to hang up my frequent flyer card for a more sustainable working lifestyle.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF

  • Urban Canopy Coverage: Interview with Andrew K. Koeser

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    It’s now less than 3 months until Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 – our triennial conference on urban greenspace. In advance of the conference we’ll be presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. Here we speak with Andrew K. Koeser of the University of Florida




    Andrew Koeser is an Assistant Professor of Urban Tree and Landscape Management at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education

    Center near Tampa, Florida (United States). Andrew holds PhD and MS degrees in Horticulture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has a BS in Urban Forestry from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Andrew is a past International Society of Arboriculture Early Career Scientist Award Winner, as well as the a past recipient of the R.W. Harris Author’s citation (offered by the same organization).

    Tell us about your presentation:

    I will be presenting some recent research spurred by a new law enacted in the state of Florida (United States). When the research first started, a law was proposed that would dramatically limit a city or county in their ability to protect large or otherwise significant (e.g. veteran) trees. With this in the air, I decided to see what, if any, benefit could be measured with regard to tree canopy in cities with tree preservation and mitigation (replanting) ordinances in place compared to their peer communities (without similar laws). No spoilers about the research, but the law was passed after being defeated its first go around. Now any tree in the state can be removed on a residential property without notice, permit, fee, or replacement if deemed “dangerous” by an arborist or landscape architect.  For someone who loves trees, it is a sad but interesting story.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Laws that protect trees often limit site development/redevelopment (or at a minimum, increase the costs of construction). If communities pass laws that limit what people can do on their property in order to meet urban forest management objectives, there should at least be some assurance that the ordinances in place are effective. This presentation get to the heart of this question. It also serves as a cautionary tale for local governments who focus too heavily on a punitive system of protecting urban trees (fines, fees, and penalties).

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    Competition for space and humankind’s general inability to think in a time-frame long enough to be relevant to a tree.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    As a researcher at Land Grant University in the United States, I am required to spend a portion of my time (for me it is 30%) working directly with the industry and government to enact change. We call this Extension work. I work directly with communities to help them monitor their trees and establish management plans, objectives, or laws. I work with a working group of local urban forestry programs and have even conducted research specifically for their needs (e.g., creating species-specific minimum planting space equations or identifying a list of underutilized trees that should be viable in what we project the future of Florida to be). Currently, my lab is leading an effort to estimate canopy coverage in all the cities of Florida prior to the passage of the aforementioned. This project will have a designated web page with the results of our work, project GIS files (so cities can track differences over time), and projected ecological services for each city.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    Diversity is key. For trees…this is species and age/size diversity. For communities, this is accepting that there is a diversity of thoughts and values surrounding trees and their role as infrastructure. Ignoring this can jeopardize your efforts to manage the urban forest.

    How did you get into your role?

    The older I get, the more I realize that my dad really guided me to where I am now. We were out in the woods year-round. I saw my local forest on the shores of Lake Michigan in every season – hiking, biking, and cross country skiing. When I graduated from high school, I was set on forestry as a profession. As an undergraduate university student, I was given the opportunity to conduct some research for an annual undergraduate symposium and new that was what I wanted to do with my life.

    Now I have four daughters of my own. While the subtropical environment we live in is wildly different than the one I experienced as a child, I hope to instill the same love for nature through camping, hiking, kayaking, and regular trips to the beach. It seems to be working for some of them at least!

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF

  • Urban Forests: Interview with Jessica Quinton

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    It’s now less than 3 months until Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 – our triennial conference on urban greenspace. In advance of the conference we’ll be presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. In the latest of the series, we speak with Jessica Quinton, an independent academic researcher.




    Jessica Quinton recently graduated from Dalhousie University with a Master of Environmental Studies. Her NSERC-funded thesis research focused on the role of cemeteries in the urban forest of Halifax, Canada from multiple (biophysical, social, and managerial) perspectives. She obtained a Mitacs Globalink Research Award to travel to Malmӧ, Sweden, where she led a research project examining how cemetery governance and management affect their tree populations. Before embarking on her PhD in urban forestry, she is currently working in science publishing in London, UK.

    Tell us about your presentation:

    My presentation assesses how the term ‘optimization’ is being discussed and applied within urban forestry research. It examines what researchers seek to optimize, how they study optimization, and how they plan to achieve it. Furthermore, it highlights the difference between optimization as a concept and as a buzzword, and the shortcomings of applying optimization to urban forestry.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    My presentation highlights how terms can lose their literal meaning and delves into the importance of creating clear objectives/targets, actions, and solutions, and the need to consider the trade-offs that occur during decision-making. It also discusses how optimization as a method can overlook important non-quantitative considerations and perhaps even shift the way we view our urban forests.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    In my opinion, some of the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure are the context-specific nature of design and implementation, lacking integrated regulatory frameworks, and the uncertainty associated with climate change.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    My previous research has focused on the role of cemeteries within the urban forest and (I hope) has generated wider interest in the consideration of cemeteries as urban greenspaces that should be managed for purposes beyond burial and commemoration. In the future, I plan to shift the focus of my research to assess the unintended detrimental effects that green infrastructure may have on society. I hope that this research will inform future actions to make green infrastructure more equitable.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    Building resilient places requires a holistic approach when considering the long-term stressors and sudden disturbances we are facing now and likely to face in the future. We cannot build resilience by discussing solutions solely in terms of economics. Resilience requires consideration of sociodemographics, health and wellbeing, social dynamics, ecology, politics, and more.

    How did you get into your role?

    I am currently on a gap year between my Master’s and PhD theses and working in academic publishing. I got into urban forestry research during my Master’s thesis when I studied the role of urban cemetery trees from biophysical, sociocultural, and management perspectives. This research highlighted to me how important it is to think creatively about our urban forests and consider multiple perspectives during decision-making and management.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF


  • TPBE4 Speaker Profile – Ben Seamark

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    Our triennial conference on urban greenspace takes place on the 22nd and 23rd April at the University of Birmingham. In advance of the conference we’re presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. In the latest of the series, we speak with Ben Seamark, Coordinator of Environmental Assets, City of Burnside, Australia.

    Ben Seamark

    Ben Seamark is an Environmental Manager and Consulting Arborist and has spent the past 25 years working with trees. He studied at Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and Brookway Park school of Horticulture Australia.

    Ben joined the City of Burnside in South Australia as Coordinator of Environmental Assets in 2016 where he is responsible for the management of trees, waste and biodiversity.

    Ben’s work and life experiences have generated a passion for trees and their role in society and community, his other areas of interest include Environmental Economics, Information Technology and Horticultural Science.  These interests have intersected to develop a drive to reconnect people to nature. In 2018 Ben was awarded Australia National TreeNet’s Leadership in Urban Forestry for the development of Urban Forest Interactive, a website designed specifically to connect people to trees in their urban environment.

    Tell us about your presentation:

    The presentation will discuss how cognitive mapping can be used to help address canopy loss and how the City of Burnside has used this to support investment in promoting the urban forest.

    The presentation will demonstrate some of the promotional work undertaken by the City of Burnside and show others how they can build a cognitive map of their urban forest to help address canopy loss or other policy challenges.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Canopy loss is a global issue and urban forestry management has focused on increased tree planting. However addressing canopy requires a multifaceted approach and cognitive mapping can help regions identify what policies and investment may best help them address these challenges.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    An estrangement from nature is the greatest challenge. As more people are born and live in cities, the more separated we become from nature that in turn reduces understanding and connection with it. The urban forest is managed by the public, but if the public have little connection or understanding with it then its management suffers.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    I would like to think that my work is helping other Councils adopt new approaches in urban forestry management.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    A resilient place requires a socially connected community. This can be encouraged by making public places more liveable so as to increase social interaction. Green infrastructure is therefore fundamental to activate public spaces to help create a sense of community in addition to their recognised cooling benefits.

    How did you get into your role?

    My parents provide me with the opportunity as a child to spend a great deal of time in nature. This experience created a strong connection with and desire to advocate its importance to others and therefore my progression into the field of urban forestry was inevitable and is highly rewarding.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF

  • Sir William Worsley Appointed as Forestry Commission Chair

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    Announced today by Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, Sir William Worsley will take on the role as the new Chair of the Forestry Commission. He follows on from Sir Harry Studholme who was Chair for seven years. Sir William will step down as the government’s Tree Champion when he starts his new three-year-long role on 10 February.

    “Trees, woods and forests are so important to us – improving our landscapes, helping capture carbon, improving our general well-being and providing a renewable resource in the timber they produce. It couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the Forestry Commission. As Chair, my aim will be to celebrate, protect and deepen the impact of its excellent work, not only for the sake of our environment but also for the huge benefits that our success brings for society.” – Sir William Worsley

    Sir William began his career as a chartered surveyor and worked with the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as former President and Chairman of the board. He is currently Chair of both the National Forest Company and of the Howardian Hills Area of Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee.

    For more information about the new appointment, click here.

  • Urban Forestry: Interview with Professor Richard Hauer

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    It’s now less than 3 months until Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 – our triennial conference on urban greenspace. In advance of the conference we’ll be presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. This week, we speak with Professor Richard Hauer of the University of Wisconsin.

    Professor Richard Hauer

    As a Professor of Urban Forestry at the University of Wisconsin, Richard teaches courses in urban forestry, nursery management, woody plants, dendrology, and introduction to forestry. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, M.S. from the University of Illinois, and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Rich has conducted research in tree biology, urban forest management, emerald ash borer management, trees and construction, tree risk management, and ice storms. He recently was honoured as the 2018 L.C. Chadwick Award for Arboricultural Research. He has published over 130 publications and presented over 300 talks throughout the world.

    Tell us about your presentation:

    Our presentation covers the development of a tree preservation program and how it has led to the effective retention of tree health and survival of trees. Prior to the program, trees died at a higher rate and tree health was reduced due to construction. Today there is no difference between trees in construction zones and those outside of construction zones.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Our talk will showcase an effective tree preservation program that works. The story covers a forty-year time period with the tree population monitored at four different stages.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    People and the decisions they make are important to the success or failure of trees growing in built environments.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    Our research has documented how you can have construction and your trees too! The City of Milwaukee developed an effective tree preservation program which our research tested and demonstrated to be effective.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    We need to understand both the needs of built environments and also tree biological needs – decisions can be made to best meet the needs of building infrastructure and biology of the green infrastructure.

    How did you get into your role?

    Pure luck got me to where I am at today. The US farm crisis of the 1980s led me from agriculture to pursuing a horticulture degree with turf management as a focus. It was during my first semester I discovered there are disciplines (e.g. arboriculture & urban forestry) that pertain to trees in communities. You can say I ‘branched off’ from turf to trees and never looked back! My mentors were important in shaping who I am today. The research I was fortunate to become involved with further strengthened my case for how I got to my role. Finally, my current job as an educator allows me to keep abreast of the changes and challenges to growing trees in communities.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.

    Book Your Tickets Today!

    Keep up with conference developments – read the programme online, follow us @TheICF

  • FISA & FFF: Managing Health & Safety in Forestry Workshops

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    27th and 28th February – Wales

    The newly revised ‘Managing Health & Safety in Forestry’ Guidance documents set out the legal duties, responsibilities and nature of each of the roles with the aim of making those duties and responsibilities more straightforward and understandable.

    Focus on Forestry First have teamed up with FISA, Pontrilas Harvesting & mwmac ltd to deliver four half day workshops in Wales (North & South) to introduce the new MHSF Guidance.

    The expectation of these events is to brief the key parties in the new guidance and provide working examples of delivery within our day-to-day tasks. The events will be hosted in two sessions (morning session for Landowner & Forest Works Manager and the afternoon session for Contractors). You are invited to enjoy a networking lunch between 12PM & 2PM.

    You can book a place directly with Focus on Forestry First by using the links below.


    • Landowner & Forest Works Manager

    Thursday 27 February, 10AM – 12PM

    Coed Y Brenin


    • Contractors

    Thursday 27 February, 2AM – 4PM

    Coed Y Brenin


    • Landowner & Forest Works Manager

    Friday 28 February, 10AM – 12PM



    • Contractors

    Friday 28 February, 2AM – 4PM



  • A 2020 Vision: To Find Scotland’s Finest Forests and Woods

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    The annual search to find Scotland’s finest forests and most wonderful woods has begun.

    Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2020 celebrates the programme’s 35th anniversary and builds on its biggest-ever year in 2019, when Fort Augustus Woodlands won the one-off 1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award.

    Angela Douglas, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, said: “2019 was a hugely significant year for trees in Scotland, with planting targets surpassed, full devolution of forestry policy and the centenary of the 1919 Act.

    “We were delighted to celebrate that by honouring a range of brilliant winners – from a nursery school helping children discover the wonder of trees to Forestry and Land Scotland for their skilled management of Fort Augustus Woodlands over generations. The challenge is to find more wonderful winners to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Awards in 2020.”

    The 2019 winners stretched from Michaelswood Public Amenity in Aith, Shetland (winner of the Small Community Woodland Group Award) to Beirhope, near Kelso, in the Scottish Borders – winner of the New Commercial Woodlands Awards.

    “The Awards have always had a wide geographical reach, as well as reflecting the huge variety of excellent woods and forests in Scotland and I’m sure that 2020 will be no exception,” Angela Douglas added.

    Apart from the one-off Centenary Award, all other prizes are back for 2020, including two Farm Woodland Awards. The Scottish Woodlands Ltd Trophy for Young People (Farm Woodland Award) was awarded for the first time in 2019 and won by the outstanding Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer for Lynbreck Croft, Grantown on Spey.

    After they won in 2019, Lynn said: “We tried to achieve full integration of trees and woods into the farm business. They are our most valuable asset in terms of shelter for animals and fuel for us, as well as sequestering carbon and biodiversity.”

    The Young People Award is for farmers or crofters and/or their forest or woodland managers aged 40 or under. SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), sponsors the overall Farm Woodland Award, won in 2019 by John Drysdale and Kieran Kelly for Kilrie Farm, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

    Angela Douglas added: “We are very grateful to SAC Consulting and Scottish Woodlands Ltd for helping to establish the Farm Woodland Awards with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland – and to all our very generous sponsors.”

    The ever-popular Crown Estate Schools’ Trophy returns, won in 2019 by Earthtime Forest School Nursery in Duffus, Moray, with Levenmouth Academy, Buckhaven, Fife, named runner-up for helping to plant 8,000 trees beside the school.

    Presenting the 2019 Awards, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said: “It’s wonderful to see young people in Scotland, from nursery through to secondary school, engaging with trees and our natural environment in such a positive way. We know how children benefit from learning outdoors and it is great to see forests and woodlands playing a big part in that.”

    Other returning Awards are: Community Woodlands (two competitions: small and large community woodland groups); New Native Woods; and Quality Timber (three competitions: new commercial wood; multi-purpose forest or whole estate; and a single stand/compartment or small wood)

    Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, who has presented the awards for the last three years, said: “We are in a golden era for forestry and woods in Scotland and Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards celebrate the huge variety of excellence across the country. The winners represent those exceptional individuals and groups who create fantastic spaces to allow us all to enjoy our forests and woods.”

    Entries must be submitted by 31st March 2020. For the full list of awards, criteria and entry forms, go to

  • Working Together for Trees: A New Standard for Individual Tree Data Collection

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    There has never been a more important or urgent time to collect data on urban trees. High-quality data will help harness the current wave of enthusiasm for tree planting, and to address the challenges to urban trees from pests, diseases, climate-change and development.

    However, the resources to support urban trees have declined rapidly in the past decade so it’s even more important to ensure that tree survey data is standardised, enabling the sharing of tree data across the sector. As part of the COMMUNITREE project, project partners Forest Research, TreeWorks, Natural Apptitude and the Open University have recently produced a draft standard for individual tree data collection. The draft standard is now in the consultation phase and can be viewed here. Project partners would welcome feedback on the standard from anyone involved in tree surveying. You do not need to comment on every element of the standard, but comments must be received no later than 5pm on the 14th of February 2020. If you have any other questions regarding the standard then please email

  • Welsh Apprenticeships Framework

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    Public Consultation

    Lantra are currently reviewing their Welsh land-based apprenticeship frameworks. Public consultations are now under way for the new draft frameworks for Agriculture, Land-based Engineering, Trees and Timber, Horticulture and Environmental Conservation.

    As part of the review, Lantra are looking for feedback from training providers, employers, employer organisations, trade unions and apprentices to get a full picture of the suitability of the proposed changes to the frameworks.

    The consultation will take place over four weeks, completing on the 4th February 2020.

    Please see below for links to the consultations.

    If you have any questions please contact the Apprenticeship team at

  • ICF Executive Director Awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

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    Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor

    A Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal has been awarded to Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019.

    It is in recognition of the positive contribution she has made to forestry, including her work with TREE AID, an international charity that works with local communities in the drylands of Africa to help them protect and grow trees for themselves and future generations. Shireen has been Chair of TREE AID since 2017.

    Shireen studied forestry and soil science at Bangor University before embarking on a career overseas, working with the Government of the Bahamas to set up a new forestry department in the 1980s. She returned to the UK to work with the Central Scotland Forest and continued as a practitioner in community and urban forestry throughout the UK.

    She has been in her current role as Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters since 2006 and has overseen a doubling of member numbers to the Institute in that time. She has held numerous non-executive board appointments, including her current post with TREE AID.

    “It is a great honour for my work to be recognised but I am receiving it on behalf of the fantastic teams at both the Institute of Chartered Foresters and at TREE AID, who both contribute in very different ways to making a difference with trees. We need skilled professionals to ensure that the planting of trees and woods, their conservation, use, and management are essential elements of our common life, whether we are in Africa or the UK,” Shireen said.

    “Forestry has provided me with a wonderful career and I would encourage any young person wanting to make a difference to the world to think about working in a sector that has a pivotal role in helping to combat climate change on a global scale,” she added.

    Alastair Sandels FICFor, President of the Institute, said: “I would like to congratulate Shireen on behalf of members of the Institute and staff who have helped to fulfil her vision. The honour reflects her leadership and dedication which has led to growth and enhanced the Institute’s reputation.

    “Shireen has also championed continuous professional development and strengthened the Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct. There are many challenges ahead for the sector and we all look forward to working with her going forward towards our 100th anniversary in 2025.”

    John Moffett, TREE AID Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am delighted that Shireen’s passion for the conservation of trees and forests has been recognised and honoured with the MBE. As chair of TREE AID, Shireen’s leadership and wealth of experience from her work in the Bahamas and the UK, as well as her clear perspective on good practice in forest management internationally, is invaluable to achieving TREE AID’s mission”.

  • Call for Questionnaire Participants: Continuous Cover Forestry Transformation

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    Do you have experience and knowledge in the area of irregular forestry? If you do, please fill in this questionnaire from Aberystwyth University. It’s researching the process of transforming even-aged forests to irregular high forest (managed through single tree selection), which is a form of continuous cover forestry.

    What is the aim of the questionnaire?

    This research aims to integrate drone acquired forest metrics with your experience and knowledge to establish if transformation stages can be accurately characterised using drone imagery, hopefully providing an efficient means of monitoring transformation.

    How can you help?

    Aberystwyth University needs your help to establish a drone derived transformation monitoring system by asking you to look at 13 example stands and make a judgement as to their transformation stage. It won’t take longer than 10-15 minutes to complete.

    If you wish to receive a break down as to how you classified the forest models you will be asked to provide your email address.

    About the questionnaire

    Your answers will be completely confidential and you can withdraw from the questionnaire at any point. By completing and submitting the survey, you are indicating your consent to participate in the study.

    Your email address will be held securely, with the sole purpose of being used to inform you of the results of the study and will be erased by 27th April 2020.  If at a later date you wish to erase your email address from the study, please contact Guy Bennett at

    Start Questionnaire

  • Nadinè Galle Previews Her Presentation for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4

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    Hailing from evolutionary biology and earth sciences, Nadinè now works at the nexus of cities, ecology, and technology. Ahead of Trees, People and the Built Environment 4, Nadine gives us a preview of her presentation, where she will be speaking with Sophie Nitoslawski from the University of British Columbia.

    #TheBigIdea and the next frontier in urban ecosystem management is the #InternetofNature. Our cities are going digital. From self-driving cars to smart grids to intelligent traffic signals, smart cities put data and technology to work to drive efficiency and improve the quality of life for all citizens. But the natural capital cities rely on risks being left behind by the digital revolution. The “Internet of Nature” (IoN) bridges the gap between greener and smarter cities and explores the future of ecosystem management in an age of rapid urbanisation and digitisation.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    #TPBE4 attracts foresters, arboriculturists, architects, planners, engineers, and academics from across the globe. I look forward to introducing the #InternetofNature, showing the value it can bring, and inspiring this interdisciplinary group to grab hold of the potential emerging technologies can offer this sector. The #InternetofNature will provide ecosystem intelligence to design, manage, and connect urban ecosystems like never before. Together, we can disrupt urban forestry to build truly resilient cities.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    Urban forestry and green infrastructure are facing some major challenges, now and in the future.

    • Trees need moist, well-aerated, and uncompacted soil to mature in the urban environment. Conditions of this kind enable the tree’s roots to access nutrients, oxygen, and water – all essential for healthy tree growth. Giving urban trees the soil they need will give them a fighting chance to survive and — ultimately — thrive.
    • Some 50% of the typical urban canopy resides on private lands, where cities have little jurisdiction. Emerging technologies like frequent, sub-meter resolution satellite imagery, drones, and LiDAR will allow tree ordinance officers to protect and retain privately-owned trees in a just way.
    • Financing both tree planting and, most importantly, tree maintenance will always remain a challenge. Monitoring canopy changes (loss, gain, disease outbreak, illegal removals) in near real-time will help city officials break down the true economic value of their valuable green assets.

    What impact is your working making in the built environment?

    The Internet of Nature: Examples and applications for urban forestry and green infrastructure management (Galle, Nitoslawski & Pilla, 2019)

    My PhD in Ecological Engineering keeps me at the forefront of urban techno-ecological research. Studying the complex but meaningful potential between urban ecology and emerging technologies drives me to implement these ideas into practice. My research uses soil respiration sensors as a proxy to measure tree-microbial associations across the urban forest, an attempt to track the urban #woodwideweb. Our work at Green City Watch allows us to bring the latest advancements in very high-resolution remote sensing to arborists and foresters, to monitor and maintain a healthy urban canopy.








    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    When charting the history of urbanisation, it is clear that humans have always been attracted to sites with a great natural variety in plants and animals. Urban development, on the other hand, is often regarded as a blank canvas, when in fact, it’s more like a finished landscape painting. We must consider the natural ecosystem cities are built on — and rely on — if we’re to build truly resilient cities.

    How did you get into your role?

    Growing up, I’d always been fascinated by wilderness, and especially by how encroaching urban development seemed to swallow it whole, spitting out manicured green spaces sprinkled in between buildings and highways. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to building better places for people to live. Places where humans and nature can live in harmony. Technology is a large part of the remedy and I’m keen to show people how it can be applied to protect, maintain, and foster urban forestry.

  • CPD & Career Development

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    Sam Brown MICFor, Forest Manager at Tilhill Forestry, reflects on the impact CPD has had on his career development.

    Members of the Institute are asked to provide evidence of continual professional development over a rolling three-year period.  This is an obligation of Professional membership but, most importantly, it’s key to maintaining, updating, and improving my forestry knowledge so I can perform my work to high standards for my clients, my employer, and myself.

    My CPD tends to fall into two main categories: Institute events and events arranged by other bodies. A small amount of time is also dedicated to delivering guest lectures/field visits, for example to forestry students. These are usually events that provide the chance to update my knowledge on best practice, new thinking, and developments with pests and diseases. As my career has developed, the range of topics of these events has broadened and really helped to push my knowledge in forestry.

    After reflecting on Josh Roberts MICFor’s blog Is CPD Enough?, I have realised I also undertake some unstructured learning and can see that it would be beneficial to start writing up learning points and consolidating what I have read – one for me to work on over the next few years (and start recording).

    Below are three examples of CPD events that have stood out for me:

    Young Professionals Study Tour, Hexham in 2016.

    This was the first large study tour that I attended with the Institute. It was organised by Sam Booth MICFor (then of Egger Forestry) in a part of the UK I had never visited, which made it appealing. We looked at a new planting scheme, existing forests and their management, and a block being converted to CCF. Living and working in Wales, it was good to see these projects in a Forestry Commission England regulatory frame; largely the challenges were similar to projects I was familiar with. This is good to know, as there can be a perception that forestry is more favourable in different devolved countries. This was also close in time to my Professional interview for chartered membership and so was a good opportunity to question current members and others who were going through the same process.

    ICF National Conference 2018 – Innovation for Change, Edinburgh.

    I was lucky enough to attend the ICF National Conference Innovation for Change in Edinburgh in 2018.  I was really impressed with this event, which had many speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and fields. There is more information presented than you can take in and the opportunity to speak with foresters and other professionals that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to speak to is hugely valuable. These events are quite difficult to summarise afterwards and I have taken to identifying a few key points, usually on the drive or train home, that I can take forward or look into further.


    Sitka Spruced, Roslin Institute

    I recently attended an excellent event at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh by the Sitka Spruced Project, which is looking into genomic selection in Sitka spruce and how this can be translated into information and solutions for the UK forest industry as a whole. The event had a range of speakers and was pitched at a level so everybody present could learn something. We also had the opportunity to contribute towards discussions about where we think the forestry industry should be utilising the technology and technics presented. This event was particularly good for speaking with other foresters, saw millers, academics, and government body representatives to see their view of tree breeding and its role in the future of British forestry.

    I truly think that the most valuable gain from events, apart from technical updates, is speaking to other foresters and professionals about the subject we are looking at. They may have different approaches, offer different solutions, or just have a different outlook on the same subject.  Discussing these things with a range of people helps me broaden the way I see forestry and question why I do things the way I do, which helps me identify better ways of doing things.

    One event I’m particularly looking forward to in 2020 is the Young Professionals Study Tour in Wales next summer, which I am co-hosting on behalf of Tilhill Forestry with Michael Cresswell MICFor from Natural Resources Wales (and which the Institute will announce soon). Hopefully, I will see some familiar and new faces there or at another CPD event very soon.

  • Have Your Say on the Future of Arboriculture, Forestry, Horticulture and Landscape Apprenticeships

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    The Insitute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has launched a major review of apprenticeships for Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care in England.

    The review will recommend changes to our existing apprenticeships and set the priorities for apprenticeships in our industries going forward.

    A consultation supporting this review is now open until 4 December. It is relevant to employers, training providers, apprentices and anyone else with an interest in the future of the occupations covered.  These include

    • Arborist
    • Forest Operative
    • Horticulture / Landscape Operative
    • Horticulture / Landscape Supervisor

    By engaging with the consultation, you will help us to make sure our existing apprenticeships meet the needs of employers, learners and training providers.  You will also influence the future of apprenticeships in our industries.

    Sir Gerry Berragan, Chief Executive of The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said,

    The work that’s been done so far by all the employers and stakeholders with developing apprenticeships has been hugely appreciated. However, we must make sure that the oldest are moving forward at the same pace as these occupations. This review will help us improve the quality of those apprenticeship standards to make sure they meet the needs of both employers and apprentices. This is a great opportunity for those who are involved with apprenticeships in these occupations to have their say and I look forward to seeing some of the feedback.

    The Institute will publish recommendations resulting from this route review in Summer 2020.

    Dr Jude Capper, Route Panel Chair for the Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care, said,

    It is great to be starting to review agriculture, environment and animal care apprenticeships, to make sure that they’re of the highest quality and meet the demands of both employers and apprentices. I’d encourage everybody with an interest to provide feedback. This will help us create the very best apprenticeships that we can and to find new ways to improve that will ensure the apprenticeships remain innovative and future-proof.

    Click here to take part in the consultation.

    For background:


  • Programme Launched for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4

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    International Urban Trees Conference Programme Announced

    With urban forestry high on the political and social agenda, the programme for the UK’s foremost international urban trees research conference has been announced, highlighting the critical importance of creating resilient towns and cities with innovative green infrastructure solutions.

    Download Programme>>

    Almost 100 papers were submitted to the Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 conference from esteemed academics and acclaimed practitioners from around the globe.

    Russell Horsey MICFor, #TPBE4 Programme Co-ordinator said, “Due to the quality of submissions, the #TPBE4 Conference Steering Group had an extremely difficult task selecting the final papers to complete the programme for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4. Nonetheless, the final programme will address the conference’s main theme of ‘Trees as infrastructure’ and ensure the UK’s foremost international urban trees research conference is a must-attend event for anyone with an interest in urban forestry and green infrastructure.”

    More than 50% of the world’s population now live in cities which are exposed to a host of challenges that those who design and plan for the future need to take on board. Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 addresses how urban forestry is integral to the development of towns and cities as places where people want to live, work and play and how the use of trees can bring wellbeing benefits and help to reduce the urban carbon footprint.

    The invited speakers will join three renowned experts and keynote speakers:

    Yvonne Lynch

    Yvonne Lynch

    • Yvonne Lynch, a climate resilience strategist who advises governments internationally on urban greening, will talk about shifting perspectives on urban design and planning away from the traditional approaches that have dominated for over a century and how to move them towards a nature-sensitive urban design model.
    • Ian Bateman, Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter Business School, will give an overview of the natural capital approach to decision making and how it is the ideal framework for capturing the multitude of values generated by trees and woodland.
    • Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia is a renowned biologist known for her pioneering research on symbiotic plant communications and complex networks. Professor Simard has appeared on three TED Talks and the Dorcon Film documentary, Intelligent Trees, where she appears alongside forester and author Peter Wohlleben.

    The conference at the University of Birmingham takes place on 22 and 23 of April 2020 and is an important academic gathering for professionals from across the world in a range of disciplines in both social and natural sciences.

    #TPBE4 is hosted and organised by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) on behalf of a group of partner organisations.

    Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, welcomed the opportunity for collaboration with such a wide range of natural and built environment organisations;

    Russell Horsey MICFor

    Russell Horsey MICFor

    “The Institute of Chartered Foresters is immensely proud to host and organise the Trees, People and the Built Environment conference series on behalf of the conference partners. The event is a unique opportunity for professionals from across the natural and built environment sectors to meet and collaborate on the important issue of urban greening and it is imperative that we provide opportunities such as this for joined-up thinking across professions.”

    Early bird tickets are available and it is advisable to make the most of this offer, which affords a £66.00 discount on full-price two-day tickets. Early bird booking ends 1 December 2019. For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #TPBE4

    29 October 2019                                                                              



    Media Enquiries

    Nathaniel Jackson
    Events Manager


    The Conference Steering Group comprises:

    • Jeremy Barrell FICFor, Managing Director of Barrell Tree Consultancy
    • Dr Emma Ferranti, Research Fellow, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
    • Russell Horsey MICFor, #TPBE4 Programme Co-ordinator
    • Sue James RIBA, Convenor of Trees and Design Action Group
    • Professor Chris Rogers CEng, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Birmingham and Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Innovation and Research Panel and Futures Group
    • Professor Alister Scott, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Northumbria
    • Professor Alan Simson CMLI, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry, Leeds Beckett University
    • Kieron Doick, Forest Research

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is incorporated by Royal Charter as the only professional body in the UK to award Chartered Forester and Chartered Arboriculturist statuses. It was founded in 1925 at the Society of Foresters of Great Britain, became the Institute of Foresters in 1974 and was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1982, becoming the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

    The Institute’s objectives are the maintenance and improvement of the standards of practice and understanding of all aspects of forestry and arboriculture, the protection of the public interest and the promotion of the professional status of Foresters and Arboriculturists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    Now approaching its 100th anniversary, the Institute has undertaken its remit with a determination to support the tree management professions while promoting the proper care and management of forests, woodlands and trees throughout the UK.

  • Interview with Professor of Environmental Economics

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    Ian Bateman

    Ian Bateman

    The Institute’s Marketing Manager, Hester McQueen, interviews Ian Bateman OBE FRSA FRSB as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference, Trees, People and the Built Environment 4.

    Who is Ian Bateman OBE FRSA FRSB

    Ian Bateman OBE FRSA FRSB is a Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter Business School. Ian has a wide array of research interests revolving around the issue of ensuring sustainable wellbeing through the integration of natural and social science knowledge within decision making and policy. Particular interests lie in the fields of quantitative analysis, integrated modelling and the valuation of non-market benefits and cost. He has been or is advisor or consultant to Defra, DfT, DoH, NICE, OECD and numerous other bodies.

    Tell us about your presentation

    I will be discussing the ‘natural capital approach’ – the way in which policies such as the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) and the HM Treasury ‘Green Book’ public sector spending guidelines incorporate the natural environment and the benefits it provides within decision making. A key element of this will be looking at all of the various benefits and costs (including those arising outside marketed goods) of changing the environment and how these can be reflected in economic values. I will be showing how this leads us to realise the importance of ensuring we have the right treescape in the right place.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Because what determines the right location and right types of treescapes is not just the natural and physical science of trees, but their connection to and benefits for people. By linking science and socio-economics together we discover a very strong argument for planting trees.

    What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?

    Ensuring that investments consider both science and people, and delivering the best value for money given available resources.

    What impact is your work making in the built environment?

    I am a member of the UK Natural Capital Committee advising the Government on the value of natural capital. I hope this advice is having some effect via the 25YEP and Green Book and forthcoming legislation.

    How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?

    1. Identify the most important needs for people
    2. Consider multiple alternative strategies for addressing those needs
    3. For each alternative strategy link natural and physical; science to socio-economic analysis
    4. Use this to appraise all the benefits and costs of each alternative

    How did you get into your role?

    Mainly luck, great parents, crazy work ethic, unusual circumstances and a few pieces of great advice – but mainly luck.


    The triennial conference, Trees, People and the Built Environment is a unique gathering of built and natural environment professionals, working towards the shared goal of enhancing green infrastructure. The acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment. Buy your early bird ticket before 1 December 2019 and save £66.

    Follow us @TheICF #TPBE4 

  • 61 Degrees Longitude

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    Silver birch leaf

    Erasmus+ Study Tour Experience

    Claire Glaister FICFor tells the Institute about her experience on the Erasmus+ study tour, hosted by Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and promoted by ARCH network. The study tour explored forests, birds and environmental education.

    The NET project aims to improve staff competencies and add a European dimension to nature, conservation, interpretation, and environmental management for Scottish managers, trainer’s, advisors and training planners, ARCH work with a consortium of Scottish organisations, including the Institute, to deliver NET Programmes. View NET destinations here >>

    Below you can read some of Claire’s experience from the Erasmus+ study tour.

    A House of 100 Trees

    On arrival in Finland, it was clear that we would be treated to spectacular skies and sunrises, landscapes and culture, and great hospitality.

    That first night took us down an avenue of silver birch which, even accounting for the car’s headlights, seemed to shine brightly in front of us. The bark looked much brighter than we see on birch at home and certainly lived up to the tree’s silver title.

    cabin in the canyon

    Cabin in the canyon

    A cabin in the canyon

    The majesty and splendour of the Helvetinjärvi National Park was mind-blowing and the first rain of the trip didn’t dampen our spirits one bit; if ever a description of a land of lakes and forests were warranted, it’s for places like this. Raine Kallio, our very experienced wilderness guide, took us on a 14km hike through the glorious scenery, helping us identify the numerous species of flora we discovered and to listen out for birds as we went.

    We learned of the respect in which the Finish people hold the environment and their sense of peace with their surroundings. There seems to be an undeniable connection between people and forests which surely must, in part at least, be born out of the sheer extent of the forestry resource.

    Our destination for lunch was a cabin in a canyon, accessible either by steps and boardwalks or by climbing down one of the channels leading into the canyon; we went the latter route on the way in.

    Attempting to dry out by the heat of a freshly lit fire and enjoying much-needed food, we discussed how the cabin had been constructed by a group of young folk who used to come to the canyon to dance and can now be used as a refuge for walkers and hikers.

    The scenic location reminded me of a dilemma often posed on Facebook; could you live here without Wi-Fi for a year for a £1,000,000?

    Snake spruce

    H​atanpaan Puisto Arboretum

    Walking through the arboretum, we were greeted by a plethora of plants and trees including snake spruce (Picea abies ‘virgata’ kaanrmekuusi) and silver birch with an unusually shaped leaf​ (Betula pendula f. crispa loimaankoivu)​, neither of which I’ve ever seen before. It’s true what they say about ‘every day is a school day’!

    We also saw numerous (and, as we learned, very common) red squirrels – some almost tame – which caused us great delight and our hosts’ great amusement.

    Whilst walking through the urban oasis, we couldn’t help but hear a group of schoolchildren enjoying a break from lessons. Kati, one of our student hosts explained that the school curriculum has recently changed so that lessons are more child-centered rather than a more traditional format which reminded me of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence approach. As well as taking breaks in the arboretum, some schools are also now running Forest Schools but Kati wasn’t aware of this extending to Forest Kindergartens.

    From the relative peace and tranquility of the arboretum, we then entered the frenetic world of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) at lunchtime.

    After meeting one of the forestry lecturers, Pirjo ​Puustjarvi, we refuelled in the canteen and then became students ourselves as we sat in a classroom to hear more about education in Finland in general and the university​ in particular.

    The Finnish education system has consistently been ranked as one of the highest in the world, teachers are well respected and children and encouraged to learn from an early age.

    ​Finnish children start school at the age of seven (it is considered important for them to experience life and enjoy their childhood before this age) and follow nine years of compulsory education. After 6 years in ‘primary’ school, they then attend a further three years in the equivalent of secondary school and can then continue secondary education through either an academic or vocational route, usually for a further three years.

    Tertiary education takes place at either a university or polytechnic (also known as a University of Applied Sciences).  Tampere University of Applied Sciences hosts 10,000 students and offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes ​as well as vocational teaching education. Forestry programmes are also delivered at the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland at Joensuu.

    The degree programme in forestry at TAMK is a four year bachelor-level professional higher education degree at EQF Level 6 (equivalent to SCQF Levels 9 (BSc (Ord), Technical Apprenticeships) and 10 (BSc (Hons), Professional Apprenticeships)). Student places tend to be oversubscribed at TAMK and in terms of their classes, our student hosts calculated that around 30% of the students were women.

    After completion of their bachelor degree, graduates may then apply to study a master’s degree at a university or university of applied science; for the latter, at least 3 years of work in a related field is required.

    The Scottish visitors then gave our presentations to some of the forestry students and the head of the degree programme, Ari Vanamo; mine being entitled ‘From legends to lorries via lifelong learning’.

    I summarised my career, starting out with the then Forestry Commission Survey Branch in the New Forest (the legend was the questionably accidental death of King William II from a stray arrow at the place now marked by The Rufus Stone) through to my current work with timber transport. I also showed photos of the new entrants and apprentices I’ve had the privilege to work with as they start out in the industry. Finally I assured the students that I’ve undertaken lifelong learning too, not least by becoming a member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) in 2001 and a Fellow in 2016.

    Our hosts weren’t aware of an equivalent of the Institute of Chartered Foresters in Finland but advised that those forestry graduates who progress into the industry carry out job-specific training as required, rather than following a professional route after several years in post-qualification practice.

    Presentations were given and questions were asked, a few by the Finnish students and some from the rest of the study tour delegates. We went back to our accommodation with our three student hosts for a BBQ, sauna and socialising.



    But not before visiting some rather strangely growing pine on a slope behind the city cemetery. Their form, growth, and stability were questions we discussed further during the evening, although rather briefly as other, potentially more pressing, ones emerged – like how on earth are you supposed to breathe when you’ve plunged into the lake straight from the sauna!

    Minds and bodies refreshed, we prepared for our forest hiking adventure the next day!


    Claire had an amazing time and opportunity to network and share knowledge with others outside the UK. Keep your eye open for future opportunities through the Institute’s e-newsletter.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • 2018 Silviculture Award winning paper

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    Dr Christel C. Kern

    A story of identifying needs and developing opportunities for gap-based silviculture

    The Institute awarded Dr Christel C. Kern, Research Forester and Certified Silviculturist, at USDA Forest Service-Northern Research Station, the 2018 Percy Stubbs, John Bolton King and Edward Garfitt Prize for Silviculture. You can read the award winning paper here. Dr Kern tells the Institute how the paper was developed.

    Nothing can be more rewarding than advancing both science and practice and working with those who you respect in your field.  I was fortunate to have this experience through the development of the paper selected for the 2018 Percy Stubbs and John Bolton King and Edward Garfitt Prize for Silviculture. Here’s my story. 

    As a graduate student, I was overwhelmed with the number of studies on canopy gaps. In addition, the cross-over between silviculture and ecology research was limited. Regardless, the silvicultural and ecological literature suggested that the size of a canopy gap and regeneration of tree diversity were related: larger openings means more types of trees species can coexist.   

    In my part of the world, foresters began tinkering with adding ‘gaps’ in the 1990s. The harvest-created gaps were prescribed to accelerate development of new age classes and tree species diversity in our shadetolerant, second-growth, and largely even-aged forests. Foresters were also trying to hit the ‘sweet spot’ in gap size to target specific species that were mid-tolerant to shade.   

    My own dissertation project in the 2000s evaluated this idea, too. My predecessor had pictures of masses of mid-tolerant birch regenerating in the intermediate-sized gaps. Twelve years post-harvest, I wasn’t seeing those patches of birch.  

    At the same time, foresters were revisiting their gap-treated stands for the next cutting cycle and were seeing mixed results.  They were asking me for answers. While my field study was well-designed with replication, it was really a case study at that subcontinental level. So the need for synthesis wasn’t just scientific, there was a practical need, too. 

    I began to scrutinise published literature even more. Through the process, I started to recognise names of researchers working on similar applied research. I knew the best synthesis would not come from me alone but from a rich set of professional knowledge and experience from that subcontinental scale. 

    In 2012, I organised a session at a professional conference and invited those researchers to participate. As a result, my dream team of applied thinkers came together to present their individual research and then we began to strategise a plan for synthesis. 

    Our goal was to write a paper that clearly advanced science and practice. We aimed to substantiate the dogma about gap size and tree diversity by reviewing what was established in the literature and what was happening in practice across the mesic forests of North America. Then, we integrated newer studies, including my own and the work of others, questioning the simplicity of using only gap cutting to influence tree diversity.   

    We highlighted the disparity of what was expected and what resulted. In some cases, seed sources are simply not available to regenerate a diverse cohort of tree species. Or, invasive pests and pathogens limit success of tree regeneration. In other more complicated cases, modern forest conditions continue to change and what we have learned from past applications and studies does not always apply to today’s forest conditions.  

    In the end, we wanted scientists to carry forward the idea of ‘messy’ gaps or how more complex implementation would influence the diversity of biota and the resilience of forests. For foresters, we wanted to deliver a summary of the lessons learned across the subcontinent and benefit from already-tried ideas. Overall, we hoped a scientist could further develop and a forester could apply our ideas. 


    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Keynote Session Speakers for International Urban Trees Conference Announced

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    With urban forestry high on the political and social agenda, the first keynote session speakers for the UK’s foremost international urban trees research conference are confirmed, highlighting the critical importance of creating resilient towns and cities for the 21st Century and beyond.

    More than 50% of the world’s population now live in cities which are exposed to a host of challenges that those who design and plan for the future need to take on board. Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 addresses how urban forestry is integral to the development of towns and cities as places where people want to live, work and play and how the use of trees can bring wellbeing benefits and help to reduce the urban carbon footprint.

    Yvonne Lynch

    Yvonne Lynch

    Yvonne Lynch, a climate resilience strategist who advises governments internationally on urban greening, will talk about shifting perspectives on urban design and planning away from the traditional approaches that have dominated for over a century and how to move them towards a nature sensitive urban design model.

    In her presentation, Growing Greener Cities, she will discuss the critical role of urban forests in transitioning cities from being in a state of social and climate vulnerability towards resilience using Melbourne in Australia and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia as examples. She will also look at how to achieve longevity in policy outcomes and how to accelerate implementation of urban greening and urban forestry programmes.

    Yvonne is known for her work in Melbourne, Australia, where she established and led the city’s Urban Forest and Ecology team, developing an ‘email a tree’ programme and getting thousands of residents involved in greening and biodiversity activities. She is currently a strategic advisor for Green Riyadh with the Riyadh Development Authority in Saudi Arabia. The programme aims to create 3,300 new parks and gardens, and to plant 7.5 million trees by 2030.

    Ian Bateman, Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter Business School, will give an overview of the natural capital approach to decision making and how it is the ideal framework for capturing the multitude of values generated by trees and woodland.

    He will explain how a natural capital solution provides the basis for a wide array of benefits relating to recreation, physical and mental health, greenhouse gas sequestration, water quality, and habitat for wild species, as well as timber values. His presentation will also show that when compared to the values of agricultural or similar land uses, such approaches to planting deliver highly substantial net benefits to both society and taxpayers.

    Ian has a wide array of research interests revolving around the issue of ensuring sustainable wellbeing through the integration of natural and social science knowledge within decision making and policy. Particular interests lie in the fields of quantitative analysis, integrated modelling and the valuation of non-market benefits and cost. He has been or is advisor or consultant to: Defra, DfT, DoH, NICE, OECD and numerous other bodies.

    Other confirmed speakers include Professor Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, and Nadinè Galle, co-founder of Green City Watch, an award-winning geoAI platform for the near real-time monitoring of urban nature.

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Conference Chair Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor of Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia and a specialist on the role of trees and green space in cities and towns, said: “With the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly detrimental, we urgently have to make our cities more resilient.”

    “The urban forest has a crucial role to play in building resilient and sustainable cities. Progress towards this will be in focus at TPBE4 where delegates will be able to hear global leaders in urban forestry and sustainable urban development share their research and experience. The conference will also actively engage with participants to identify and discuss some of the Big Ideas that can help build greener and better cities,” he explained.

    The 2020 conference at the University of Birmingham on 22 and 23 of April, is an important academic gathering for professionals from across the world in a range of disciplines in both social and natural sciences.
    TPBE4 is hosted and organised by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) on behalf of a group of partner organisations.

    For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #TPBE4


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing Manager

  • Forestry Climate Change Action Plan Progress Report

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    Martin Glynn FICFor

    Martin Glynn FICFor, the Institute’s representative on the Forestry and Climate Change Working Group (FCCWG), highlights that while much is being done since the Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation of forests, woods and trees was published in England a year ago, a lot more needs to be undertaken.

    Few of us can have failed to grasp the implication of headlines in recent months that address the threat of climate change, or crisis as it is now becoming, and urgent action is needed. From authoritative scientific reports to the actions of teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg sailing across the Atlantic in a zero emissions yacht, it is clear that in the forestry sector we cannot sit back and do nothing.

    Quite rightly, much of the debate is around what we can do to limit the severity of climate change. Forestry has a key role to play in this mitigation, with extensive, appropriate, afforestation surely an obvious thing to do both in the country as a whole and in the urban forest in our towns and cities.

    But as a sector we must also be doing much more to adapt to the predicted climate of future decades. The Forestry Climate Change Working Group, on which I represent the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), was created to drive forward a closer relationship with government in terms of policy, forestry strategy, regulation, science and innovation.

    Now, 12 months on, our progress report shows that while much has been done, there has been limited progress, or indeed opportunity, when it comes to working closely with Defra policy teams. Some input has been provided for the development of the Environmental Land Management System, but as individual organisations rather than as a group on behalf of the sector.

    Progress continues to be made in species diversification by Forestry England through investment in new nursery facilities to support its resilience programme and the work of HTA and the Confor Nursery Producers Group to enhance the biosecurity and availability of resilient planting stock and members of the group have been working to increase the transfer of knowledge.

    But there is little evidence of an up-turn in the implementation of adaptation measures. Efforts, to date, do not appear to have been effective in eliciting change, suggesting that much further work, resources and commitment are required to deliver the scale and rate of change required.

    However, good progress has been made in terms of research priorities with innovative work from Forest Research on landscape scale benefits of woodland creation supporting the resilience and delivery of ecosystem services as well as the provision of guides, training and support tools. The Royal Forestry Society (RFS), the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), Woodland Heritage (WH) and Sylva are communicating research findings and stimulating debate across the sector, while the Forestry Commission, the Woodland Trust and Natural England have published joint interpretation and practical guidance on genetic considerations of climate change adaptation.

    In forestry we have been celebrating 100 years since the introduction of the 1919 Forestry Act and a lot has been written about progress and change. But it is also a reminder that woodland and management practices that have been developed over the last half century, or earlier, are not necessarily suitable for today’s climate, let alone the substantially altered future climate.

    I am hopeful that the year ahead will provide opportunities for the FCCWG to go further in a meaningful way. We are ready to collectively provide considered input to the consultation on the English Tree Strategy and also, I hope, push further forward in terms of key policies and strategies so that the 25 Year Environment Plan can actually become a reality.

    The FCCWG has representation from the following organisations:

    • Country Landowners Association (CLA)
    • Confor
    • Defra
    • Forestry Commission
    • Forest Research
    • Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF)
    • Lockhart-Garrett
    • Natural England
    • Royal Forestry Society
    • Sylva Foundation
    • Woodland Heritage
    • Woodland Trust

    You can download the report here.

  • The Institute Welcomes Scottish Government’s Forestry Programme

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    The Institute of Chartered Foresters has today (Thursday 05 September) welcomed the commitment from the Scottish Government to plant more trees over the coming year and invest more funding into the sector. Commenting on the commitment to plant 12,000 hectares over 2019/2020 with an additional investment of £5 million, the Institute’s Executive Director Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor said:

    “The Institute of Chartered Foresters welcomes the commitment to planting in Scotland. The country has already exceeded planting targets but the sector needs to continue to be ambitious”. “Forestry has a vital role in the face of Climate Change challenges and as professionals, our members are in a prime position to rise to these challenges, in both rural areas and in towns and cities,” she added. The Scottish Government has also committed to complete its work responding to the Mackinnon Review to ensure efficiency and consistency of grant making for new planting. “We hope that completing the final recommendations from this review will be undertaken soon. In 2016 Fergus Ewing accepted in principle all the recommendations from this important review into reducing the complexity, duration and cost of tree planting applications,” said Shireen.

    “In particular, the Institute is keen to be working with the relevant organisations to develop and deliver appropriate professional training across the sector. We also want to be working to develop the approach of appointing accredited forestry professionals to certify that woodland creation proposals meet the UK Forestry Standard,” she added.

    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Industry showcase will celebrate forestry, past, present and future

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    SSF Prospectus photography

    The Scottish School of Forestry will celebrate ‘Forestry: Past, Present and Future’ with an industry showcase on Saturday 7th September.

    If you are attending the event, please visit the Institute’s stand and say hello to the Insitute’s Technical Officer, Dr Rob Hawkins.

    The free, family friendly event marks 100 years since the Forestry Act was passed and the Forestry Commission, now Forestry and Land Scotland, was established to restore the country’s woods and forests.

    Today, trees cover nearly 18% of land in Scotland, compared to just 5% in the 1920s.

    ‘Forestry: Past, Present and Future’ runs from 10am and 3pm and will include displays and demonstrations of forest machinery and tools through the ages – from vintage tools with the Sawdust Fusiliers Living History Group to state-of-the-art technology, including virtual reality technology and drones, now being used in the modern day forestry industry.

    There will be interactive workshops for the family including bushcraft activities, forest selfies and a chainsaw challenge, as well as displays from the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, Forestry and Land Scotland, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, Trees for Life and Christie Elite, and informal talks from industry leaders.

    Scottish School of Forestry staff will also be leading guided walks through their site in Culloden Woods, Balloch, including tree and wildlife identification.

    Amanda Bryan MICFor, Head of the Scottish School of Forestry, said: “The forestry industry has seen significant changes over the past 100 years – from the end of World War 1 when timber supplies were in short supply, to post-war planting and advancements in technology and mechanical equipment, through to increased recreational use and challenges around conservation, integrated land use and climate change. Through fun, interactive activities, this event will look at how the industry has changed over the years and the exciting opportunities that lie in store for those entering the workforce as the sector responds to the challenges of meeting the Scottish Government’s targets for new woodland, timber processing/production and climate change.”

    The event has been organised in association with the Highlands and Islands Forestry Industry Cluster, with support from the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, the Institute of Chartered Foresters and Lantra Scotland.

    Food and refreshments will also be available.

    The Scottish School of Forestry is the only provider of both Higher Education and Further Education in Forestry in the UK.

  • Expressions of Interest Open for Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees

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    The Forestry Commission is looking for new volunteer members to serve on its Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees (FWAC) in England. It is an excellent opportunity for Chartered Members to get involved and help to shape the way the sector leads in terms of protection, improvement, and expansion of woodlands.

    They are looking to appoint individuals with expert knowledge and a passionate interest in forestry and woodlands issues and are keen to increase the number of younger professionals on the committees. Where a younger person cannot commit to serving an initial three year term the Forestry Commission is prepared to consider a lesser term of two years.

    The FWACs also have a role in advising on ‘disputed cases’ in respect to new woodland creation and Felling Licence applications. The Committees consist of an independent Chair and up to 11 volunteer members who bring a range of interests to the Committee.

    There are a total of nine FWACs across five Forest Services Areas: Yorkshire and the North East, the North West and West Midlands, the East and East Midlands, the South East and London, and the South West.

    Each Committee normally meets three times a year, including occasional joint meetings of Committees within the Forest Services Area where two operate. There are occasional ad hoc meetings of Committees, depending on local demands. Members should, therefore, be in a position to be able to volunteer up to five days per annum on FWAC work.

    The process requires the completion of the expression of interest form below by an individual or by a nominating organization. This should be returned with the candidate’s Curriculum Vitae by 30th September 2019. If the expression of interest is returned by the nominating organisation they should confirm that the candidate has agreed to be nominated. If the form is returned by the candidate, then they should provide confirmation if their application is supported by a nominating organisation.

    Applications will be accepted by post or email

    Download an Expression of Interest Form here.

    More information is available on the Forestry Commission website:

  • ICF Awards UK’s Emerging Forestry and Arboricultural Talent

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    Foresters and Arboriculturists of the future have been recognised in the annual Student Awards from the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the only professional body in the UK to award chartered status.

    Each year the Institute presents the awards to top students who have studied at universities and colleges in the UK which run ICF-accredited forestry and arboriculture courses and offers them a one year Associate membership to get them started on their path towards becoming chartered.

    The 2019 ICF Student Awards are presented at graduation ceremonies across the country by representatives of the Institute. The Associate membership gives them a valuable way of building a network of contacts and the opportunity to develop on a professional level with forestry and arboricultural peers.

    The 2019 ICF Student Award winners include:

    • Jocelyn McLaren, BSc (Hons) in Forest Management with Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, Scottish School of Forestry, University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness.
    • Andy Gardner, BSc (Hons) in Forest Management, the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria.
    • Elizabeth Anderson, BSc (Hons) Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, Myerscough College, Lancashire.
    • John Trimble, BSc (Hons) Forestry, Bangor University, Wales.
    • Edward Teddy Ellis, BSc (Hons) Forestry, University of Aberdeen.
    • Fearghus Gage, FdSc Arboriculture, Plumpton College, East Sussex.
    Louise Simpson, ICF Development Director

    Louise Simpson, ICF Development Director

    Louise Simpson, the Institute’s Development Director congratulated the award winners. “First of all I would like to say well done to all the students and hope that they will now work towards becoming chartered. It is an incredibly exciting time for forestry with more trees being planted and government strategies on forestry throughout the UK very much in favour of increasing planting,” she said.

    “It is also an important time to encourage young people into the sector, particularly arboriculture where more tree professionals are needed to help fulfil national targets for urban tree planting and to work towards combating increasing threats from pests and diseases.

    “These awards help to build valuable connections for young people starting out and the Institute strongly believes in supporting young talent. The next generation of professional foresters and arboriculturists will take a vision forward with them at a time when trees are recognised on a global level as having a vital role in reaching climate change targets and making the world a better place in terms of wellbeing and health,” Louise added.

    A further two ICF Student Awards are due to be given out at graduation ceremonies in September and October at Harper Adams University, Shropshire, and Pershore College, Worcestershire.


    Media Enquiries:

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Welsh Government Consultation: Sustainable Farming and our Land

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    The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford AM and the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM have launched a new consultation on how best to support Welsh landowners.

    They have said: “It is clear there is an overwhelming case for supporting farmers. The question is how best to do it.”

    Last year the Institute of Chartered Foresters responded to the ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation which prompted an important national debate on how Welsh farming could be supported post-Brexit. ‘Sustainable Farming and our Land’ present revised proposals for consultation. No decisions have been taken on the nature of new schemes after leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    The Welsh Government is seeking views on how Welsh farming can be made more sustainable.

    The consultation document can be found here:

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters would like to know what are the views of our members on this consultation so that the Institute can submit an informed response on behalf of its membership. Please go to the following survey to lodge your opinions. Thank you in advance.

  • Collaboration is key to addressing the challenges of our time

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    Mike Seddon, Chief Executive of Forestry England

    Mike Seddon, Chief Executive of Forestry England

    Mike Seddon, Chief Executive at Forestry England talks about the Forestry Commission centenary, the importance of working together, and the next 100 years of forestry.

    Whether it’s the historic New Forest, the rigs and dales of Dalby or the vastness of Kielder, people expect the nation’s forests to be there.

    But 100 years ago, our landscapes looked very different. For centuries, forest cover had gradually decreased and the strain of war devastated woodlands to the point where only five percent of the UK was left covered by trees.

    Since then, woodland area has more than doubled – an achievement made possible by hard work, innovation and expertise from Forestry Commission people in collaboration with other foresters, scientists, landowners, charities and business.

    An increase of woodland on this scale is something to be celebrated, but there’s a lot more to do.

    Facing the future

    Amid the climate crisis, increasing demands for timber and an urgent need to protect our wildlife; our forests have never been so important.

    While we’re up against these challenges, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our hard work lay the foundations for another series of forestry celebrations 100 years from now?

    Innovative thinking, science and new research will be fundamental in this journey. And crucially, to achieve what’s necessary in such a short timeframe, collaboration will be at the heart of success.

    As I take up the Chief Executive reins at Forestry England, I’m really interested in bringing ideas and expertise together, to find solutions in response to the biggest challenges of our time. That includes working with colleagues and partners from across the Forestry Commission, in Scotland and Wales, throughout the forestry sector and further afield.

    Lessons and learning

    The Forestry Commission’s first 100 years has been very successful, but it hasn’t always been a smooth ride.

    We’ve had ups and downs, tried different approaches, faced a number of obstacles and admittedly made a few mistakes.

    But life is a learning curve, and one of the things we’ve learnt is that forestry is dynamic. Like trees, our industry will always grow and evolve, and it’s up to organisations like ours to do the same.

    The story of a chap called Colonel H Packwood comes to mind. Packwood was an engineer with the Commission in the 1950s, charged with creating roads and bridges to access land where forests were being planted.

    As materials became more expensive, Packwood needed to find more cost effective, long lasting solutions. Bridges were a particular issue as materials were in short supply following the war, while maintenance also caused him plenty of headaches.

    In looking for answers, Packwood tried a variety of things. Of course he slipped up a few times on the way but then inspiration struck.

    Using old tram rails, which were effectively scrap metal as buses replaced trams in town and city centres, Packwood found he had the perfect low cost answer. With rails laid side by side across the gap, a mantle of concrete was added to form extremely strong, low maintenance bridges, a few of which survive to this day.

    The hard work begins

    Today, just like Packwood did in his time, foresters are facing a barrage of complex challenges. While we’re able to benefit from past investments in science and research, our forestry operations, silvicultural systems and forest infrastructure will need to adapt further in tune with the changing environment that lies ahead.

    I’d like to think the hard work we put in now will enable future generations to look back with pride in 2119 on the contribution our forests made in achieving net zero emissions, minimising the impact of imported pests and diseases and meeting the constantly developing social, economic and environmental aspirations of the people of this country.

    Just like the past century, evolution and innovation will play a fundamental role in forestry over the next 100 years.



    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Record Figures for Institute’s Scientific Journal Forestry

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    Forestry, the scientific journal of the Institute of Chartered Foresters published by Oxford University Press, is having a greater impact than ever before, the latest academic publication figures show.

    The recently released impact factor, which reflect the importance of a journal within its field, was 2.867 in 2018, up from 2.638 in 2017, a rise of 9%. The impact has grown considerably year by year from 0.464 in 2002.

    Indeed, Forestry is ranked ninth out of 66 journals in the Forestry category of the 2018 Journal Citation Reports (JCR) published by Clarivate Analytics. More precisely, of journals in this group focussing on forest science, Forestry was ranked second.

    Forestry is published five times a year on behalf of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. The aim of the journal is to publish high quality articles and reviews on all aspects of research, practice and policy that inform and promote the sustainable management of forests and trees. All articles and reviews published in Forestry are peer reviewed by at least two people.

    Dr Gary Kerr FICFor

    Editor-in-Chief Dr Gary Kerr FICFor said: “Forestry publishes cutting edge research that makes a significant contribution to the knowledge base required to develop more resilient forests. Recent examples include a paper that presented the evidence that ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) was active in England in 2004 to 2005, much earlier than previously thought. This paper raised important questions concerning the origins of infected plants and uncertainties about plant trade pathways that I think we are still struggling to answer.

    The increased impact and readership is a testament to the interest in the articles that we publish and the fact that they represent the kind of research and reviews that professionals in the industry want to read.”


    Media Enquiries:

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Is CPD Enough?

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     Josh Roberts MICFor, Policy Advisor at Scottish Forestry, reports on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

    I don’t think of the annual CPD obligation as a target to reach to stay in the Institute’s good books. And I reckon, deep down, that’s not how the Institute sees it either.

    My Continuing Professional Development is exactly that: my professional development – for me, about me and by me. And the only part that feels like an obligation is recording it, which the online portal makes very easy. For me, the bottleneck in keeping my records updated occurs because of confusion over what counts as CPD and then in sitting down to record what I’ve done.

    Wish List

    The Official Guidance

    The language of the guidance makes the CPD obligation sound a lot more daunting than it is:

    review your existing personal and professional experience. In particular, you should analyse where your skills or knowledge may be lacking and define areas for improvement.

    Making a wish list of what I’d like to achieve is useful but this instruction seems to set a high bar that used to prevent me from recognising and valuing legitimate learning activities that didn’t seem to fit the brief.

    According to the Institute,

    Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the structured maintenance and broadening of knowledge and skills and the development of personal qualities that are necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout a member’s working life.

    Structured is not the Same as Formal

    That word ‘structured’ initially led me to narrow my view of CPD to include only formal training courses and I often went even further and questioned whether formal training counted if work wanted me to do it. If I had to do it for work, how could I count it as CPD?

    It is easy to interpret the guidance and constrict your idea of what activities are CPD enough. But structured learning isn’t the same as formal learning, which is only one of a wide range of activities that qualify as CPD.

    I ended up recording less and less, either because things seemed too closely aligned with my job to call them CPD or because they didn’t seem formal enough to count. Recognising that ‘structured’ actually means that I’ve structured my CPD around the knowledge and skills that I have to maintain and develop allowed me to break this cycle and recognise all of the valuable CPD I was actually doing.

    Ben Summers-McKay

    So what counts and what doesn’t?

    Here’s some guidance from Ben, Member Services Officer at the Institute:

    CPD is the ongoing learning we all do to keep our knowledge and skills relevant for our jobs so we can perform to our best ability and meet the inevitable challenges in our changing sector. It should also help develop skills and prepare for what might come next.

    It’s probably easier to eliminate what doesn’t count and go from there.

    If your job depends on your ability to use a particular machine or programme, or on your understanding of a particular issue or piece of legislation or policy, the learning you need to do to get there shouldn’t count as Continuous Professional Development; it’s just what you need to know to do your job.

    CPD then, is what keeps you up to date with the latest developments and thinking in your field; it allows you to innovate or look at your work in new ways. So, although the original learning shouldn’t count, keeping up with new developments does. CPD should broaden and enrich your thinking and professional practice – it’s what you do to keep from being left behind!

    So my first step was to worry less about whether something was quite “CPD enough”. If it helps me maintain or develop skills and knowledge that are useful for me as a professional forester, it counts. (I’ve provided some examples of activities which I found incredibly useful below, which might inspire you.)

    The next step was to start looking back and making notes about what I’ve been up to recently that’s helped me learn and improve. We’re driven all the time to move onto the next problem, but with just ten minutes every month or so to look back, I find I can easily make at least a few notes about particular things that have helped me develop.

    Keeping the habit of recording is the hardest part so I don’t write detailed descriptions to start with, just notes to come back to later. Then maybe twice a year I type them up fully.

    So I suppose that’s my key message here: start writing it down. If you did something, read something, or went somewhere and learned something that broadened your knowledge or skills for your professional life, write it down! It’s your journey. It’s what you learned. So record it and explain why it was important. Once you start, you’ll probably find you’ve done a lot more than you realise.

    Examples of things I have recorded as CPD that you might have done and overlooked or might like to try:

    • Voluntary work in local woodlands.

    I learned so much from my involvement in my local woodland management group. It operated at a completely different scale to some of the other forestry I was used to dealing with, which meant I got involved in activities that I knew about but was normally very distant from in my day job. So often these small local groups are only held together by a few individuals, so we discount any time we give them as being too ‘unstructured’. This is a mistake! The learning and development I got from the hours I put in was far too valuable to omit for fears over its unstructured nature.

    • cpd-reading-forestryReading popular books

    Have you read James Rebanks’ ‘The Shepherd’s Life’? How about George Monbiot’s ‘Feral’ or Isabella Tree’s ‘Wilding’? Did they influence or inform your opinions about the impact, relevance and direction of our industry within a society that is changing the way it thinks about the environment and rural land management? Just because you’re not reading ‘Managing Native Broadleaved Woodlands’ on the train between meetings doesn’t mean you can’t value the impact of reading ‘popular’ books about trees, forests and land management.

    Keeping in touch with how wider society views the role of forests within the environment and rural economy is often something our industry talks about trying to do better. So get better at it but start easy, and value it when you make the effort. Just be realistic about how relevant the reading actually is to your development – it might take you six hours to read the book but you probably only want to record a couple of hours as CPD.

    • Work shadowing

    This is something we often talk about and it gets nods of general support by managers and in boardrooms, but very few people ever try to arrange it. I would really encourage you to try and it’s usually much easier to arrange than you’d think – if you can be patient and flexible and brave enough to make contact! The other misconception about shadowing that puts people off, particularly if you’re working in a smaller business, is that you have to lose a whole day to do it. A couple of hours with someone new, seeing what their work involves and how they need to do it can be really enlightening. But sometimes even more beneficial than learning about the job is learning about the person/team/organisation you’re shadowing. Try it.

  • Growing Innovation

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    Josh Roberts MICFor, Policy Advisor at Scottish Forestry, reports on an innovation fund that has just opened.

    Forestry and Land Scotland want everyone with a potential interest in plant nursery technology to know about an innovation fund that has just opened. The fund will support the research and development of new products to boost the yield of planting stock that can be achieved from the seed of any economically significant tree species grown in Scotland. The opportunity is fully funded but closing soon! Deadline 21 August 2019.

    Forestry and Land Scotland, previously known as the Forest Enterprise Scotland agency within the Forestry Commission, wants to support and collaborate with individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers and stakeholder organisations: anyone in the UK and beyond who has a good idea about how to improve efficiency and yield in forestry tree nurseries.

    Forestry in Scotland is booming, with rising demands for high quality planting stock for restocking and new woodland creation set to continue, particularly in light of the recently announced Climate Emergency. Biosecurity concerns associated with importing plants and soil, however, are also on the rise. This means it is more important than ever that we make the supplies of precious orchard seed go as far as possible.

    This is a fully funded opportunity to develop your idea into a profitable product, supported by the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund, an initiative of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Scottish Government. But it’s not just 100% funding that is on offer, the Challenge is being supported through CivTech, experts in bringing together public sector expertise and private sector creativity to solve real problems and develop new products. This means there is significant help available through this opportunity to expand or start your business and to reach and establish a customer base.

    The initial expression of interest is very light touch, we really just want to hear what your idea is, how you think it will work and why you believe it is innovative. If we think it has potential we will pay you £3,000, plus VAT, to develop a more comprehensive plan to design and develop a prototype. Significant further funding is then available to build, test, and commercialise your idea in a phased approach designed to minimise the risk associated with starting a new business or entering a new market. But get your ideas in quick because the deadline for submissions is Wednesday 21 August 2019.

    All questions about this opportunity and submission of ideas must be made through Public Contracts Scotland.

    Full details and a video about this ‘Challenge’ can be found on the CivTech website here.


    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Call for Papers Deadline Extended for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4

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    International Conference in UK

    The call for papers for the international cross-discipline urban tree and infrastructure conference Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 has been extended to Sunday 1 September 2019.

    The 2020 conference takes place at the University of Birmingham on 22 and 23 of April, and follows on from acclaimed events in 2011, 2014 and 2017. It is an important academic gathering for professionals from across the world in a range of disciplines in both social and natural sciences.

    In particular, the 2020 conference is seeking papers on trees and infrastructure as nations work towards how specialists in the built environment, particularly architects, planners, arboriculturists, environmentalists and engineers, can work together in a world where climate change is at the top of political, social and economic agendas.

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Conference Chair Professor Cecil Konijnendijk, a renowned expert on trees, green spaces, and public health in urban environments from the University of British Columbia (UBC), is urging those with an interest in green infrastructure to submit a paper.

    “The cross-disciplinary approach will make the 2020 conference exceptional. Attendees want to know about the latest research, innovation and ideas from a global perspective. I urge specialists who want to make a difference to consider submitting a paper to take the debate to the next level,” he said.

    The conference will be divided into four areas; Green Innovation in Infrastructure, Tree Value and Natural Capital, Governance and Planning, and Collaboration as the Key to Achieving Real Change.

    Papers that address the conference topics in both the social and natural sciences are welcomed. These will either be:

    • Original research papers presenting new work in a specific subject area
    • Case Studies demonstrating research being brought through to practice.

    Selected authors will join invited keynote speakers in presenting to an audience of more than 400 built and natural environment delegates from across the world. With the conference offering both local and international perspectives, papers from overseas authors will be welcomed by the selection committee.

    Guidelines for Abstract Submission

    Please send an abstract of not more than 300 words. All submissions must comply with the following:

    • Have a title and details of authorship (including affiliation)
    • Have no more than five keywords
    • Identify if the submission is an original research paper or a case study
    • Be submitted by email in MS Word format by 11:59 GMT, 1 September 2019.

    Papers will be reviewed by members of the Conference Steering Group. Authors whose papers are then selected will be invited to present their work at the conference. Most presentations will last between 20 and 30 minutes. The authors whose papers are accepted must provide a one page executive summary of their presentation by 31 January 2020 which will be published at the end of the conference.

    Authors whose papers are selected will be notified by 10 October 2019. Those authors who are not successful may be given the opportunity to present a poster at the conference or an alternative speaking opportunity.

    Full papers of selected presentations and executive summary must be received by 31 January 2020 without exception, in accordance with conference guidelines for speakers.

    The author or main author of selected papers will be given a complimentary place at the conference and will have their travel expenses reimbursed and accommodation and meals provided, in accordance with conference guidelines for speakers.

    All abstract submissions and academic enquires should be directed to:

    Russell Horsey MICFor, #TPBE4 Programme Co-ordinator.


    TPBE4 is hosted and organised by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) on behalf of a group of partner organisations. For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #TPBE4

    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Arboriculture Has Vital Role in Housing Development and Highways Maintenance

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    Arboriculturists have a vital role in helping developers make sure they take on board new Government advice to plant more trees, and in maintaining trees along the nation’s highways, according to the UK’s professional body which awards Chartered Arboriculturist status.

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, ICF Vice President

    Responding to Communities Secretary James Brokenshire’s call for developers to plant more trees and green meadows as wildlife havens, the Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters Sharon Hosegood FICFor, a Chartered Arboriculturist, said the skills of tree professionals should not be underestimated.

    “Our members already work with developers, councils and planners to make sure they have the best advice, not just when it comes to planting but also selecting the right species of trees for the location. With planting more trees at the forefront of the current political agenda the role of Chartered Arboriculturists has never been so important,” she said.

    Sharon also welcomed a new operations note from the Forestry Commission which sets out the important role of arboriculturists when it comes to maintaining highway trees. The note says that a co-ordinated response and guidance of an experienced and qualified arboriculturist working closely with an experienced highway engineer is needed to have safe, usable highways and a high quality, well managed and maintained urban forest.

    “Highway trees are an important asset, improving the appearance and wildlife value of urban areas. How highway trees are managed has been brought into sharp focus recently by the public opposition to the felling of street trees in Sheffield,” Sharon explained.

    “Critically, this document makes clear that decisions about tree care must be a collaboration between a suitably qualified and experienced arboriculturist working closely with a highway engineer,” she said.

    “Arboriculture is a growing profession, both in numbers, public understanding and status, with arboriculturists working in both the private and public sectors. A list of Chartered Arboriculturists can be found on the Institute of Chartered Foresters website so councils, planners and developers can find a qualified consultant near them. Using a competent, qualified arboriculturist can help find solutions to retain trees, plant and maintain new trees successfully, and to audit and manage the tree population whether that is on a housing development or on the roadside,” she added.


    Media Enquiries:

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Tremendous programme announced for Tree Officers Conference

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    The programme for the National Tree Officers Conference 2019, the only major event in the UK dedicated to tree officers, has been unveiled. It will take place at Reading Town Hall on Wednesday 6 November.

    The conference, organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), comes at a time when trees in towns and cities are recognised by policymakers as having a crucial role to play in meeting the UK’s climate change target of net zero emissions by 2050.

    Indeed, the key international speaker Gian Michele Cirulli, an urban tree manager with the Green Public Service of Turin City Council, Italy, will outline the role of trees in climate change, giving­­­­­­ an insight into current and future practices. He will talk about how to manage existing urban trees, many of which are over 50 years old, with political, environmental and public expectations.

    Delegates will get an insight into the process of assessing current canopy cover and integrating planting proposals into new developments in the future as part of a council’s Local Plan. Phil Simpkin MICFor, will provide an update on his presentation at the 2016 conference on his work at Wycombe District Council.

    Phillip Handley, a GIS specialist with Forest Research, will explain how a lack of data, or data of dubious quality, is preventing a knowledge-based approach to optimising benefits from trees in urban areas. He is working on developing a new data standard with the aim of putting the right trees in the right place as well as creating a world-leading dataset that allows better use of emerging technologies such as hyperspectral remote sensing, the Internet of Things and machine learning in managing urban forests.

    The conference sessions cover planning, management, legislation, collaboration, diversity, standards and pests and diseases. Individual talks include the regulatory role of a tree officer, best practice for planning issues, tree legislation in Scotland and the reporting of invasive pests and diseases.

    Louise Simpson

    “Climate change is high on the political, social and environmental agenda therefore maintaining tree professionals’ standards within the urban realm, improving green infrastructure in towns and cities, is crucial to working towards a better world for us all. Importantly, the National Tree Officers Conference platform allows Tree Officers to showcase their work and, thereby, learn from each other ultimately improving the success of tree planting and maintenance, helping mitigate climate change and getting people connected to nature with all the associated health benefits that it brings,” said Louise Simpson, the Institute of Chartered Forester’s Development Director.

    For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #TreeOfficerUK


    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Incredible diversity and superb quality rewarded at Scotland’s Tree Oscars

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    Jahama Highland Estate

    Jahama Highland Estate, winner of the New Native Woodlands category

    The 2019 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards were the biggest-ever celebration of trees, woodland and forests – and arguably the very best.

    With 20 different awards presented – to winners ranging from a very large public woodland steeped in forestry history to a nursery where children can spend their entire session in the woods – a huge diversity of excellence was on show.

    As Angela Douglas, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, put it: “We have seen superb entries from right across Scotland, showcasing the wonderful diversity of our forests and woods and the wide-ranging skills of the people managing them.”

    What binds the award-winners together is a passion for trees, and a commitment to bring talent and skill to bear to create exceptional results.

    This was evident across the categories, with the one-off Centenary Award (marking 100 years since the 1919 Forestry Act) presented to Fort Augustus Woodlands, part of which includes the very first site acquired by the Forestry Commission in Scotland after the 1919 Act.

    Judges said: “Covering almost 10,000 hectares, these woods are steeped in the history of 20th century forestry, up to the present day. Evident within the forest area is the full spectrum of challenges faced by forest managers over the last 100 years, along with their efforts, responses and initiatives to overcome those challenges.”

    Craggach Woods, Kirkhill, near Inverness

    David Shepherd and Annie Griffiths in Craggach Wood, winner of the Quality Timber Small Wood category

    Another new award for the 2019 was the Farm Woodland Award for Young People, won by Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer for Lynbreck Croft, near Grantown on Spey.

    Lynn highlighted the value of trees to the croft business, saying:  “We have tried to achieve full integration of trees and woodland into the business. They are a valuable asset in terms of shelter for animals and fuel for us – as well as everything they do for biodiversity and soaking up carbon. That three-legged stool of sustainability – the economic, environmental and social benefits of woodlands – is at the heart of everything we are trying to do in our community.”

    Another fascinating winner was Craggach Woods, Kirkhill, near Inverness, in the Quality Timber Small Wood category. Owners David Shepherd and Annie Griffiths are trying to break down traditional barriers and show you can have broadleaf native woodland and still grow timber. They described themselves as custodians of the site for the future – as they look towards a time when timber harvested at Craggach Woods can provide a good living for someone.

    Darroch Wood on the Scaniport Estate, south of Inverness

    Darroch Woods, Scaniport Estate, winner of the Quality Timber Whole Forest category.

    There was high praise from the judges for excellent forest management. Bidwells won in the New Native Woods category for its work with Jahama Highland Estates at Kinlochleven, Lochaber, where native woodland cover has increased from 23% to 43% within the restoration area. Judges said: “The planting and natural regeneration of the 228ha Kinlochleven Native Woodland Restoration project has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the long term future of native woodland in this part of the West Coast of Scotland.”

    The management of Darroch Wood on the Scaniport Estate, south of Inverness, was also praised. Bowlts foresters Dr Ben Lennon FICFor and Ben Watson collected the John Kennedy Trophy for Multi-purpose Woodlands in the Quality Timber category along with James Baillie, the owner of Scaniport Estate.

    The woodland has been managed by Bowlts for 20 years and judges said: “The stands of Douglas Fir and Larch in Darroch Woods are magnificent both in terms of timber quality and visual appeal. The conifers run into extensive oakwoods and both provide an exceptional backdrop for the network of footpaths through the wood.

    The owner is committed to managing the woods as continuous cover forests which will safeguard the social, economic and environmental benefits for the long term.”

    Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2019 – © Julie Broadfoot

    There was a surprise when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrived to present the Schools Award to Earthtime Forest School Nursery in Duffus, north of Elgin, where children are allowed to spend their whole nursery session in the woodlands. She also presented the runner-up award to Levenmouth Academy in Buckhaven, Fife, where pupils have planted more than 8000 trees on a site next to the school.

    The First Minister said: “It’s wonderful to see young people in Scotland – from nursery through to secondary school – engaging with trees and our natural environment in such a positive way. We have a committed and enthusiastic next generation ready to take up the climate challenge – including planting tens of millions more trees.”

    * For a full list of winners, go to

  • Scientific Paper Described as ‘Inspiring’ for Forest Managers and Research Scientists Wins 2018 Silvicultural Prize

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    Dr Christel C. Kern

    Forest managers and research scientists, wherever they work around the world, are set to be inspired by the winning scientific paper of the 2018 Silvicultural Prize awarded by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

    The Percy Stubbs and John Bolton King and Edward Garfitt Prize for Silviculture is awarded annually for work advancing the sector’s knowledge of silviculture published in the Institute’s prestigious journal Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research.

    The 2018 award winner, Dr Christel C. Kern, a research forester with the US Forest Service based in Wisconsin, paid tribute to her co-authors who worked on the research paper titled: Challenges Facing Gap-based Silviculture and Possible Solutions for Mesic Northern Forests in North America.

    “This is an honour. I want to recognise my co-authors as it was truly a group effort to craft this paper. We were interested to summarise current research and then propose both practical and state-of-knowledge advancements for sustainable forest management. We are pleased with the recognition,” she said.

    The paper says that managing variability in canopy structure, light environments, habitat conditions and scales will be a formidable challenge, particularly in terms of the expectations of commodity-driven forestry. It concludes that staying true to the origins of silvicultural approaches in terms of maintaining a diverse mix of tree species will increase the potential for long term ecosystem resilience and economic sustainability.

    Dr Gary Kerr, Editor-in-Chief of Forestry, said: “Reading this paper will inform and inspire forest managers and research scientists wherever they work, despite being focussed on northern forests in North America. I was delighted that the authors chose to publish the paper in Forestry because we welcome papers that take an integrated approach to the sustainable management of forests.

    “This review of gap-based silviculture is distinctly different to previous studies and reviews and clearly focusses on implementation and the desired outcomes of gap-based management. I would advise everyone to put this paper at the top of their reading list.”

    The 2018 Silvicultural Prize winning paper is available to read in full:



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  • Institute of Chartered Foresters Welcomes Climate Change Legislation Amendment

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    Shireen Chambers FICFor

    Shireen Chambers FICFor

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters has today (Wednesday 12 June) welcomed the amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008 which puts the UK on a path to become the first major nation to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

    “Planting trees and managing our existing forests are universally regarded as significant in the fight to capture carbon, and professionals foresters will be needed to help reach this ambitious target set by the Government,’ said Shireen Chambers FICFor, the Institute’s Executive Director.

    “Our forests and woodlands are already making a difference in the UK but much more needs to be done. Government departments will need to consult with the profession to ensure landowners, local authorities, developers and farmers make tree planting a part of their sustainable business plans. This work now needs to be escalated if this target is to be realistic,” she added.


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  • New Development Director at the Institute of Chartered Foresters

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    Louise Simpson

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has appointed a new Development Director who will play a key role in establishing and cultivating partnerships to support professionalism in forestry and arboriculture.

    Louise Simpson has 20 years’ experience in evidence gathering, policy development, strategy, campaigning, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, and people management. She has a BA from the University of Southampton and started her professional career in marketing and business training.

    Louise has headed up a number of multi-organisation initiatives, promoting the benefits of teamwork and partnership relations. Most recently she was Policy and Research Director for the Army Families Federation for whom she worked for almost 12 years.

    “It is a very important time for forestry and arboriculture as the benefits of trees move up the political, environmental and social agenda in the UK so I am delighted to be joining the Institute at this time,” she said.

    The Institute’s President Alastair Sandels FICFor welcomed Louise. “As the only body awarding chartered status in the UK we must embrace professional development and be ambitious now and for the next generation. As Development Director Louise will be helping us to do this and she will be a fantastic addition to the team,” he said.


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  • Professional Foresters Welcome Gove’s Urban Tree Planting Plan

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    Shireen Chambers, Institute of Chartered Foresters Executive Director

    Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF Executive Director

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters has welcomed the announcement from Environment Secretary Michael Gove that £10 million funding is being made available to plant more than 130,000 trees in England’s towns and cities.

    It is also urging professional foresters to make sure their views are known as the Government prepares to consult on a new English Tree Strategy later this year which will have an input into a new flagship Environment Bill.

    “Professional foresters and arboriculturists must be a vital part of this planning and members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters have the expertise and knowledge to help make sure that the new strategy is relevant and achievable,” said Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute.

    “I welcome the announcement of funding for 130,000 trees to be planted in towns and cities in England. The importance of trees and woodland to our well-being is being highlighted at the Chelsea Flower Show this week with show gardens emphasising how they can be incorporated into our lives. Mental health week has also reminded us of the importance of trees and forests as a calming influence.

    “Looking ahead to the new tree strategy, I hope that the Environment Secretary will take on board the views of professional foresters and embrace the chance to make sure that we can have an ambitious strategy to increase woodland cover for all the benefits that trees bring, not least in the current crucial fight against climate change,” she added.

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, ICF Vice President

    Chartered Arboriculturist Sharon Hosegood FICFor, the Institute’s Vice President, also welcomed the announcement and the funding. “Trees are becoming ever more important to the environment and we need to protect them as well as plant more of them. I work for developers in the private and public sector and witness first-hand the pressures of climate change, escalating pests and diseases and land use changes,” she said.

    “It is not just about planting more trees in town and cities but how we do it and where, the right trees in the right place. It is also about resourcing. We need strong Government and proactive and properly funded Local Authorities. Collaboration between professionals is increasing, but it is our responsibility to help steer policies that result in successful urban forestry,” she added.

    Find out how to apply here.


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  • Professional Foresters Can Help Deliver Low Carbon Farming in Scotland

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    Professional foresters can help farmers in Scotland develop innovative low carbon practices as part of a new initiative announced by the Scottish Government.

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters, whose head office is based in Edinburgh, today (Thursday 09 May) welcomed the announcement by Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon on a new farmer-led initiative to drive low carbon, environmentally sustainable farming practices in Scotland.

    Martin Glynn FICFor

    Gougeon said that under reforms to the Farming For a Better Climate (FFBC) programme, a new group will be established to trail and develop ideas on farms which could provide practical, innovative solutions to help climate change mitigation, including carbon sequestration.

    Martin Glynn FICFor, the Institute’s representative on the Climate Change Working Group, said: “Trees and woodlands can help deliver a variety of low carbon solutions for farmers, not just by producing timber. By providing shelter, and thus better growing conditions for crops and stock, they reduce the need for fertiliser. Reducing run-off maintains and improves soil quality, and leaf litter increases carbon sequestration by soils. Farming and forestry can work together to produce a better climate”.

    Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, said that members are already working with landowners to plant new forests using marginal land and working with farmers to see how smaller woodlands can benefit them and help with carbon capture.

    “Professional foresters are ahead of the game. We are already working with landowners and farmers to show how trees can work in a sustainable, ecological and economic way. People know about the detrimental impact of plastic on the environment and now they are becoming more aware of the role trees play in combating climate change and capturing carbon,” she pointed out.

    “I welcome the report and hope that it will open up the debate even further on how trees can be the way forward in meeting climate change targets and how Scotland can take a lead on this,” she added.


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  • Professional Foresters Have Major Role in Helping Combat Climate Change

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    Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF Executive Director

    Professional foresters will have a vital role when it comes to meeting the recommendations made today (Thursday 02 May) by the Committee on Climate Change for the UK to be carbon-free by 2050, according to the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

    Members of the Institute are already working with private and public landowners to plant new forests using marginal land and working with farmers to see how smaller woodlands can benefit them and help with carbon capture.

    The Committee, the UK Government’s official advisor on climate change, recommends that three billion trees need to be planted by 2050, that a fifth of farmland should be turned into forest, peatland or used for biomass crops and 200,000 miles of hedgerows need to be grown.

    Commenting on the recommendations, Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, said:

    “Professional foresters are ahead of the game. We are already working with landowners and farmers to show how trees can work in a sustainable, ecological and economic way.

    “People know about the detrimental impact of plastic on the environment and now they are becoming more aware of the role trees play in combating climate change and capturing carbon.

    “The Institute also has a vital role to play in terms of promoting forestry as a career for young people so that they can see working in forestry as a profession where they can make a difference to our planet, not just now, but in decades to come.

    “I welcome the report and hope that it will open up the debate even further on how trees can be the way forward in meeting climate change targets and how the UK can take a global lead on this.”


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  • Call for Papers Issued for Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 International Conference in Birmingham

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    A call for papers has been issued for Trees People and the Built Environment 4, the international cross-discipline urban tree conference with a focus on both research and practice held every three years in the UK.

    Proposals for presentations can now be submitted for the conference which takes place at the University of Birmingham on 22 and 23 of April 2020, and follows on from acclaimed events in 2011, 2014 and 2017.

    It attracts professionals from across the world in a wide range of disciplines, including engineers, architects, landscape architects, planners, arboriculturists, social scientists and health professionals and it is an important date in the international conference event calendar.

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Conference chair is Professor Cecil Konijnendijk, a renowned expert on trees, green spaces, and public health in urban environments. He has helped to develop a popular undergraduate degree in urban forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, where he is Professor of Urban Forestry.

    In 2020 the conference will focus on Trees as Infrastructure and will provide a platform for researchers and practitioners to showcase their innovative work. The conference will be divided into four areas; Green Innovation in Infrastructure, Tree Value and Natural Capital, Governance and Planning, and Collaboration is the Key to Achieving Real Change.

    Papers that address the conference topics in both the social and natural sciences are welcomed. These will either be:

    • Original research papers presenting new work in a specific subject area
    • Case Studies demonstrating research being brought through to practice.

    Selected authors will join invited keynote speakers in presenting to an audience of more than 400 built and natural environment delegates from across the world. With the conference offering both local and international perspectives, papers from overseas authors will be welcomed by the selection committee.

    Guidelines for Abstract Submission

    Please send an abstract of not more than 300 words. All submissions must comply with the following:

    • Have a title and details of authorship (including affiliation)
    • Have no more than five keywords
    • Identify if the submission is an original research paper or a case study
    • Be submitted by email in MS Word format by 12:00 GMT, 26 July 2019.

    Papers will be reviewed by members of the Conference Steering Group. Authors whose papers are then selected will be invited to present their work at the conference. Most presentations will last between 20 and 30 minutes. The authors whose papers are accepted must provide a one page executive summary of their presentation by 31 January 2020 which will be published at the end of the conference.

    Authors whose papers are selected will be notified by 10 September 2019. Those authors who are not successful may be given the opportunity to present a poster at the conference or an alternative speaking opportunity.

    Full papers of selected presentations and executive summary must be received by 31 January 2020 without exception, in accordance with conference guidelines for speakers.

    The author or main author of selected papers will be given a complimentary place at the conference and will have their travel expenses reimbursed and accommodation and meals provided, in accordance with conference guidelines for speakers.

    All abstract submissions and academic enquires should be directed to:

    Russell Horsey MICFor, #TPBE4 Programme Co-ordinator.


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  • New President and Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters Elected

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    Alastair Sandels FICFor, ICF President

    Members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters have elected a new President and Vice President.

    Alastair Sandels FICFor was elected President as the successor to David Edwards FICFor, who has completed two years in the role, and Sharon Hosegood FICFor succeeds Alastair as Vice President. She is the first Chartered Arboriculturist to hold this position.

    Alastair qualified as a Professional member of the Institute in 1992, was promoted to Fellow in 2010 and has over 35 years’ experience in the sector. He is Managing Director of Trioss, a company that works internationally on resilience and climate change, adaptation and mitigation.

    He becomes President at a time when demands on the profession have never been greater. The Institute’s recent National Conference heard that trees have a critical role to play in combating climate change and providing wood fibre and timber as demand increases. Alastair is urging members, and future members, to rise to the challenge.

    Alastair said: “It is a privilege and honour to be President of the Institute. I hope as a profession we will look beyond the confines of our professional responsibilities to the wider challenges. The Institute is in its strongest position since chartered status was awarded with more members and stronger finances”.

    He is keen to build on these strengths, not just by attracting more members, but also exploring innovation, for example, recognising vocational skills as a path to membership. This may mean looking at changes to the constitution and policies with the aim of providing more professional development opportunities for all members in all regions.

    “As professionals we face challenges at all stages of our careers. The Institute’s Code of Conduct and Ethics is powerful and offers a unique benchmark for us and for our stakeholders. If we don’t embrace professional development we will fail to meet our potential. We need to be ambitious as an Institute and for the next generation,” he added.

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, ICF Vice President

    Newly elected Vice President, Sharon Hosegood, is a Chartered Arboriculturist and Managing Director of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates with expertise in planning and construction, tree hazard management, and tree radar. Sharon is also a Fellow of the Arboricultural Association and board member for the Institute of Arboricultural Studies (Hong Kong).

    “I am honoured and delighted to serve Institute members and the President in this role. As the first arboricultural Vice President, I hope this will encourage more arboriculturists to start the path to chartership. Being chartered is an easily recognisable accreditation. It raises our standing amongst other professionals and provides quality assurance,” she said.

    She points out that there are challenges to be addressed in the sector due to continuing pressures on trees and forests from pests and diseases, land use demands and climate change at a time when public awareness of tree management remains confused. “But at a time of low resources in the public sector and too few people with the right skill set and qualifications we need to keep pushing the importance of trees and forests for the well-being of our ecosystem and our communities,” she explained.

    “We need to let people know what a great career choice this is. The importance of tree officers within local authorities is sometimes not recognised. I find it astonishing that at a time of great pressure on trees, especially our urban trees, and the measurable benefits they provide, some local authorities are not employing tree officers. In private practice, our role seems to be more widely accepted with early consultation on development schemes. What is less understood is that arboriculture is a fascinating and worthwhile profession,” she added.


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  • Woodlands adapt for climate change

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    Girth band fitting to measure tree growth at one of the demonstration areas. Crown ©

    Our climate is changing but what are we doing to understand how we can adjust our woodland management practices to better prepare our woodlands?

    Dr Gail Atkinson, Forest Research, discusses a new climate change adaptation trail and demonstration areas located in Alice Holt Forest.

    What is being done?

    Alice Holt Forest is located on the Surrey/Hampshire border and is within the South Downs National Park. The forest contains a mix of broadleaf tree species and coniferous woodland which provides many important benefits. The future climate for the area is expected to include hotter, drier summers along with more frequent extreme weather events, such as droughts, which could lead to significant reductions in tree growth, biodiversity and ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration.

    Three new demonstration areas have been set up by Forest Research and Forestry England to show climate change adaptation measures in a woodland typical of the South East of England. They have been designed to show examples of adaptive management and planning for future conditions which may better prepare our woodlands for change and future challenges.

    The planning, operations and implementation of the measures have already provided insights into the practicalities of adapting to future changes. The intention is that as they grow, they will continue to develop our learning about the process and impact of implementing adaptation actions in forestry, and encourage others to think about what measures might work best in their woodlands and share their ideas and experiences.

    These demonstration areas have been incorporated into the ‘Alice Holt Climate Change Adaptation Trail’. The trail is designed to show a range of adaptation measures and options. As well as the new demonstration areas it also includes 20th century research trials (some dating back to 1943) and the Alice Holt Arboretum, which are today of fresh interest to those considering how to build resilience in woodlands to environmental change.

    Forest Research and Forestry England Trail Climate Change.

    The start of the trail. Crown ©

    What can I see along the trail?

    The trail incorporates:

    • A demonstration of species diversification to increase resilience, meet restoration objectives and improve drought tolerance;
    • Management interventions to explore opportunities to reduce drought stress and the impact of pests and diseases;
    • Techniques for woodland creation to support carbon sequestration;
    • A direct seeding trial of 10 tree species sown in 2009 to stimulate thinking about whether we can encourage natural selection using direct seeding;
    • A trial of Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) which involved testing the growth and survival of plants raised from seed in different regions, to encourage forest managers to consider options to address changing fire risk;
    • A clone bank of Leyland cypress to demonstrate what species trials can tell us about future risks;
    • A clone bank of Western red cedars (Thuja plicata) to encourage thinking about what alternative species might suit future conditions;
    • The Alice Holt Arboretum to illustrate how species diversification and conservation work are important in understanding threats and opportunities from the changing climate.
    One of the Forest Research and Forestry England stops along the trail.

    One of the stops along the trail. Crown ©

    How can I visit the demonstration areas and the adaptation trail?

    The trail starts in Alice Holt Arboretum car park which is located near to Forest Research’s Alice Holt Lodge and two miles from Alice Holt Forest Park. A self-guided trail guide and associated worksheet are available to download from the Forest Research website.

    We hope this inspires you to find out more about the demonstration work, to come along to take a look at what is happening and let us know what you think.


    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • New President and Vice President elected at ICF Annual General Meeting

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    Alastair Sandels FICFor is the new ICF President and Sharon Hosegood FICFor the new Vice President, both elected at the Institute’s Annual General Meeting in Oxford on 10th April 2019. They will hold their positions for two years.

    Alastair Sandels FICFor, ICF President

    Alastair Sandels FICFor is currently Managing Director of Trioss, a business providing consultancy to people, organisations and systems facing complex long-term risks such as climate change and resource availability. He qualified as Professional Member of the ICF in 1992 and was appointed Fellow of the Institute in 2010. He completed the MSc in Forestry and Land Management at Oxford in 1982 and is currently a Director of The Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA).

    “The ICF is in its strongest position since Chartered status was awarded. More members and stronger finances. We can continue to grow incrementally if we choose and build on our strengths and success. It is a privilege and honour to be ICF President,” he said.

    He wants to encourage members to look beyond the confines of what is happening in the UK and take on board the issues at a global level put forward by speakers at the Institute’s recent National Conference. He also believes it may be time to explore how to make a step change in terms of policy positions to support members and influence decision making.

    Alastair is open to looking at recognising experiential learning and vocational skills and keen to develop a wider and challenging range of professional development resources and opportunities for members at different stages of their careers.

    “From my experience balancing the interests of clients and employers is one of the biggest challenges we face at all stages of our careers. The ICF Code of Conduct and Ethics backed by scrutiny and sanction is powerful and offers a unique benchmark for us and for our stakeholders. If we don’t embrace continued professional development we will fail to meet our potential, now more than ever. We need to be ambitious of our Institute and the next generation,” he added.

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, ICF Vice President

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, Vice President of the ICF and Managing Director of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates. Her specialisms are trees in relation to planning and construction, tree hazard management, and tree radar. Sharon is also a Fellow of the Arboricultural Association, board member for Institute of Arboricultural Studies (Hong Kong) and an Expert Witness as well as an assessor for the Institute’s Examinations Board.

    “I am honoured and delighted to serve the members and the President in this role. As the first arboriculturist, I hope this will encourage more arboriculturists to start the path to Chartership. Being chartered is an easily recognisable accreditation. It raises our standing amongst other professionals and provides quality assurance,” she said.

    She aims to be at the forefront of encouraging more people to gain the right skill sets and qualifications needed to deal with challenges in the sector which include pressures on trees and forests from pests and diseases, land use demands and climate change. She also wants to increase the awareness of what professional foresters and arboriculturists do.

    “We need to keep pushing the importance of trees and forests to the wider community for the wellbeing of our ecosystem and our communities and let people know what a great career choice this is. The perceived importance of tree officers within their Local Authorities, for example, is patchy, some are even not replacing tree officer posts. What is less understood is that arboriculture is a fascinating and worthwhile profession,” she added.

  • The Future of Forestry is Smart and the UK has a Big Role to Play

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    Frances Seymour

    Frances Seymour

    Collaboration between foresters and arboriculturists and others such as scientists, conservationists and environmentalists is the future for forestry, creating a new smart outlook that also embraces and encourages the next generation, the ICF’s National Conference in Oxford heard.

    Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute, explained that the UK’s leadership in conserving tropical forests is appreciated on a global scale with the UK highlighting illegal logging on the international agenda as early as 1998 and warning that it was no coincidence that the destruction of tropical forests was happening at the same time as a vast increase in in the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

    She explained that there is considerable optimism for the future as there is evidence that reforestation is feasible and affordable at a time when the global view is shifting towards forest protection. She pointed out that global consensus on United Nations REDD+ programme has been reached and it is the finance that now needs to be put in place.

    Berry Wiersum, Chief Executive Officer of Sappi Europe, spoke about the role of the consumer and how the move towards eliminating single-use plastic in many countries will lead to a rise in demand for timber as many of the replacements in terms of packaging, in particular, derive from wood and it is inevitable that the price of timber will rise.

    As a result Governments and decision makers, increasingly conscious that ‘forests are the most efficient carbon sink’, will push for more trees to be planted as by planting more trees they are not only working toward climate change goals but also providing trees for future demand.

    The conference heard that foresters as a whole are not very good at marketing the valuable work they do and the value of trees in terms of carbon capture, positive effects on communities, well-being and the economy. Luis Neves Silva of WWF suggested that plantations are the way forward but done in a way that new trees are combined with local needs and landscaping and communities are part of the scheme.

    Alexander Buck

    He said the choice of species and the way planting is landscaped are vital, creating precision ‘smart’ forestry, an approach that could work well in the UK but will require a greater level of planning when it comes to decision making and stakeholder engagement with collaboration across agencies.

    Alexander Buck, Executive Director of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) argued that scientists also need to be part of that collaboration in terms of sharing knowledge so that scientific solutions can be used to benefit forests, trees and communities around the world. He explained that IUFRO acts as ‘an honest broker’ to provide stakeholders and decision makers with robust scientific evidence and options for effective action.

    Professor Colin Galbraith said that the UK has an important role in taking a lead. When it comes to forestry this includes sustainable harvesting models, dealing with pests and disease, limiting large scale clear felling, minimising the impact on native species and combining commercialisation with conservation, water management, wildlife protection and carbon capture.

    Following on from this Tony Juniper, speaking as an environmentalist and author, but soon to be chair of Natural England, argued for more collaboration between foresters, conservationists and environmentalists. He said it is time for the ‘clash of cultures’ to end.

    (Left to right) Angelika Konko, Lacey Rose RPF, Jemima Letts and Lisa Prior

    Looking ahead to the future several young speakers gave a glimpse of how to encourage the next generation of foresters. Lacey Rose, a registered professional forester in the County of Renfrew in Ontario, Canada, said that young people need encouragement. She takes every chance that she can to go into schools and talk about the opportunities available in forestry. She highlighted the importance of having a mentor and she urged people to take the time to share their knowledge as not everything can be learned from a book.

    Jemima Letts, an ICF Student Member and a final year forestry undergraduate at the University of Bangor, admitted that her friends thought she was ‘mad’ looking to forestry as a career and a lack of awareness and understanding of forestry and the careers available means they are not promoted.

    Lisa Prior, Vice President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), told the conference about the importance of students taking learning beyond the classroom and also of networking on a global scale. Like Lacey, she believes in a strong relationship between young professionals starting out in their career and those with senior experience, with mentors being a key part of this. She praised the ICF for including so many young people in the conference in terms of chairing sessions and speaking.



  • International Urban Tree Expert to Chair Global Conference in Birmingham

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    Renowned expert on trees, green spaces and public health in urban environments, Professor Cecil Konijnendijk, is to chair one of the foremost international conferences on tree research and urban greenspace which comes to Birmingham in 2020.

    Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 (TPBE4), an international event which is held every three years, encompasses the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ annual national conference, organised in partnership with up to 20 academic institutions.

    Sharon Hosegood FICFor, ICF Vice President

    It is being held at the University of Birmingham from 22 to 23 April 2020 and is a unique platform for international researchers to reveal and showcase their very latest work relating to green infrastructure. Booking is now open.

    The conference is being held at a time when trees in cities and towns are regarded as having a vital role in helping nations to reduce their carbon footprint and also in improving health and well-being with research already indicating that just looking at a tree on the way to work can improve your mood.

    Sharon Hosegood, FICFor, Vice President of the ICF and Managing Director of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates, said: “Never before has there been a greater need to understand the multi-faceted benefits our urban trees provide. At a time of increasing pressures, coupled with an increasing public awakening, it is time to embrace new thinking, research, and to share best practice”.

    “Professor Cecil Konijnendijk will chair the Trees and the Built Environment Conference 4, not only to bring a global perspective and a wealth of experience, but, alongside international experts, to help us help our urban trees,” she added.

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Cecil Konijnendijk

    Professor Konijnendijk has helped to develop a popular undergraduate degree in urban forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, where he is Professor of Urban Forestry. He studies, teaches, and advises on the role of trees and green space in cities and towns.

    “Trees, People and the Built Environment has become one of the world’s leading events for those of us working with trees, forests, parks, and other vegetation in cities and towns. I am delighted to chair the fourth edition of this important conference”, said Professor Konijnendijk.

    His particular interests include green space governance, people-nature relationships and cultural ecosystem services, and the implementation of urban forestry and urban greening programmes. At UBC he also heads the Urban Forestry Research in Action (UFORIA) lab, a group of about 20 urban forestry scholars from four different continents.

    Professor Konijnendijk currently holds visiting professorships at three Chinese scholarly institutions. He is founding editor-in-chief of the journal ‘Urban Forestry and Urban Greening’ and editor of the Springer ‘Future City’ book series. He is a prolific writer, and has (co-)authored books such as ‘Urban Forests and Trees’, ‘The City and the Forest: The cultural landscape of urban woodland’ and the ‘Routledge Handbook of Urban Forestry’.

    Booking is now open for the conference. Details can be found at:


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    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
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  • Professionalism has Crucial Role in Managing and Protecting Trees Worldwide

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    The United Kingdom has a crucial role to play in the management and protection of trees worldwide, with professional foresters and arboriculturists taking the lead, the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) national conference heard today (Wednesday 10 April).

    Pests and diseases, along with increased stress on trees associated with extreme weather events linked to climate change, are causing what delegates were told amounts to ‘appalling damage’ and there is a need for collaboration between professional foresters around the globe.

    Speaking in a pre-recorded video message played to delegates at the conference in the Examination Rooms, Oxford, The Prince of Wales said that he has witnessed at first-hand the tragic and incalculable loss of larch and sweet chestnut trees to Phytophthora ramorum as well as ash dieback.

    In his message to the conference The Prince of Wales talked about how pests and diseases are assisted by the increased tree stress associated with extreme weather events linked to climate change and this is resulting in the loss of vital habitat and a reduction in the range of tree species that can provide the nation with much needed products such as timber, fencing and fuelwood.

    He talked about how important trees are, particularly in urban environments, as increasingly it is being shown that they can have an impact on our well-being. In his message, The Prince of Wales also said it is crucial that the Institute embraces a global perspective and its focus on developing the younger generation of professional foresters will play an essential role in the future.

    ICF Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor has been involved in developing an International Network of Professional Forestry Associations and the Institute as a whole works with foresters and arboriculturists across the UK to develop their professional knowledge in all areas of research and practice.

    She said: “In an age when professionalism is not always respected, it is important to acknowledge that we cannot sit back, assuming our standards are present on a global level. We need to take the lead and ensure that skills and experience matter.

    “At the conference many of the sessions over two days are being chaired by young professionals as the ICF wants to highlight the number of young people choosing forestry and arboriculture as a career and help them to feel part of a community. This will ensure a young and skilled workforce is available to help meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”

    Experts from around the world, including Australia, Belgium, Burkino Faso, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and Canada, are speaking at the conference, which is chaired by Geraint Richards MVO MICFor, the Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall, responsible for the management of the trees and woodlands across the Duchy’s extensive land-holding in England and Wales.

    Presenters and speakers at the conference will talk about the importance of forest science being a global collaboration, UK forestry’s place in action on climate change, why professionalism in forestry and arboriculture matters, how to inspire future foresters, and shaping a world where trees are appreciated in the countryside and in towns and cities.

    Berry Wiersum, Chief Executive Officer of Sappi Europe, will say that what is happening on the political front in Europe when it comes to forestry and how it is increasingly growing in importance as both the most cost-effective carbon sink known to man, as well as increasingly a source for alternatives to fossil-based products.

    Several speakers will touch on the importance of the UK as a whole increasing the number of trees being planted, in forests and in towns and cities, and how a new generation of planting could have a significant impact on reducing the nation’s global footprint.

    Robert Matthews of Forest Research UK, will highlight some of the key challenges ahead, particularly the demands being placed on forests by humans, explaining that getting the balance right between protection and production is vital at a time when forests are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of pressures and threats.


    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Report urges collaborative effort to better enable our forests to adapt to climate change and to store carbon

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    Experts during the break-out sessions

    Forest Research scientist Dr Gail Atkinson reports on collaborative work by researchers and forestry practitioners from across Europe to identify innovative ways to tackle climate change.

    Back in December 2017, I reported on the work of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) focus group working to identify ‘New Forest Practices and Tools for Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change’. Now via the Coordinating Expert, Marcus Lindner, the group has released its final report.

    The report draws together examples of good practice in forest climate change mitigation and adaptation from across Europe and proposes seven operational groups to progress these practices.  It goes on to suggest developing Operational Groups to bring innovation into practice:

    • Explore methods to boost the use of broadleaf species by increasing their potential in forest regeneration
    • Develop or gather resources and tools to foster local adaptation in forest management by enhancing awareness and peer to peer learning
    • Test methods to improve assisted regeneration or afforestation in drought-prone areas
    • Develop a user-friendly early warning system on local forest health issues which can assess the situation and raise the alarm when necessary
    • Explore ways to enhance landscape management by helping individuals to make decisions aligned with strategies to fight climate change
    • Develop collective and effective plans to mitigate climate change effects (drought, forest fires), promote actions for ecosystem resilience and/or increase awareness of all players
    • Analysis of mitigation options along specific value chains to improve carbon balance

    A visit to the FINSA factory

    The report goes on to list research needs common to all countries, these include:

    • Local/regional guidelines for the implementation of innovative silvicultural practices to adapt forests to expected future conditions

    It was felt to be critical to develop guidelines for the implementation of innovative silvicultural practices which support adaptation alongside a network of demonstration plots to show these silvicultural practices ‘in action’. These practices could be supported with decision support systems designed to operate at a local scale (i.e. stand or farm scale), coupled with a risk assessment tool to inform decisions about what to expect in the future regarding changing species, practices, and economics.

    • Improved understanding of how to make climate change adaptation incentives more effective and efficient

    Within this topic, there was interest in the role of economic incentives which can operate under differing social and political situations and which could enable forest owners to initiate changes in such a way to set up long-term commitments to adaptation.

    • The study of carbon dynamics related to fire regimes, land uses and management options

    Here the development of techniques and practices to manage fire risk in the forest needs to be underpinned by more effort to understand different aspects of carbon dynamics related to the fire regime as these are affected by forest species, land uses (e.g. monocultures, rewetting wetlands, reforestation and practices such as agroforestry), and management options (e.g. wildfires versus prescribed burning).

    • Research to evaluate how to encourage and enable knowledge exchange

    There was also recognition that work is needed to weigh up the approaches available to share knowledge about climate change adaptation across the European forestry sector.

    Further information about the work of the group can be found on the EIP-AGRI website



    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Trees and woods: a bridge between generations

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    “The people who win these Awards are passionate and united by a desire to sustain, maintain, expand and enjoy our forests and woodland. It is fantastic to celebrate their contribution.”

    So said Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, when presenting Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards – and never have truer words been spoken.

    At first sight, the winners of the Awards look like a disparate bunch – from people working for forest management businesses to committed community woodlands activists and from large estate owners to pupils and teachers in small schools.

    Yet it is a passion for trees and woodlands that binds them together, with the school’s award highlighting how important it is to stimulate that interest at an early age.

    As teacher Tom Rawson said after St Mary’s School won the 2018 Schools Award:

    “We are trying to promote a love of the natural environment so children value it and see it as a place to be enjoyed.

    “We have children aged 2-13 involved in outdoor education. The youngest children visit the local woodland regularly. Later, they all do John Muir Explorer Award.

    “We have built lots of bird boxes and we are building a bird hide from recycled wood, and we are also growing trees using a milk bottle nursery.”

    St Mary’s also used its prize money to plant a centenary avenue of trees and is growing oak trees in a project to honour the fallen of World War One.

    When Gavinburn Early Education and Learning Centre won the Schools Award in 2016, Deputy Head Jacqui O’Donnell explained how much it meant to the school:

    “We are in a deprived area of Scotland, on the outskirts of Clydebank, with real poverty issues. It’s not an area you would associate with forestry.”

    She continued: “We identified a wee space off the school driveway, cleared an area, put up fencing to make it safe and started to create our forest school. We planted willow, and three other kinds of tree, created areas for wildlife, put in bird feeders, made a minibeast area and a campfire space, put in a tyre swing and a teepee and one of the parents built stools from wood donated by a local business.

    “The kids love it – they like the campfire, climbing the trees, forest games and making things. These kids live in a fast-moving digital world and don’t experience nature as much. We need to recognise and address that. The forest school enables them to explore the natural world and connect with it. It’s a great environment for friendship building and good for mental health.”

    And it also helped the wider community: “It’s really brought the community together with parents and grandparents, shops and businesses all helping out. The prize money allowed us to extend into a new area and further involve the community, with some elderly people who are very isolated coming along.”

    The use of the prize money at both St Mary’s and Gavinburn to support and recognise the older generation is fascinating – and shows how engaging young people in trees and woodlands can bring others along in a shared, multi-generational enterprise. Why does this happen? Because people love trees – and when they get to know more about trees and woods, they love them even more.

    * Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards looks forward to your brilliant entries for 2019 – deadline is midnight as this Sunday (March 31st) becomes Monday. Full details here

  • Interview with Science Group Leader at Forest Research

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    Speaker Day 2: Delivering global environmental services from forests

    The Institute interviews Robert Matthews as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

    Robert Matthews

    Who is Robert Matthews?

    Robert Matthews is a Science Group Leader at Forest Research at the Alice Holt Research Station in Surrey, where he has worked for over 30 years.

    He is an authority on forest mensuration, growth and yield and an internationally recognized expert on forest carbon management and forest carbon accounting. He is the lead author of Forest Mensuration and Forest Yield, the UK national standard handbooks on forest measurement methods, and predicting forest growth and yield.

    Robert was co-author of one of the first scientific statements on the role of forests, forest management and timber utilisation in the carbon balance and developed the first analytical forest carbon accounting model, CARBINE, in 1988.

    He has contributed actively to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2012 and is lead author in the preparation of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and in the development of refined IPCC guidance on compiling greenhouse gas inventories.

    Tell us about your presentation

    My presentation aims to celebrate some of the key contributions made by people in the UK to taking action in the forest sector to limit climate change. I also hope to highlight how the UK has learned some critical lessons from people working on this issue in other countries. I’ll also highlight some key challenges for the future.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    It is nearly 30 years since the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. My presentation offers an opportunity to take stock of our attempts to take action on climate change in the forest sector, recognise what we have achieved and where we have been successful. But it’s never been more important and urgent to take strong action on climate change, so we also need to review what has not worked and where challenges remain.

    This is also the centenary year of the creation of the Forestry Commission, Britain’s national forest service until a few years ago, still active in England and a progenitor of its successor organisations in Wales and Scotland. As part of my presentation, it’s appropriate to acknowledge the Forestry Commission’s contribution over the years to a global understanding of the roles of trees and forests in taking action on climate change.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    I think the single biggest challenge facing global forests is the extent of the demands being placed on them by humankind, to fulfil a range of functions and services – the list is almost endless. Many of these requirements from forests are conflicting. This is particularly obvious when we look at climate change. On the one hand, we want our forests to be a reservoir of carbon and to carry on sequestering even more. On the other hand, we want to harvest the biomass from our forests to make renewable, energy-efficient wood products and for use as a source of energy. This is part of what is called developing a “bioeconomy”. But fulfilling the first of these roles of forests is frequently antagonistic to achieving the second, and vice versa. “Getting the balance right” is critical to ensuring the world’s forests are safe and productive, whilst supporting, rather than undermining, climate change goals. This is a non-trivial challenge and we can see similar big challenges when we consider the other functions and services humans expect forests to provide.

    Add to this the risks that forests face from a changing environment, as a result of human encroachment, the depletion of water and soil resources and not least climate change, and we can see that forests are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of pressures and threats.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    The UK’s role up until now in the debate on climate change and forestry is a good model for wider engagement in global forestry.

    • Climate change does not care about your ideology, your political persuasions or your personal interests. It does not care about your social background, where you live or what job you do. Equally, in the UK, people from all backgrounds and viewpoints have made significant positive contributions to action on climate change by:
      Being non-partisan and serving as an “honest broker” in international discussions
    • Ensuring that forestry policy and practice has “followed the evidence” (including what science can tell us)
    • Setting or agreeing to challenging goals and targets for action in the forest sector, but being prepared to listen to new ideas and accept new evidence, and change direction when necessary.

    Such a culture benefits a country with a relatively tiny forest area compared to global forests, and it has enabled the UK to ‘punch above its weight’ in shaping international action and policies. I’d like to see this culture continue and grow, and be actively championed and nurtured by leaders and opinion-formers in the UK.

    How did you get into forestry?

    One of my earliest childhood memories is of being on holiday with my family, and going for a walk in Thetford Forest, in East Anglia in England. At that time, the area consisted of young, fast-growing pine plantations, established by the Forestry Commission in the preceding decades. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I remember running down a path and feeling unusually free. Behind me, my family was walking and I recall hearing my mother loudly praising the work of the Forestry Commission, in creating these wonderful forests and allowing ordinary people to have access to them. That early memory was one of few to stick in my mind. Later, when I was a teenager, we lived very near a National Trust woodland and I used to go walking there. I gained an appreciation of more natural forest ecosystems, that complemented my earlier positive experience of the pine plantations in Thetford. I had become aware of environmental issues (‘acid rain’ was a big story at this time), and I used to walk in the woods and think to myself how wonderful it would be to become a scientist working on environmental issues related to forestry, and perhaps even to help shape policies covering forests and the wider environment, to help protect them. (I recall thinking, ‘But obviously, that will never happen’.) I went to university to study biophysics and later bioengineering, imagining that I might get a chance to work in medicine. I had no idea it was possible to study forestry. When my studies were complete, I saw a job advertisement for a junior scientist, to work at what was then the Research Division of the Forestry Commission (now Forest Research). Nearly 33 years later, I am still at Forest Research, much older but not necessarily wiser…



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  • Interview with Forest Enterprise Scotland

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    Angelika Końko

    The Institute interviews Angelika Końko as she prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

    Who is Angelika Końko?

    Angelika Końko works for Forest Enterprise Scotland, and is also a graduate of the 2050 Climate Group Young Leaders Development Programme, a world-leading initiative for young people to take action on climate change.

    Originally from Poland, she graduated with an MSc in Ecotourism from Edinburgh Napier University and has a BSc in Environmental Protection at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.

    Both of her final projects explored the ecosystem services approach in conservation and ecotourism development. She has been involved in developing ecotourism activities in Poland and Iceland.

    Angelika started her career in the Forestry Commission’s Graduate Development Programme in 2014, a two-year, training intense scheme for individuals with the potential to become future leaders. It was this opportunity that sparked her passion for the forestry sector. She will focus on the work of the 2050 Climate Group but also the Forestry Commission Graduate Development Programme.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    More and more millennials and post-millennials are motivated to seek meaningful, green jobs with organisations that have a positive impact on the world. Forestry, among other green industries, is a constituent element of the solution to the biggest single issue facing humanity – climate change. For the past three years, I have been involved in the work of the 2050 Climate Group. This youth-run charity (18 to 35 year-olds) empowers young people to take action on climate change via the Young Leaders Development Programme and other initiatives like Malawi’s Climate Leaders partnership project. The group fights for the young generation to have a place at the decisions table and for our voice to be heard in discussions about our future. Yet, youth participation in forestry matters seems pretty low.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    It’s the young people of today that will shoulder the responsibility of dealing with the effects of climate change for many years. It seems clear to me that promoting forestry’s role in mitigating Climate Change might be one of our sector’s strongest magnets in attracting young people. New talent, new ideas, new drive, and determination are all waiting to be harnessed – all we have to do is provide the opportunities for those young people to join us.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    Exploitation. The resource is renewable but it’s not limitless. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of sustainable forest management to ensure the availability of this resource for future generations. Ensuring the multipurpose character of forestry by management that continuously balances the various benefits people derive from forests (not solely prioritising against what’s only currently easily translatable into a monetary value) is key. Despite the recent FAO assessment (SOFO 2018) indicating positive change towards sustainable forest management, currently, only a small proportion of world’s forests is managed sustainably (504 million ha under PEFC/FSC certification; approx. 12% of world’s forests). To drive this positive change forward we need skilled leaders who ‘really get’ what sustainable development is about.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    The UK is second only to China in terms of net imports of timber and wood products and this trend is projected to go only upwards. Appropriately increasing woodland cover in UK (‘the right tree in the right place’) to minimise carbon emissions associated with imported timber and ensuring all imports come from certified forests should act as two drivers to promote sustainable forest management worldwide.

    What role would you like your country to play in global forestry?

    Having lived all my adult life in Scotland I have never worked in the forestry sector in my home country. However, I am very aware of the cultural difference towards forestry in Poland and the UK. Polish foresters and hunters have an incredible knowledge of the forest ecology and silviculture, passed on by generations.

    We, Poles, learn about forests from an early age, with trips to nurseries and national parks being an integral part of our curriculum. Establishing that deep connection with nature and forests is something others could learn from us!

    How did you get into forestry?

    Being a member of the last generation raised without mobile phones I always loved spending time outdoors. The wild camping trips with my parents, fishing and mushroom picking (favourite pastime of many Poles), definitely had something to do with that!

    The exact same day I submitted my BSc thesis on the crucial role played by the urban eco-parks in connecting people with nature (over 66% of the world’s population is predicted to live in urban areas by 2050), I was sitting on a Scotland-bound plane with an image far from the post-communist district of Kraków, where I lived as a student. The Future Job Fund, aimed at young people seeking early employment, provided me with an opportunity to assist the Scottish Wildlife Trust with practical nature conservation. I got my chainsaw certificate and managed access at nature reserves around Edinburgh. It was the Falls of Clyde Nature Reserve that got me thinking about an MSc in Ecotourism, which in turn led me to the Graduate Development Programme with the Forestry Commission, where I have worked in various roles for the past five years.


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  • National Tree Officers Conference 2019 – Call for Presentations Now Open

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    Building on the success of the last three conferences, the fourth National Tree Officer’s Conference is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

    This is a great opportunity for tree, woodland and planning officers to present to their peers on the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural and urban forestry work. To be eligible you must work in central or local government.

    The conference will be held on Wednesday the 6th November 2019, at the Concert Hall in Reading Town Hall, Berkshire, RG1 1QH. Conference bookings will open later in the year at:

    The period for submitting presentation outlines for the conference is now open and it will close on Monday 20 May 2019 at 17:00.

    Outlines must include the following information:

    • Name
    • Organisation
    • Email
    • Presentation topic
    • Presentation overview (500-word maximum)
    • Approximate presentation length (i.e. 20 minutes)

    Based on delegate feedback from last year’s conference, the following topics are suggested:

    • Planning
    • Enforcement and Felling licenses
    • Pest and Diseases
    • Collaboration – Private and Public
    • Species Selection
    • Climate Change
    • Innovation
    • Austerity budget
    • Legal discussions
    • Tree valuation
    • Subsidence

    Additional relevant topics will be considered, following review by the selection committee.

    Outlines will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising Andy Lederer, ICF; Matthew Seabrook, MTOA; Al Smith, LTOA; Jake Tibbetts, LTOA; Becky Porter, LTOA; Hester McQueen, ICF. Selection will be based on overall quality, appropriateness, focus and appeal to a local authority audience.

    We look forward to seeing you at the conference, and receiving a wide range of submissions.

    Outlines should be sent by email to: Becky Porter, London Tree Officers Association


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  • Interview with Professor Anna Lawrence MICFor

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    Anna Lawrence MICFor

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters interviews Professor Anna Lawrence MICFor, as she prepares to address the Institute’s flagship conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry this April in Oxford.

    Who is Professor Anna Lawrence MICFor

    Anna Lawrence is an independent consultant and part-time professor of social forestry at the University of the Highlands and Islands, researching community and urban forestry, and the culture and organisation of professional forestry.

    Anna is also a director of the Community Woodland Association, current Convenor of the independent Forest Policy Group, and a member of the independent CATS (Community Asset Transfer Scheme) panel for Forest Enterprise Scotland.

    She was co-ordinating lead author of the new UNECE study on forest ownership. Anna will be talking about the findings at the conference.

    She has been working for 30 years in social and community forestry, initially in international development mostly in South America and Asia. She led the human ecology research group at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute from 2001 to 2008, and was Head of Social and Economic Research at Forest Research, the research agency of the UK’s Forestry Commission from 2008 to 2015.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    I’m going to be presenting a new study on forest ownership. It provides the ‘bigger picture’ view of ownership, based on data from about 35 countries, managed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It’s the first time that we have such comprehensive data on forest ownership across Europe and North America. For example, the study includes both private and public forest owners, and distinguishes between national (state) ownership and local government ownership. It tells us who the owners are, but it goes further than that and shows how forest ownership is changing, and why; and how governance and social structures affect forest owners and management. I have been coordinating a team of about fifteen lead authors; I will try to give you a flavour of their insights!

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    It’s essential to know more about forest ownership. Forest owners are the interface between society and policy, and the goods and services provided by the forest. Some countries regulate forests more than others, but ultimately the owners, their decisions and activities affect the kinds of forests that we live with. I think it is fascinating to see the comparisons across countries, and particularly to see how ownership is changing. These patterns and trends affect all of us working with forestry.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    That’s a huge question. So first, adapting. Not just to climate change, but to societal and political change as well. Then, being resilient and also fair. I do have a great concern about the increasing polarisation of forestry when the gap between commercial and nature-friendly, or people-friendly, forestry seems to be getting wider. So perhaps I could say that the biggest challenge is to keep learning from each other; working out how productive forests can be diverse forests owned by a wide range of people, and how community forests can, in turn, be productive forests.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    I’d like to see the UK doing more forestry, with a wider range of owners, and addressing that deep split in management objectives and benefits, that I mentioned.

    On the other hand, there is a lot of innovation in forestry in the UK, and in the devolved nations: community engagement, support for small businesses, harvesting machinery for small-scale woodlands, woodland social enterprises, forestry helping in landscape regeneration. We have a lot to share internationally, based on these new experiences, because we have a relatively dynamic forestry culture, which is constantly adjusting to changing context, with a high level of public interest in our relationship with trees and forests.

    How did you get into forestry?

    After doing a masters in forestry (where this conference is being held!) I got a job in Bolivia working on a UK aid project, using agroforestry and timber species in innovative planting schemes with farming communities who were colonising the Amazon basin. I continued working in international development for another 20 years and it quickly became clear to me that the social component of forestry is just as important as the technical, and that participatory research provides important answers. It’s nice to see that focus emerging in the UK as well, if we can just get past that polarisation thing…


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  • Women in Forestry Encouraged to Show and Tell

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    A campaign is being launched to encourage women who work in forestry, which includes management and conservation, as well as science, research and arboriculture, to tell the world what they do and encourage others to take it up as a career.

    Shireen Chambers FICFor

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), the professional body for foresters and arboriculturists in the UK, is following up its successful #ILookLikeAForester social media drive from 2018 to tie in with International Women’s Day, which this year is Friday 08 March.

    For 2019 women from around the world are being encouraged to take part using #ILookLikeAForester and @TheICF, as well as #BalanceforBetter, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. They are being asked to post photos on Twitter of themselves at work with the aim of showing that forestry and arboriculture are for everyone.

    Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF’s Executive Director, said: “Women have played an important role in managing trees and forests for decades and we want to celebrate their role and their professionalism. We also want to encourage everyone to see forestry as a career as trees have such an important role in our lives today from the products we use to helping to combat climate change.

    “Modern forestry is a high tech sector and is so much more than traditional woodland management.  Science is vital now to help us understand how we can look after forests and there is a stronger focus on urban woods and trees in cities. We want more people participating in this dynamic and growing sector and we want them to talk about it, to show everyone what they do and what can be achieved.”

    Women intending to take part in this year’s #ILookLikeAForster campaign say that there is a wide range of opportunities. Amelia Williams MICFor, an Arboricultural Officer with Test Valley Borough Council in Andover, and an ICF Professional Member, thinks it is important that those interested in a career in the sector should realise that many of the skills needed are transferable from other industries.

    AmeliaWilliams MICFor

    “Arboriculture chose me. I am more of an outdoors person and when working for the council I was signposted towards the tree officer role. It is great fun and I can share my passion for trees,” she explained.

    “We should encourage everyone who wants to join and help pinpoint the opportunities. I’ve not experienced any barriers in my career. It’s about who you meet and who you know, involving yourself in organisations like the ICF helps. Networking is a very powerful and important skill and the ICF helps you to build a network of very knowledgeable and experienced professionals who can support you in your career,” Amelia said.

    Sasha Laing MICFor, Regulations and Development Manager at Forestry Commission Scotland, based in Edinburgh, has turned her hobby into her career. She wants to encourage more people from a wide variety of backgrounds to take up forestry as a career and believes that professionalism and being a member of the ICF can help.

    “I love the variety and flexibility as no two days are ever the same. I work outdoors and inside, for the public, private and third sectors and in both technical and non-technical fields,” she said.

    “One day I could be presenting to a community group interested in owning or managing their local woodland, the next working with stakeholders or looking at Local Development Planning. I have been incredibly fortunate to build a career around a hobby,” she added.



    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Help the Institute create new Higher Level Apprenticeships in England

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    The arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and landscape apprenticeship partnership is developing a proposal for further apprenticeships in our industries. A survey has been undertaken to identify the need for more advanced roles than the four already developed for operatives and supervisors. The Institute has already hosted two meetings with the industry and draft occupational duties are being developed. For more details about these see:

    This work has highlighted that the picture is complex with three industries involved and private, charitable, public sector employers. Therefore an analysis of job roles is underway.

    The roles being investigated are all management roles at different levels of seniority. If you employ any of these roles – or something fairly equivalent – and feel they are suitable for an apprenticeship, we would be very grateful if you could send in your job descriptions for analysis alongside how many apprentices you might take on for each role.  The deadline is 5 April 2019.

    • Arboriculture / woodland technician including tree officer, woodland officer, assistant tree officer, junior arboriculture consultant, assistant site manager, arboriculturalist
    • Arboriculture / forest / woodland manager including tree officer, woodland officer, forester, district forester, forestry works manager, technical forest manager, senior arboriculture consultant, senior arboricultural officer, arboricultural contracts manager, arboricultural area manager, forestry area manager.
    • Horticulture manager, including job titles such as head gardener, garden manager, consultant, site manager, horticultural project manager, technical manager, and technical support manager.

    Your help is much appreciated with this, please send your job descriptions to

  • Full Programme for Institute of Chartered Foresters National Conference Announced

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    Thérèse Coffey MP

    Full details of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) national conference programme are now live.

    With a global theme this year looking at the UK’s role in forestry worldwide, the highlights include speakers from Australia, the United States, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.

    These leading world experts will be covering topics such as the UK’s contribution to forestry on the world stage, conserving tropical forests, why professional foresters matter, the importance of biodiversity and ways to inspire the next generation of young professionals.

    There will also be panel question sessions and discussions and a video address from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, as well as a Ministerial Address by Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

    Speakers include: Georges Bazongo, West Africa Director, TREE AID, Burkina Faso; Alexander Buck, Executive Director, IUFRO, Austria; Rachel Butler, Executive Director, Global Timber Forum, UK; Rob de Fégley, President, Institute of Foresters, Australia; Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor & President of James Cook University, Australia; Steve Jennings, Partner, 3Keel, UK; Tony Juniper, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, WWF, and author of “What nature does for Britain” and “Rainforests: dispatches from Earth’s most vital frontlines”, UK; Professor Anna Lawrence MICFor, Forestry and Arboriculture Research Consultant, UK; Robert Matthews, Forest Research, UK; Duncan Pollard MICFor, Head of Sustainability, Nestlé, Switzerland; Lacey Rose RPF, Forester and Co-Founder of Women in Wood, Canada; Luis Nevis Silva, New Generations Plantations Project Leader, WWF, Portugal; Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow at World Resources Institute; Co-author of “Why Forests, Why Now”, USA; Berry Wiersum, CEO, Sappi Europe.

    The ICF national conference, the UK’s Role in Global Forestry, takes place at Examination Schools, 75-81 High Street, Oxford, on 10 and 11 April. For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFGlobalForestry


    Media Enquiries

    Ray Hewett
    Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425


  • Interview with Vice-President of the International Forestry Students’ Association

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    Lisa Prior

    Speaker day 2: Inspiring the next generation

    The Institute interviews Lisa Prior, Vice-President of the International Forestry Students’ Association, as she prepares to address the Institute’s national conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry this April in Oxford.

    Who is Lisa Prior?

    As Vice-President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) Lisa Prior advocates for meaningful youth involvement in forest science and forest policy processes. She studied forest science (MSc) at the University of Göttingen and International Forest Ecosystem Management (BSc) at the University of Sustainable Development Eberswalde. In-between studies Lisa worked with Scottish Natural Heritage at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and completed a Higher National Certificate in Gamekeeping with Wildlife Management at the Thurso Campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands. Currently, Lisa is a junior researcher in the Resilience Programme of the European Forest Institute (EFI), where she is working in the EFI-IFSA-IUFRO capacity building project on global student networking and green jobs in the forest sector.

    Tell us about your presentation

    The International Forestry Students Association (IFSA) shows how connecting students of forestry and related science around the globe can be an avenue for meaningful youth participation in international fora as well as promote appreciation of forests locally.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Young students of forestry are the future foresters. For them to be well educated, connected and motivated should be in everyone’s interest. Especially when considering the ongoing debates about intergenerational equity in environmental matters.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    With the knowledge about forests importance for climate change mitigation, biodiversity and as a renewable resource for the bioeconomy spreading, the demands on forests rise. I think the key challenge is to keep the balance between these different and often conflicting demands!

    How did you get into forestry?

    I first fell in love with nature and particularly forests, when visiting the giant Kauri trees during a gap year in New Zealand. After my return home, the unique way forests can contribute to nature conservation, biodiversity and human wellbeing while still creating economic value, prompted me to pursue a degree in forestry.


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • Power giant Drax and Tilhill Forestry confirmed as Headline Sponsors

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    Drax Group and Tilhill Forestry are confirmed as the headline sponsors for the UK’s must-attend forestry conference this April in Oxford. The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is also pleased to announce that its Twitter Wall sponsor, Sorbus International, and conference brochure sponsor, Forest Research, have confirmed their support for another year.

    This flagship event for UK professional foresters has secured world experts who will be covering topics such as opportunities and constraints in global forestry and sustainable development goals; how to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits from the world’s forests, asking if professional foresters matter, and how to inspire the next generation.

    Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, said:

    “Using sustainably sourced forest biomass has enabled Drax to become the UK’s largest generator of renewable power, all the while contributing to the vitality, growth and biodiversity of the forests we source from.

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that forests have are essential to the future of our planet. It is up to all of us with a stake in global forestry to help deliver clean growth, to meet climate and social objectives.

    “At Drax, we are committed to doing more to develop the forestry sector, both where we source biomass from and in the UK. I am delighted to sponsor the ICF annual conference, to engage with forestry experts and discover ways in which we can play a greater role promoting forests, which are so vital globally.”

    Peter Whitfield FICFor, Business Development Director at Tilhill Forestry said:

    “Tilhill Forestry is truly thrilled to be a main sponsor of the Institute of Chartered Foresters conference focussing on The UK’s Role in Global Forestry. I believe that UK forestry has come of age and the outstanding range of speakers will provide an excellent variety of insights and context for where UK forestry is in global terms for both today and the scope of our potential development in the future. I have no doubt that this will be the must-attend forestry event of the year.”

    For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFGlobalForestry


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing Manager
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425


  • Interview with New Generation Plantations Platform, Lead at WWF

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    Luis Neves Silva

    The Institute interviews Luis Neves Silva – New Generation Plantations Platform, Lead at WWF – as he prepares to address the Institute’s national conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry this April in Oxford.

    Who is Luis Neves Silva?

    Luis graduated as a Forest Engineer at UTL-ISA in Lisbon. He is the lead for WWF’s New Generation Plantations platform.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    I will explain the New Generation Plantations (NGP) platform where I have more than 10 years of experience on establishing plantations that follow NGP principles can absorb globally significant quantities of carbon dioxide, while helping to conserve forests, restore degraded landscapes and bring socio-economic benefits.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    The UK is one of the largest net importers of timber, with a modest in-house forest area. The UK should significantly increase its forest area to reduce its global footprint. There is a high potential to establish a new generation of plantations in the UK which would reduce its global footprint, and simultaneously deliver climate, environmental and socio-economic benefits. But for this to happen, it requires more than a narrative on the benefits. It requires a societal transformation towards a cultural change, hence why NGP is relevant.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    Urban society rejection of forestry.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    The UK Forestry Commission is one of the founders of the New Generation Plantations platform. The UK should keep an active role at high level on the forest policy, advocating and support sustainable forestry initiatives, such as it did with NGP during the last 10 years.

    How did you get into forestry?

    I always loved nature and my dream was to live my life within forestry while contributing to better peoples lives. It was at university that I came across forestry, and by that time I knew I had found my passion.


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • Interview with Founder and Director of Tree Sparks

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    Jemima Letts

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters interviews Jemima Letts, Founder and Director of Tree Sparks, as she prepares to address the Institute’s flagship conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry this April in Oxford.

    Who is Jemima Letts?

    Jemima is an undergraduate forestry student in her final year at Bangor University. She previously worked as an outdoor activity instructor and a qualified volunteer ranger for the Peak District National Park Authority. She is currently a publications officer for the International Forestry Students Association and campaign & fundraising coordinator on the Students for Trees Council.

    In 2018, Jemima won the Social Impact and Future Entrepreneur Awards at Big Ideas Celebrated. Following this success, she decided to start Tree Sparks to inspire the next generation of foresters.

    Tell us about your presentation

    My presentation will draw upon my journey into forestry from school to university, the barriers I faced and how this led to myself founding Tree Sparks. I will set out my vision for youth in forestry and how Tree Sparks aims to achieve this, demonstrating why students and young professionals should be a driving force behind this.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    The stereotype of male checked shirt wearing foresters still exists to a certain extent and this needs to change if we are to encourage the next generation into forestry. We, as a profession, need to work to change the perceptions surrounding forestry, get people talking about forestry, and demonstrate that careers in forestry are viable and hugely rewarding.

    What is the biggest challenge facing global forestry?

    There are many challenges facing the environment. Climate change is progressing, ecosystems are becoming degraded and at the same time the global population is growing, putting more pressure on our natural resources. I think forestry is a big part of the solution, but if we are going to effectively combat these challenges, we need a strong future workforce to enter into the forestry profession.

    What would you like to see the UK do?

    I want to see the UK continuing to tackle climate change and also challenge the negative perceptions which can sometimes surround forestry.

    How did you get into forestry?

    I stumbled across forestry when I was looking into studying countryside management at university. After persuading my parents to drive me the 250 miles to Bangor University for an open day, I was sold – who wouldn’t want to spend four years studying trees in Wales?! However, the lumberjack stereotype still existed – my teachers just saw forestry as a manual labour job, my parents feared that, as a woman, I wouldn’t be right for the subject and my friends thought I had totally lost the plot. I’m now in my final year of studying BSc Forestry at Bangor University, finding it difficult to decide which area of forestry I want to work in!


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • ICF unlocking the potential of future foresters

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    Lisa Prior

    Lisa Prior, Vice President of the International Forestry Students’ Association, has been confirmed for the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ (ICF) national conference in Oxford this April. Lisa will talk about how we get the next generation to connect to the outdoors in a technology world, and how to involve them in their environment, no matter the weather! Lisa further strengthens Session 6 – ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’ on day 2. Her presentation will focus on shaping a world that appreciates forests.

    With forestry a huge asset in helping global issues, are we ensuring that the next generation will continue the good work we have started? The UK’s flagship forestry conference will hear from some inspiring young foresters about their career journey so far and thoughts on the future including Lacey Rose RPF, Co-Founder of Women in Wood and Forester at Country of Renfrew in Canada; Angelika Końko, 2050 Climate Group; and Jemima Letts, Bangor University and Founder of Tree Sparks.

    The programme will be exploring opportunities and constraints in global forestry and sustainable developments goals; delivering economic, social and environmental benefits from the world’s forests; the role of professional foresters; and how we inspire the next generation.

    ICF is delighted to announce that the Department of International Development (DID) and Joint Nature Conservancy Council (JNCC) have agreed to present at the ICF’s flagship conference. Julia Falconer, Senior Forestry Advisor at DID, joins the first session on day 1 – ‘Setting the Scene with Global Perspectives’ looking at the UK’s contribution on the world stage. Expert environmentalist and JNCC chair Professor Colin Galbraith heightens session 4 – ‘Delivering global environmental services from forests’ on day 2. Colin will be exploring the millennium ecosystem assessment with a focus on the importance of the world’s forest biodiversity.

    The UK’s Role in Global Forestry will be opened by Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment (DEFRA), UK. Followed by a video from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

    For further information and booking visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFGlobalForestry


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing Manager
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • ICF’s interview with JNCC’s Vice-Chairman

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    Professor Colin Galbraith

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters interviews Professor Colin Galbraith, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Director of his own environmental consultancy, as he prepares to address the UK’s flagship forestry conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry this April in Oxford.

    Who is Professor Colin Galbraith?

    Colin has been involved in international conservation for over 25 years and has made contributions through the UN Convention on Migratory Species, an inter-governmental Convention with 127 member countries; and as a Board member of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – an assessment of the world’s ecosystems, funded by the United Nations and the World Bank. He has recently been involved in reviewing the impact of global climate change on the ecology of threatened species and habitats for the Convention and Vice-Chairman of the Convention’s Scientific Council.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    The presentation will outline the outputs from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and consider the implications for forests at the global level. It will consider also the key issues affecting forests around the world, focussing on the impacts of climate change; it will review the role that forests could play in mitigation the effects of climate change and consider the need for sustainable use of the global forest resource.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    Setting the scene at the global level is hopefully a key part of the event. The presentation will pose a number of questions and highlight challenges that should help generate discussion and debate.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    Climate change and the need to ensure the sustainable use of the resource.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry? 

    The UK has a key role to play in acting as a focal point for discussion, debate and leadership in terms of providing a new vision for what forestry can be at the global level, and by showing examples of good practice.

    One example of what could be done on the ground- The development of “old growth” forests over time across the UK could make a real contribution to nature conservation and provide a role model for others. This has also a potential role in smoothing out peaks and troughs in supply and could be a win-win for industry and for nature conservation.

    What would you like to see the UK do?

    It is really important that there are international (i.e. multi-country) initiatives to enhance the forest cover in many areas. Country by country initiatives are fine, but thinking at a larger scale is important too.

    How did you get into forestry?

    Grew up in the Highlands of Scotland where forests were, and are, a key part of the landscape and a key part of the wider ecosystem.


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • Read our interview with Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University

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    Professor Sandra Harding

    Speaker Day 1: Setting the Scene with Global Perspectives

    The Institute interviews Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President at James Cook University, as she prepares for our flagship conference, The UK’s Role in Global Foresty, this April.

    Sandra took up her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in January 2007. In the role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Townsville, Cairns, and Singapore.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    This presentation explores the rapid growth and development across the world’s Tropics, and its implications for approaches to sustainable forestry, the environment, and human health and prosperity. These implications extend well beyond the Tropical zone and must engage the rest of the world in pursuit of a sustainable and prosperous future worldwide.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    I trust the presentation will introduce delegates to some important data, gathered as part of the State of the Tropics project (, and encourage both thought and action on the critical issues raised.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    As I am not a Forester, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the industry more broadly. That said, as an educator, I am concerned that the profession itself appears to be in demise in some places, Australia in particular, where education and training programs aimed at developing professional foresters have witnessed a decline in student interest and, as a corollary, a decline in capacity to support dedicated forestry programs.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    As I see it, the UK, like other developed nations, has a responsibility to bring to bear the best of our knowledge and professional insight to the issues worldwide.

    What role would you like your country to play in global forestry?

    As per the UK – not only to revitalise education and training in forestry, but also to play our role in addressing critical issues around the world.

    How did you get into forestry?

    I’m not a forester, but did take some electives in forestry as part of my undergraduate science degree at the Australian National University. More powerfully, my connection to the profession is through my husband, Dr Kevin Harding, himself a forester.



    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • A very special year for the ‘Tree Oscars’

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    2019 is a very special year for trees – an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the Forestry Act which created the modern industry.

    Contrary to some mischievous suggestions, none of the older and more experienced foresters still working in the industry can remember the introduction of the Act – but they have all benefited from its foresight.

    From a position where the countryside had been denuded of tree cover by the rapacious demands of war and industry and had barely five percent of tree cover, the Act created the Forestry Commission and began the long process of returning trees to the landscape – to create a strategic timber reserve, in case another future war demanded that as an essential need.

    To mark the centenary, Forestry Commission Scotland is developing a series of events for later in the year (the centenary falls in September) and has agreed to sponsor a prize as part of the 2019 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards programme – popularly known as the ‘Tree Oscars’.

    The one-off 1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award seeks to honour some of the very finest woods in Scotland.

    Any woodland created during the last century can enter, but it is likely to be fairly well-established as entrants must demonstrate “clearly and directly” how they have adapted/changed the management over time to ensure resilience both in the past and for the future.

    The centenary prize is part of the largest-ever Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards programme – with all the favourite categories returning alongside a second Farm Woodland Award (FWA). The FWA was a real success in its first year, with a superb winner in the Scottish Borders run close by an excellent Highly Commended entry from Aberdeenshire. There was also a Commended prize awarded in the category, showing the strength of entries in year one.

    With ever-more focus on mixed land use and diversification of farms, Scottish Woodlands Ltd stepped in to sponsor a special award for farmers or crofters (and/or their foresters) aged 40 or under. SAC Consulting is sponsoring the original Farm Woodland Award which is open to all, alongside popular returning categories for Schools, Community Woodlands, New Native Woods and Quality Timber.

    It’s an exciting year for the Awards, which are supported by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and many other sector partners, with more prizes than ever to be packed in to the presentation ceremony at the Royal Highland Show in June – and probably more people than ever packed into the tent on what is always a brilliant occasion.

    The Awards programme can’t quite trace its roots back 100 years, but one of the prizes – the Hunter Blair Trophy for Silvicultural Excellence – was first awarded in 1964, with the Royal Scottish Forestry Society administering the competition until 1986.

    A few veterans of the industry were active back in 1964 – but if you bump into an old forester who does remember the introduction of the Act in 1919, please let us know. He or she would certainly qualify for an award all of their own.

    * Full details of the 2019 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards programme can be found here – entries must be submitted by 31st March. All winners receive £1000 and a specially-designed trophy.

  • Interview with CEO at Sappi

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    Berry Wiersum, CEO at Sappi

    Speaker Day 1: Global Trade in Wood Products

    The Institute interviews Berry Wiersum, CEO at Sappi Europe, as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    I come from the pulp and paper industry and our main raw material is wood, which we source from forests all over Europe. During conversations I had with Geraint Richards MVO MICFor [ICF’s 2019 Conference Chair], he suggested that it might interest conference attendees to hear about what the future of the forestry industry might hold for foresters. So, my talk will be about what is happening on the political front in Europe when it comes to forestry and particularly how it is increasingly growing in importance as both the most cost efficient carbon sink known to man, as well as increasingly a source for alternative materials to fossil-based products. I will touch on how species are likely to change as climate changes; bio-refineries, certification, blockchain technology, barrier technology in paper packaging, bio-composites and energy from wood. I will also briefly discuss future technology and how that is based on plant technology. The forestry profession are going to have a terrific future and interest in it is growing rapidly.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    In terms of challenges, the UK has a relatively low percentage of its surface area dedicated to forestry and, given the opportunity in the future a major challenge will be how to increase that surface area at a quality level which allows for industrial development. In terms of carbon sinks, managed forestry is probably the most efficient and so there is a double win in developing them. This needs a supportive regulatory framework and aligned interests, which may perhaps be the biggest challenge.

    What role should the UK play in global forestry?

    I don’t really have a view on what role UK forestry should play in global forestry, aside from the benefits of greater exchange of data. From an industry perspective we do not necessarily look at the role of individual countries, but more at the available species in regions, how they are changing and how surface area, density, quality and harvesting efficiency can be improved.

    How did you get into forestry?

    I am not a forester, but have been in the pulp and paper industry for 19 years and have a 40-year industrial experience.


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • Interview with Executive Director at the Global Timber Forum

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    Rachel Butler

    Speaker Day 1: Delivering economic benefits from the world’s forests

    The Institute interviews Rachel Butler as she prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    Wait and see!

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    We are advocating a different approach to engage the forest and timber trade in responsible trade for them to be seen as part of the solution and not the problem.

    What is the biggest challenge(s) facing global forestry?

    Negative perceptions of the industry and competing land uses.

    What would you like to see the UK do?

    Continue to be a leader in climate change and as part of that tackling deforestation and degradation. That is now diminishing due to Brexit.

    How did you get into forestry?

    By accident! Whilst working for local government I was responsible for developing high profile sustainability projects and securing the funding. I successfully approached the managing director of a local company that happened to be part of a major Finnish wood products company. He asked me to put in my CV – so I did. I was warned that you can never leave this sector as you get hooked and cannot escape… Although not a well-known fact, my family are in the timber industry. My grandfather started and ran his own UK timber business, my uncle and now his son, my cousin continues to operate and before her retirement my mother was very much involved. My grandad once asked me if I would join the family business. My response, as the precocious teenager as I was at that time makes me smile to this day, ‘I don’t think so, I want a proper job’.


    For further information and to book

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  • Interview with Co-Founder of Women In Wood, Lacey Rose RPF

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    Lacey Rose RPF

    Speaker Day 2: Inspiring the Next Generation

    The Institute interviews Lacey Rose RPF as she prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: The UK’s Role in Global Forestry.

    Tell us about your presentation?

    My presentation, through telling the story of my career path so far, will highlight the important role that mentors, colleagues – and our own selves – play in advancing the next generation of our sector. I’ll also talk about Women in Wood and the results the group has seen since building a community in 2015.

    Why is your presentation important for our conference?

    The demographics of the forest industry in Canada and elsewhere are startling. We’re already seeing a major shortage of qualified workers as baby boomers retire. If the forest is to be left in capable hands, actions must be taken by those currently working to ensure people know that forestry is an option, and that those interested are given the help they need to succeed. Every person has the ability to make an impact on these issues.

    What role would you like your country to play in global forestry?

    I feel that generally, forest practitioners are so busy with their day to day, that we tend to operate in silos, unaware of what’s happening in other countries. I have often wondered, while trying to solve a seemingly impossible problem, such as “how can we save beech trees from beech bark disease?” – can we find a way to more effectively share our experiences across borders?

    How did you get into forestry?

    I grew up in very Northern Canada, where there was no forest sector. Although I grew up literally in the woods, I knew nothing about the managing of forests. If it wasn’t for a very kind biology professor who asked “have you considered going to school for forestry?”, I wouldn’t be here today.


    For further information and to book

    Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry

  • ICF sees record number of chartered promotions

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    Steve McCartney FICFor

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to announce another record number of applicants promoted to Professional Member status. Following a bumper year of applicants presenting for Professional Membership Entry (PME) and Assessed Professional Competence (APC), we welcome and congratulate 52 new Professional Members.

    Steve McCartney FICFor, Chair of ICF’s Examinations Board, said:

    “On behalf of the Examinations Board and Council, I’m delighted to congratulate the 52 newly-Chartered Members on their success. Not only is this the highest-ever number of promotions, it is also a result of the assessors processing a record number of submissions – 64 in total – that is a reflection of the high esteem in which chartered status is held throughout the industry. I look forward to an even greater number of applications next year that could see this exponential growth continue.”

    Andrew Fisher MICFor, Tilhill Forestry, and Amelia Williams MICFor, Test Valley Borough Council, showed an exceptional wealth of knowledge and passed with Distinction. They will be presented with an Award of Excellence at the Institute’s forthcoming flagship National Conference dinner, which will take place on 10 April 2019, in Oxford.

    Tom Jenkins FICFor, Moderator of ICF’s Examinations Board, congratulated the successful applicants on their success:

    “This year saw record numbers of Associate members applying for Professional membership.  What was particularly pleasing to see was the diversity of applicants, not least the increased proportion of aspiring female professionals.  From my involvement in this year’s assessment process, it was evident that the vast majority of applicants have an unambiguous commitment to increased professionalism.  As a result, from January 1st next year there will be many more inspirational and talented early-career chartered forestry and arboricultural professionals across the UK, and I am confident that the future of our Institute (and our sector) is very bright.”

    All new Professional Members of the Institute will now be permitted to use the title Chartered Forester or Chartered Arboriculturist, and the letters MICFor after their names.

    – ENDS-

    Media Enquiries:

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing Manager
    Tel: +44 (0)131 240 1425


  • Biggest-Ever Celebration of Scotland’s Finest Woods

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    Photo credit: Julie Bee

    A prize to celebrate 100 years since the 1919 Forestry Act is the highlight of the annual competition to find Scotland’s best and most inspiring woods.

    Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2019 will present the one-off 1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award in a year offering more prizes than ever before – including a second for Farm Woodland, building on the successful introduction of the Award last year.

    Angela Douglas FICFor, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, said:

    “We are delighted to have two new awards for 2019, including the one-off centenary prize – to celebrate woodland created during the past 100 years that has evolved through careful and skilled management, has resilience to face the future and justifies the title of one of Scotland’s finest woods.

    “We are very pleased to build on the successful introduction of the Farm Woodland Award, which attracted a very high standard of entries in 2018.”

    SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), has agreed to sponsor the Farm Woodland Award for three years, while Scottish Woodlands Ltd is supporting a second Farm Woodland Award for farmers or crofters and/or their forest or woodland managers aged 40 or under – also for three years.

    Angela Douglas FICFor added:

    “We are so grateful to SAC Consulting and Scottish Woodlands and also to the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland for their generous support.”

    Last year’s inaugural Farm Woodland Award was won by Peter Gascoigne, who farms at Broughton in Peeblesshire. He said creating a woodland shelter belt on his farm had led to heavier and healthier lambs.

    The ever-popular Crown Estate Schools’ Trophy is back, won last year by St Mary’s School in Melrose, which has just planted a Centenary Avenue of trees to mark the First World War with part of its prize money.

    Other returning categories are: Community Woodlands (two competitions: small and large community woodland groups); New Native Woods; and Quality Timber (three competitions: new commercial wood; multi-purpose forest or whole estate; and a single stand/compartment or small wood)

    Jo O’Hara MICFor, Head of Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

    “We are strong supporters of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards and very excited to be donating a special award to mark the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act that will identify a truly outstanding woodland.”

    The winner of the centenary award will win £1,000 and specially commissioned trophy. All winners receive £1000 and there is a different trophy for each category.

    Malcolm Young MICFor, Senior Forestry Consultant at SAC Consulting, said:

    “The 2018 competition showed real quality in Farm Woodland and it’s clear there are a lot of other great examples out there – and we look forward to finding out about them and rewarding them in 2019.”

    Ralland Browne FICFor, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands, said:

    “We are starting to see barriers between different land uses breaking down – and an understanding that farming and forestry can work very well together. Scottish Woodlands wants to recognise the younger generation who are embracing this and creating high-quality woodland on farms.”

    Angela Douglas FICFor added:

    “We have some exceptional forests and woods in Scotland and our annual programme sets out to find them and recognise their excellence – from helping school children discover the wonder of woods to rewarding dedicated community groups who persevere, often in the face of adversity, to improve their woodland, to honouring highly experienced forest managers.

    “The Awards aim to shine a light on our woodland stars from all over Scotland – and give them the recognition they deserve.”

    The 2018 winners were spread from Kirkcudbright in the south-west to Braemar in the north-east and Broughton and Melrose in the south-east to Argyll in the North-West.

    This year’s cream of the crop will be honoured at the annual Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards ceremony at the Royal Highland Show on Friday June 21st 2019.

    Entries must be submitted by 31st March 2019. For the full list of awards, criteria and entry forms, go to

  • Arboriculturists Biking for Biosecurity

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    Starting from Stonehouse, on the edge of the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire, at around 2.30am on a cold, and likely wet and windy morning on Thursday 6 December, four members will be riding to the Houses of Parliament to deliver the biosecurity message in person at the official release of the Arboricultural Association (AA) Guidance Note: Application of Biosecurity in Arboriculture.

    AA members Simon Cox, the co-author of the new guidance; Russell Ball, tree research fundraiser at Fund4Trees; Karl Stuckey, director of Nature First; and Peter Wharton MICFor (Chartered Arboriculturist) of Wharton Natural Infrastructure Consultants, kindly representing both the AA and the Institute of Chartered Foresters are riding over 100 miles in one morning, to deliver a unified industry message in support of the document and to encourage further consideration by industry stakeholders and government of the health and well-being of our valuable tree stock.

    Leaving in the middle of the night they will ride over 112 miles, crossing two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before braving the streets of London, all against the elements and the clock.

    On arrival the intrepid arboriculturists will be greeted by parliamentarians and lords from both houses as well as representatives from DEFRA, The Woodland Trust and other cross-sector partners, gathering to learn more about significance of the Application of Biosecurity in Arboriculture and how they can support the industry going forward.

    Biosecurity is a pivotal issue and has rightfully gained national awareness ever since the outbreak of Chalara (Ash Dieback) in 2012. The free guidance has been produced to enable the profession to be prepared to deal with current and potential threats to the tree stock of the UK and Ireland. Just one example of the many threats on the horizon is Asian Longhorn Beetle, which could impact on some 3.8 million trees, 31% of the whole tree population. Replacing these trees and their benefits would cost £23 billion.

    If this inspires you and you’d like to contribute to the industry, get in contact with the Arboricultural Association or the Institute of Chartered Foresters. Alternatively, you can make a donation to the important work of the Fund4Trees charity and post your messages of support on social media using the hashtag #treesbiosecurity.

  • Jocelyn McLaren visits Japan

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    Jocelyn McLaren, a student at University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), visited Japan. Jocelyn reports on her visit.

    Forestry students from all over the world, Jonathan Hawick (ICF Student member) and Jocelyn McLaren (UHI), Washington Olegário Vieira (Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, Brazil), Manuel Angel Pérez-Andrade (Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Mexico).

    Same problem, different answer

    It is amazing that across the world, we have such similar issues in terms of environmental sustainable development. While our issues may be similar, each country seemed to have a different solution. I recently returned from the 18th International Student Summit on Food, Agriculture and Environment in the New Century in Tokyo, Japan. The summit included 31 presentations from 26 countries describing how students and youth were trying to close that gap between actors in the food system and implement sustainable agriculture.

    University of the Highlands and Island’s answer

    As a forestry student, much of my education is based in woodland creation and management. At UHI, we try to broaden our horizons by gathering with other land-based programs and following the forestry commissions leadership to lean towards “Integrated Management Plans” instead of single objective models. That’s the message that Jonathan Hawick (ICF Student member) and I were going to present about by explaining UHI’s Integrated Land Use Conference.

    Jonathan Hawick (ICF Student member) and Jocelyn McLaren before their presentation at Tokyo University of Agriculture’s International Student Summit.

    Improvements in Agriculture in Japan

    In the first of our two weeks, we completed the Comprehensive International Education Program. Four days of field visits and practical work and two days of lectures provided us information to create short presentations about a solution to problems currently facing Japanese Agriculture.

    We were introduced to research done at the Kanagawa Agriculture Technology Center on pears. Trees were planted at wide spacing and then grafted together to form straight lines. The combination of grafting and height restriction created a quick and easy harvesting system.

    One of the other group presentations pitched agro-forestry as a method to increase productivity in restricted land areas. Japan, much like the United Kingdom, has a small area of productive land and a high population, meaning they need to use every hectare effectively. Agroforestry is the practice of growing trees in amongst crops or pastureland. They pitched a three-level crop system with trees producing fruit such as olive or cherry, mid-level shrubs such as aubergines or berries and then a low-level crop such as broccoli or spinach.

    Similar models with different outcomes

    As we transitioned into the second week, we would see lots of countries including Brazil, Mexico, and Australia using this model. Most countries methods were agrisilvicultural, using fruit trees to grow crops among other low-level crops such as wheat or cocoa. They identified the sustainability benefits but noted there were many gaps in the educational system that meant implementation was slow across the country.

    While some were not specifically about agro-forestry, many presentations touted the benefits of multiple income streams and specialities on single farms or in forests. The delegate from Malaysia presented about educating current farmers on meliponiculture (beekeeping) to increase pollination rates and diversify income streams through honey and wax sales. Mexico offered the benefits of grasshopper farming, both to reduce environmental impacts and as a low-cost method to sustain families in marginalized areas.

    Crops of multiple heights at a farm in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Mixed heights create increased stability during extreme weather events like Typhoons.

    How can the UK utilise these techniques?

    It’s possible that the United Kingdom could take up some of these methods to revitalize our suffering traditional orchard sector. While already a composite habitat, the introduction of low-level crops or beekeeping could add some financial stability and biodiversity to those businesses.

    The biggest opportunity I see for Scotland specifically is the use of silvopastoral systems to create timber revenue on livestock farms. Woodland expansion is a priority for Scotland and tree planting on farms is currently still relegated to shelterbelts and riparian zones. Trees could be planted at wide spacing across grazing pastures. While grants and technical guidance exist in Scotland, we need a pilot project or further economic research to encourage woodland owners and farmers to take the calculated risk and see the long-term rewards.

    Japanese pear trees (Pyrus pyrifolia) that have been “Joint Trained” to grow in long straight lines.

    Future proofing through education

    It was incredibly valuable to me as a future land manager to see how other countries are playing to their strengths. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and create land management plans similar to what is already working successfully. By listening to those presentations, while we had similar issues, the methods of solving these problems were incredibly different and by seeing these methods, we can attempt to implement new solutions right here at home. Getting in early and finding this information before I started my career will help me to bring these diverse views to my designs for Scotland’s landscape.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • World Experts drawn to Oxford for Global Forestry Conference

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    ICF, Institute of Chartered ForestersDuncan Pollard MICFor from Nestlé, sustainability expert, will address the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ (ICF) annual flagship two-day conference.

    The UK’s Role in Global Forestry – Past, present and future will be held on 10-11 April at the Examination Schools in Oxford. Forests are increasingly being relied upon to provide a sustainable future for the planet. The UK has a remarkable influence on the global forestry stage and, with its National Conference in 2019, the Institute is once again leading the way in preparing the forestry profession for the future.

    International Union of Forest Research Organisations’ (IUFRO) Executive Director Alexander Buck joins Session 4, “Delivering Global Environmental Services from Forests”. Mr Buck is an expert on international forestry, environment and resource policy. He will explore how forests, science and people interconnect on an international scale. On day two, Environmentalist Tony Juniper, Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK, will address Session 5 in a lecture entitled “Do Professional Foresters Matter?” exploring how foresters are viewed by those working in sustainability.

    Other speakers include:

    • Rachel Butler, Executive Director, Global Timber Forum, UK
    • Rob de Fégley, President, Institute of Foresters, Australia
    • Professor Colin Galbraith, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Consultancy, UK
    • Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor & President of James Cook University, Australia
    • Steve Jennings, Partner, 3Keel, UK
    • Luis Nevis Silva, New Generations Plantations Project Leader, WWF, Portugal
    • Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow at World Resources Institute; co-author of “Why Forests, Why Now”, USA
    • Georges Bazongo, Director West Africa, TREE AID, Burkina Faso
    • Berry Wiersum, CEO, Sappi Europe
    • Dr Anna Lawrence MICFor, Forestry and Arboriculture Research Consultant, UK
    • Robert Matthews, Forest Research, UK

    Commenting on the significance of the UK’s Role in Global Forestry, conference Chair Geraint Richards MVO MICFor, Head Forester at Duchy of Cornwall Woodlands, said:

    “The ICF’s 2019 national conference will provide a timely opportunity to consider the importance of the UK’s role in global forestry. Next year marks the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act and, whilst touching on the past, the conference’s exciting array of international speakers will highlight the significance of the UK forestry sector today and going forward.”

    Early Bird Ticket discounts end 31 December 2018 at:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFGlobalForestry



    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Exploring Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships in Forestry and Arboriculture

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    What next for forestry and arboriculture apprenticeships?

    Ros Burnley, Director of Adrow Ltd, provides an insight into how employers need to be proactive in developing professional apprenticeships

    “Over 70% of the businesses stated that they would consider taking on a higher level apprentice”.

    Apprenticeship reform in England has been happening since 2014 and tree-related industries have been leading the way with the development of the new Forest Operative and Arborist apprenticeship standards, both approved for delivery in 2017. There are exciting opportunities in the new apprenticeship system for forestry and arboriculture businesses, including funding for training, employer-designed programmes and, for the first time, the flexibility to develop apprenticeships at higher and degree levels. Forestry and arboriculture are poised to decide on the next steps for apprenticeships, and employers are needed to determine if our industries require professional apprenticeships.

    The simplified process to create an apprenticeship standard

    The government apprenticeship reforms challenged employers to come together in groups called “trailblazers” to develop new apprenticeship standards. This gives employers control over content and how the apprentice is tested. In stage one, trailblazers must be led by an employer and have evidence that their proposed programme is desired before receiving government approval to start development of an apprenticeship. Once approval is obtained, stage two is to write the standard that defines the occupation’s duties, skills, knowledge and behaviours. This is an in-depth task and the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA)[1] helps guide employers through the process. The final step is to write an assessment plan that sets out the assessment or testing methods the apprentice must undertake at the end of their programme. Although not an easy or necessarily quick process, the end result is an employer-designed, IFA-approved apprenticeship that will attract government funding.

    But what’s different?

    The new apprenticeships are designed to be a core, transferrable occupation, which will be useful to employers of differing subsectors, sizes, types and locations. Trained apprentices will have a consistent skill set that employers can use across their industry. Another significant change is that apprentices are tested at the end of their apprenticeships to demonstrate they can combine their skills and knowledge through structured and experiential learning. These tests are done by an assessment organisation without any connection to the employer or the training provider.

    The all-important question: cost

    For most employers (with a pay bill lower than £3 million), eligible training and assessment for apprentices is 90% government funded. If your organisation has a pay bill greater than £3 million, you will already be paying the apprenticeship levy. This money can be used to cover 100% of eligible training and assessment costs. Public sector examples include the Forestry Commission and many local authorities, but every business has the potential to access funding to cover 90% or 100% of the training and assessment cost of an apprentice. There is a pressing need to determine how to maximise this opportunity to facilitate training and employment for professional roles in forestry and arboricultural businesses.

    Each apprenticeship has a “band” allocated that sets the maximum funding provision per learner that can be claimed. It is up to the employer to negotiate the cost with their training provider within this band. There are incentive payments for certain circumstances and extra charges for some items that a training provider can advise on. The employer must find the apprentice’s wage and allow 20% of their time “off the job”, for example within a structured learning environment (e.g. college, university) or a period of personal study.

    Why now? Why trees, forests and woodlands? What are the potential benefits?

    Apprenticeships can now be developed at higher or degree levels, whereas previously they were focused on operative or supervisor occupations. These programmes are funded in the same way, although they often attract higher funding bands due to the difficulty and length of the study period. Degree or masters-level apprenticeships, such as Chartered Manager, Project Manager, Solicitor, Accountancy/Taxation Professional and Senior Insurance Professional, are already available. Regulated professions that previously focused on degree or classroom-based training are embracing apprenticeships to develop and diversify their workforce. This is partially driven by the apprenticeship levy, with companies looking for ways to utilise funds that they are actively contributing to. But this isn’t the only reason higher or degree-level apprenticeship standards are being developed.

    Other benefits are that apprentices develop extensive work experience alongside their academic studies, they are trained to the company’s working practices, they contribute to motivating and developing other staff and there is an increased diversity of recruits. This is demonstrable because apprenticeships are more accessible for those who have financial responsibilities, aren’t able to afford a higher or degree-level education or who are uncomfortable with debt.

    Land-based degree apprenticeships are already in development, including Ecologist, Environmental Manager and Professional Advisor – Agriculture/Horticulture. A survey run by the arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and landscape trailblazer group at the start of 2018 had 35 responses from businesses who operate in the forestry sector and 55 from businesses working in arboriculture. Over 70% of the businesses stated that they would consider taking on a higher level apprentice. Job roles such as Tree Officer, Arboricultural Consultant, Forest Manager and Harvesting Manager were highlighted as needs. This provides enough of a remit to discuss development of professional apprenticeships for tree-related professions. Employers are now required to define what exactly is needed.

    • Should this be something new or a more generic managerial apprenticeship?
    • What are the duties of this occupation?
    • What should they know, what are their skills and how should they behave in the work place?
    • Is there demand for one apprenticeship or several?

    The apprenticeship reforms in England are already benefiting forestry and arboriculture businesses through the Forest Operative and Arborist apprenticeships. Other industries are taking this further by developing higher and degree-level programmes. There is evidence from the forestry and arboriculture sectors that our professions might need a professional apprenticeship pathway, but without employers taking the time to tell us what they require and contribute to the development, it will not happen.

    Your opportunity is NOW!

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters, Confor, Arboricultural Association, Forestry Commission, Royal Forestry Society and London Tree Officers Association (with support from Duchy of Cornwall and Bartlett Tree Experts) would like to invite employers – large and small, in private and public sectors – to help determine whether there are job roles that could be assisted by developing new professional apprenticeship standards for forestry and arboriculture.

    In early February 2019 we will be hosting two specific workshops for employers to gather the evidence that will shape the next steps in the development of professional apprenticeships.

    Exploring Higher / Degree Level Apprenticeships – Workshops for Forestry and Arboriculture Employers

    Carlisle, Cumbria | Thursday 7 February 2019

    Camden, Central London | Tuesday 12 February 2019

    The two workshops will be free to employers in the forestry or arboriculture professions, include refreshments during the day and they will be held between 12:00 and 16:00 on both days with identical content. In the first instance, spaces are limited to one person per organisation across the two workshops.

    The focus of the workshops is to determine employer and industry demand and as such, education providers wishing to attend will be added to a waiting list initially and may only be able to attend if spaces have not been taken by employers.

    To book a space, please e-mail to request a booking form.


  • North England Regional Group: Conifer Production and Amenity Tree Management, Hovingham Estate

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    Simon Rochester MICFor, ICF North England Regional Group Chairman, attended the ICF North England Regional Group event: Conifer Production and  Amenity Tree Management. Simon reports on his experience. 

    In September the ICF North England Regional Group attended a meeting hosted by Sir William Worsley, Tree Champion, on his Hovingham Estate near Malton North Yorkshire. High yielding conifer production and amenity tree management within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were the topics of the day.

    120 years of continuous forest management

    Sir William Worsley opened the meeting and welcomed the group to his estate. While the Hovingham Estate is a mixed rural estate one-third of the estate consists of woodland, which has seen continuous woodland management for over 120 years. The estate has adapted its woodland management regimes through the years. Originally the estate’s principal species was Oak, in 1897 the then agent Binley Day embarked on plantation forestry on the estate. This change in direction was commercially driven following the move to ironclad ships in the mid-19th century. The estate’s philosophy has always been to produce high-quality timber through high-quality woodland management. Larch was the principle coniferous species on the estate, in 1988 they changed to what Sir William termed the ‘Hovingham mix’ consisting of Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Corsican Pine.

    Sir William concluded his opening address with inspiring words on his new role as Tree Champion, with his desire to see 11 million trees planted ‘to smash’ this target. He wants to bring about a change in culture towards trees, get the right balance in land management and bring everyone together, moving in the same direction. Sir William’s passion for woodland management was clear to see.

    Morning Session

    David Brown MICFor, the Hovingham woodland manager, who is the fourth generation Brown to manage the estates woodland, gave an excellent overview of the estates restocking and establishment regimes.

    Richard Parsons, Commercial Director Maelor Forest Nurseries then gave the group an overview of the work Maelor are carrying out through tree breeding programs and research. The group discussed environmental impact and the resilience which needed to be considered when deciding on species choice. Single species choice is a big risk, taking a mixed species approach as the Estate is, gives resilience in the medium term. The group discussed with input from Paul Jackson MICFor Howardian Hills AONB the impact tree selection choice can have on the landscape value, together with the estates need to keep the woodlands on a commercial footing.

    Richard Parsons told the group that improvements have been made to root development of MOO80 Veg prop transplants however due to their production method the transplants remain more expensive than other options. With this in mind, Richard suggested that the use of VP stock should well be considered as on poorer quality sites it would be difficult to get the extra value out of the transplant against the extra cost of the transplant.

    David Brown spoke about the estates thinning regime while standing in a mixed Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and European Larch crop with an average yield class of 24. An interesting proposal was tabled by one of the group, – had the estate considered a change in approach to thinning with a move towards target diameter thinning? This thought started some considered debate and one that the estate may consider further down the line and perhaps in a corner of the estate as a trial.

    Alastair Boston, Deer Liaison Officer Northern England, gave a very interesting presentation and called for estates and landowners to work together to tackle the growing problem of an ever-increasing deer population. With the UK deer population at around 1.5 million, there needs to be a 30% yearly cull of hinds to just keep the population static. Alastair told the group that one of the best advancements in stalking recently was the introduction of thermal imagery equipment for spotting deer on restocking sites. The introduction of this equipment has increased the efficiency of stalkers leading to an increase in the cull rate of 30%. Alastair announced to the group that The Deer Initiative had just launched a new Best Practice guide to deer management and encouraged land managers to review this. Alastair presented Sir William with a copy of the document, the guide is available on their website.

    After lunch

    The afternoon session saw discussions led by Luke Steer MICFor at Hovingham Village green on the management of a group of high amenity value veteran Lime trees. The group discussed: ground compaction from car parking on the green area, liability issues, historic landscape value and potential tree work options. The range and breadth of discussion on this particular scenario highlighted the complexity of considerations involved in formulating a management proposal to suit the individual situation.

    The North England Regional Group committee would like to thank the presenters for their excellent contribution to the day, in particular to Sir William Worsley and to David Brown for hosting a most interesting day.



  • Urban Tree Establishment

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    TreePans is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC).

    With a continued push to plant more trees across the country, its never been a more difficult time to establish trees in our urban environment. As an urban forester, I always struggled to keep my trees mulched and watered and also the grounds teams at bay. Urban planting is a skill not widely taught and if we continue to see droughts such as the one in 2018 tree establishment will continue to be a struggle.

    TreePans launched at last year’s National Tree Officers Conference and we are pleased to be returning again to Telford.

    TreePans are designed to protect new trees during those early establishment years. TreePans sit around the tree acting as a strimmer and mower guard, their design also naturally kills off grass and weed competition, so reducing the maintenance costs of spraying or mulching newly planted trees. TreePans act as a mini-greenhouse stopping evaporative moisture loss from the soil and also directing rainfall and water towards the roots of a tree. With sustainability in mind, TreePans are also designed to be reused on more than one tree.

    Mid Sussex Council was one of the early adopters of TreePans installing them in Beech Hurst Gardens, Haywards Heath. Beech Hurst gardens is a heavily used 6-acre park, which was recently awarded a prestigious Green Flag for its 11th year in a row.

    “Being passionate about tree planting I have learned that the real investment is in the establishment and aftercare period following planting.

    Having thrown the TreePan into the mix at the time of planting I have experienced fewer cases of damage around the vital basal areas of trees. The TreePan is robust, easy to install and can be reused. As a local authority tree officer investment in the TreePan negates the need for regular mulch top ups resulting in savings that can be re-invested into other areas of young tree management.”  Greg Sweeney – Mid Sussex Council.

    We look forward to talking all things tree planting at this year’s National Tree Officer Conference.


    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of TreePans and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Bellway Homes TreeBunker

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    Wrekin Products is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC).

    The Holmwood Park development of new homes in Ferndown, Dorset, has been created by Bellway Homes Ltd on a site surrounded by large green spaces including 1,000 acres of stunning parkland and forest.

    The aim of the new residential development was to create an estate that offers residents a perfect blend of town and countryside living.

    To ensure the environment of the development fits appropriately with the mature trees by which it is surrounded, the local planning authority specified that ten large canopy trees should be planted in hard landscaped areas at the entrance to the site to assist in the greening of the site.

    To achieve this a system was needed to enable the trees to grow and reach maturity without compromising the structural integrity of the hard-paved areas. Barrell Tree Care, the arboricultural consultant for the site, proposed the use of Wrekin’s TreeBunker Tree Root Development System to provide sufficient rooting volume for the trees and to maintain the structure of the pavements.

    Christchurch and East Dorset Council’s planning department also approved the system for use on the development.

    The TreeBunker system has been designed to ensure newly planted trees in hard landscaping are provided with increased rooting space to encourage continued growth and maintain their health. The system has also been developed with a high load capacity, allowing the product to be used in all vehicular loading situations.

    Big trees are desirable additions to developments as they have been proven to provide substantial environmental, social and economic benefits. Research has proven big trees can increase property values, reduce the heat island effect in towns and cities, reduce pollution and noise, provide the obvious habitat for wildlife and manage storm water run-off.

    Wrekin’s TreeBunker is a modular unit comprising of a base and top frame and 4 structural posts which are available from 400mm deep to 1.4m. The system is filled with uncompacted soil to encourage root growth through the large voids within the system. The system has been independently tested to achieve an axle load of 15 tonnes, ensuring that it is suitable for all European vehicular loadings.

    It is the most installer-friendly type of product on the market and is up to 30% more cost-effective to install against similar competitive products.

    Wrekin supplied 384 units to the site which provided 10m3 of free soil volume to each tree. The ten trees were planted in two parallel trenches, each containing five trees.

    The planting of the trees in continuous trenches means that the roots can access each other’s soil space, increasing the overall volume the roots have access to. This 10m3 of soil means that the trees have a wonderful opportunity to reach maturity and provide the many benefits large canopy trees bring.

    Both Bellway Homes and groundworkers Mackoy Ltd said they were extremely pleased with the simplicity of the installation process of the system, which was overseen by experts from Wrekin Products.


    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Wrekin Products and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 


  • Help Shape the Direction of Scotland’s Forestry

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    Diverse and versatile forests and woodlands are located across Scotland and serve both rural and urban communities; they are valuable natural assets, providing a range of benefits which support sustainable and inclusive economic growth, sustain livelihoods, enhance our environment and improve people’s quality of life and well-being.

    The Scottish Government has committed to developing a Forestry Strategy for Scotland, to set out a long-term vision for Scottish forestry within the context of our wider land use aspirations. This is in line with the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 which commences on 1 April, 2019.

    The Forestry Strategy for consultation provides a 10-year framework for action to help achieve a 50-year vision for Scotland’s woodlands and forests. This is your chance to inform the development of the final strategy.

    What you can do:

    Visit the Strategy Consultation website and download the consultation paper

    There are 17 Questions in the paper. Please use the proforma template here to formulate your response.

    Email your response to for inclusion in the official Institute response. Remember to also submit your response using the online form on the strategy website.

  • Local Authority Adopted Cellweb® Footpath

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    Geosynthetics Limited is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    Woolton Fields Development, Liverpool


    In 2017 Redrow Homes and Liverpool City Council embarked on the redevelopment of the Old Lower Lee School site on Beaconsfiled Rd, Woolton, Liverpool. The site contained numerous high-value trees which would be retained and incorporated into the new development. As part of the residential development, a footpath was required linking it to Beaconsfield Road. This footpath would later be adopted by Liverpool City Council.


    Figure 1 – Tree Protection Plan. Trevor Bridge Associates Landscape Architects

    The proposed footpath layout can be seen hatched yellow in figure 1. It can be seen that the footpath passes through the root protection areas of retained trees 102, 103, 104, 105, 135 and hedge 132. To ensure the continued health of the trees and to comply with the arboricultural method statement, the path would be constructed using a no-dig 3D cellular confinement system. At the request of Liverpool City Council, Trevor Bridge Associates Arboriculturalist and Redrow Homes’ Design Engineer contacted Geosynthetics Ltd for a site-specific recommendation for the required Cellweb® build up.

    Site Specific Recommended Build up

    Figure 2 – Site Specific Recommended Build up. Geosynthetics Ltd

    Geosynthetics engineers calculated the above recommendation using information provided by Redrow Homes. Recommendations are calculated using site California bearing ratios and proposed traffic loadings. The footpath would not receive loads above that of pedestrians and cyclists, and the 75mm Cellweb® was recommended. The Cellweb® is infilled with a 4/20mm clean angular stone and is overfilled by 25mm. This ensures that the tops of the cell walls are covered. The arboricultural method statement recommends a final wearing course of resin bound gravel which is a porous hard surface. The depth and application of the material was specified by suppliers KBI.

    Cellweb® TRP is the UK’s market leading 3D cellular confinement tree root protection system. Cellweb® TRP offers a ‘no dig’ solution for sub-base construction within root protection areas (RPAs), preventing root severance. Through the confinement of a clean angular infill material, the system ensures continued water permeation and gas exchange between the rooting environment and atmosphere. The system minimises increases in soil compaction through the lateral dispersal of point loads.

    Installation of the Upper Section.

    Photo 1 – Installation of the Upper Section.

    Photo 1 shows the installation of the unsurfaced Cellweb® Subbase. Treated timber boards have been staked into the ground to provide a template and to edge the Cellweb® and the final surfacing material. Before laying the Cellweb®, low areas are infilled using clean angular stone. This provides a level surface for installation. The Cellweb® is installed by opening the panels to their full dimensions, then cutting the web to provide the curves required. This ensures that all individual cells are open to their full dimensions of 259mm x 224mm. Partially closed cells can lead to structurally weaker areas. A thin layer of topsoil has been added and abuts the treated timber edging. This will be seeded later.

    Areas of the footpath required some minimal excavation to ensure that the gradient would comply with building regulations. Minimal disruption to tree roots was achieved through careful excavation, under the supervision of Trevor Bridge Associates Arboriculturalist Mike Gregory.

    The newly surfaced
    and completed footpath.


    This case study provides a shining example of a well thought out and well-constructed footpath through the RPAs of retained trees. The trees provide real amenity value and a feeling of maturity to the new development. The use of the materials and techniques outlined above will ensure that these trees continue to make a contribution for many years to come.


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Geosynthetics Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Managing tree data nationally

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    Tamworth castle

    Bluesky is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    The Bluesky National Tree Map (NTM) identifies the location of more than 280 million trees nationwide, detailing their height and canopy cover. The data was created using innovative algorithms and image processing techniques in combination with the most up-to-date and detailed aerial photography and height data. A team of experienced professionals completed an exhaustive QA process to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data.

    In addition to the three vector map layers; Crown Polygons, Idealised Crowns and Height Points, the NTM also includes an attribute table including unique identification for each crown feature, height attributes and area calculations. The data is available in a range of Geographical Information System (GIS) formats with flexible annual licencing.

    Applications of the NTM include subsidence risk assessment by insurance companies, propagation modelling for telecommunication infrastructure planning, network resilience assessment for utility companies and carbon reduction planning for environmental projects as well as general asset management. Existing users of the data are already reporting significant improvements in day to day planning and operational efficiency.

    For example, Tamworth Borough Council uses the data to help protect important amenity trees. An eight time gold-winner of national Heart of England in Bloom competition, the Bluesky NTM is helping the identify, manage and protect trees, including those subject to Tree Preservation Orders and other planning constraints. The tree map data is accessed via the authority’s GIS and is available to all staff via its Web Mapping Service (WMS).

    The Bluesky tree data was also used as part of a recent Progress and Impacts Study by one of England’s original Community Forest projects and the largest environmental regeneration project in Bedfordshire; the Forest of Marston Vale.

    As a result, it was concluded that tree cover had already increased to 15 percent, half of the overall target, with woodland cover up to 11 percent. Based on this ‘forest cover’ data, the study was then able to evidence that every £1 spent in creating The Forest to date had returned £11 in benefits to the area through improvements in employment, health and wellbeing, air quality, recreation, enhanced landscape, property values and, in due course, timber supply.

    “While our own data and Forestry Commission data had their merits, neither was as accurate, comprehensive or as up-to-date as the Bluesky tree map,” commented James Russell, Forest Director of The Forest of Marston Vale. “The use of the Bluesky data not only gives us critical data to assess our progress, but it also allows us to evaluate and quantify the benefits of this increased ‘forest cover’ to the local community.”

    Other real-world applications of the Bluesky tree map data include use by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council to help ascertain numbers for a borough-wide inventory of trees, by Exeter University and the Met Office to create the first high resolution maps of allergenic plants and trees and by Daventry District Council to prepare for a new grounds maintenance contract.

    Bluesky National Tree Map is currently available for England and Wales with work already underway to create coverage for Scotland.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Bluesky and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • What’s in a nursery?

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    Wyevale Nurseries Ltd is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon container grownWell, plants of course. And from a Tree Officer`s point of view; Trees!  – But is that true?

    A nursery these days can be just a shopfront, tree supplies like any commodity can be traded and rattle in from anywhere, the cheapest supplier in the market. Does the nursery actually grow the trees they offer themselves? And from what point in time; from seed, cuttings or grafts? Or is it a tree-trader, a `finishing house` for imported production? Are a nursery`s suppliers carefully vetted and audited for their own in-house production?  Have they documented inspection by the regulating authority (APHA) of trees grown? Does the nursery have a Biosecurity Policy? Some of the questions to ask and answer if a Tree Officer is to establish the level of care needed in securing trees from a trusted source.

    Further, will the trees arrive to specification? Indeed have you asked for and agreed a precise, pre-agreed protocol? Species, cultivar option, stem girth, clear stem height (or feathered to base), container size (if pot-grown), special requirements such as `matching for avenue planting.` Why not visit the nursery to see, select and mark up your own grade?tree fields in autumn

    All good then if the right trees arrive. But when, where and how are they delivered? Is the person authorised to handle delivery timings in contact with the nursery, even the lorry driver? And the people and machinery on call to offload? Often, of course, this is a responsibility devolved to one or more contractors who may request a different delivery schedule to that ordained on the Purchase Order, thus potentially frustrating efficient paperwork and invoicing! Let’s get it all noted prior times and trees may proceed as planned.

    Can we who are tasked with trees look further? Maybe by finding like-minded sources of inspiration and funding among the many who wish to pay a lasting tribute to those fallen exactly 100 years ago in World War 1?  Budgets are tight, your best planting plans may be frustrated by all sorts of people, underground pipes, and potential pitfalls but we have confirmation of the need out in those streets for green relief. We plant now for our kids. If it is not us, who will do it?

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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Wyevale Nurseries Ltd and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Showing the way to tread the inventory path

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    KaarbonTech is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    Tree-SurveyingKaarbonTech supply asset management solutions and surveying services to the local authority market. In fact, KaarbonTech systems manage approximately 33% of the local authority highway network for one or more asset. We are predominately involved in drainage, tree and grit bins and provide surveying services to these market sectors.

    We are currently working with Central Bedfordshire (CBH) council on a highway inventory survey using our own surveyors and our Tree SMART asset management system.

    When we started with CBH they had no tree inspection data, so they not only wanted survey software but also a highway inventory survey. Due to the proposed length of the project, KaarbonTech decided to employ our own Lantra PTI level 3 arborists and subcontractors to perform the tree surveys.

    The Tree SMART system is an android/IOS app that allows surveyors or council arborists to inspect tree’s and capture the appropriate data. The system is cloud-based but has an “offline” mode to enable surveying in areas without cellular connectivity. OS mapping is provided to MasterMap topographical level to allow the GPS accurate plotting of tree’s and groups. The office system is accessed via any web browser and has been designed to be simple to use and yet provide extremely powerful reporting tools.

    When the CBH tree survey commenced, the KaarbonTech surveyor in conjunction with contract surveyors were set a target of at least 100 inspections per day. This was a substantial target especially during the winter months due to the reduced daylight available. However, the surveyors soon got to grips with the software and were achieving more than 100 inspections per day in no time at all.

    The council were able to monitor the inspections in near real-time and were soon producing reports and analysing the data. If our surveyors find issues with tree’s that could be dangerous or need immediate remedial work, they can use the office system to produce an instant tree defect report and send this to the council for actioning. Likewise, if the council arborists want our tree surveyors to attend a specific tree or trees to perform an inspection they can raise a “work package” and allocate it to a surveyor in a particular area completely wirelessly.

    The council arborists will continue using the system to keep the inspection information up-to-date extending the data capture to tree works contractors who will be given a Tree SMART tablet to receive work packages detailing the work required on each tree. As the work is performed, the tree works teams will complete the outstanding tasks on and the system will be automatically updated providing a full audit trail.


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of KaarbonTech and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities!

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    Sorbus International is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 


    BioSecurity Lite Kit

    Trade conferences and exhibitions have always been a key part of the business year for Sorbus. Not only do we get the pleasure of meeting existing and new customers – and despite the revolutions in IT and social media there is still no substitute for a face to face chat – we also get to know what our fellow exhibitors are up to.

    We are always looking to expand our range of products for arboriculture and forestry and, chance conversations at trade events have led us to add a range of specific tree care products over recent years. Not everything will be an instant success but we felt it necessary to invest and make these products available in the UK because we believe they will be beneficial for our trees.

    Biosecurity has really become a key discussion point and a conversation with the Forestry Commission (FC) at an ICF conference a couple of years ago led to us putting a biosecurity kit together based on FC recommendations so that they could be made available to all working in the land-based sectors – foresters, arborists, surveyors, public and private landowners etc. Before these kits were available those wishing to do something positive about biosecurity put their own kits together with all good intention and used a variety of disinfectants – so no standardisation. At the moment the FC only recommend Cleankill and Propellar disinfectants so Sorbus has become one of the main UK distributors of these as well and provide advice on which one to use. For example, you can use Propellar to disinfect your boots but being solvent based it will degrade the boot components over time so better to use Cleankill which is water based. Propellar is better for tools etc.

    BITE tree infusion system

    Recently we have also added a BioSecurity Lite kit – a scaled down version suitable for those surveyors working in urban environments who have to carry the kits around with them most of the time.

    We first became aware of the BITE tree infusion system when the inventor Professor Lucio Montecchio and Jonathan Cocking approached us about becoming the UK distributor for this novel system which enables beneficial compounds – specifically EnerBite – to be infused directly into the tree vascular system. BITE/EnerBite is in its early stages in the UK but its ease of use and effectiveness has attracted a number of users in the UK already as a viable addition to beneficial treatments for trees under stress or in decline. Watch this space!



    We all know that trees need moisture to survive and thrive – particularly in the early stages of growth – so anything that helps maintain ground moisture and protect the tree whilst it grows seemed like a good idea when we were introduced to TreePans. These were developed in the USA several years ago and have been used with great success over there since then. Again this product is in its early stages in the UK and we believe that it will find a place here.


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Sorbus International and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Promoting preparation: Tree health & biosecurity plans

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    Forestry Commission is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    If a notifiable pest or disease were to be found affecting a tree, woodland, or forest under your management, what would be your response? Would you:

    1. Take early retirement?
    2. Ask yourself where you are going to find the additional time and funding to deal with the problem?
    3. Consult your pre-prepared tree health and biosecurity plan?

    Figure 1: Harvester removing Phytophthora ramorum infected Larch trees.

    In Forestry Commission England’s Tree Health Team, time after time we see the frustration that can ensue when land managers have to implement suitable tree health and biosecurity management practices at the last minute after being caught out by positive findings of notifiable pests or diseases on their trees.

    Our advice to avoid such situations? Be prepared! Having a robust tree health and biosecurity plan in place before these problems arise can not only help prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases onto your land, but also ease the associated pressure of taking action if they do.

    A good tree health and biosecurity plan will:

    • Identify the key pest and disease threats to your site.
    • Contain a risk assessment of each pest and disease based upon its likelihood of establishment and spread, and its potential impact on the site.
    • Include details of appropriate biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of each pest and disease on to and around the site.
    • Assess the site activities that could contribute to the movement of pests and diseases on to and around the site, and provide mitigation measures to prevent this.
    • Identify the contact details of the relevant tree health authorities.
    • Keep it Clean

      Figure 2: FC’s ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign provides simple and achievable biosecurity guidance to us all help protect the health of our trees.

      Detail the contingency measures and procedures to be followed in the event of a pest or disease outbreak.

    Tree health and biosecurity plans are already being successfully created and implemented by forward-thinking land managers. The team at Lesnes Abbey Woods in the London Borough of Bexley recently won the Borough Tree Award at London’s Tree and Woodland Awards (aka the Tree Oscars) for their plan. They have been commended on how their mitigation methods for activities on site remain practical and cost effective, whilst ensuring visitors can still easily access and enjoy the site. This just goes to show that creating a tree health and biosecurity plan is a worthwhile endeavour and does not have to be a hindrance.

    As part of the Forestry Commission’s ‘Keep it Clean’ biosecurity campaign, we will soon be launching a land manager toolkit containing a variety of tree health and biosecurity related resources, including guidance on how to create your own tree health and biosecurity plan. Whilst we are putting the final touches to our toolkit please do not hesitate to get in contact with the Tree Health Team via if you have any questions about creating your own plan. We are happy to help you prepare for whatever tree health related challenges the future may bring!

    Spotted a tree pest or disease? Report it via Tree Alert!

    Join the conversation – follow us on Twitter for tree health related news via @ForestryComm.


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Forestry Commission and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Remote Sensing Technologies for Tree Disease Management: A Case Study

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    2Excel geospatial is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    ash tree crowns

    Figure 1: Study site with ash tree crowns manually delineated

    This article presents research conducted to investigate the potential capabilities of airborne hyperspectral imagery for the assessment of ash dieback in a hedgerow environment. Hyperspectral imagery consists of hundreds of narrow bands across the visible and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum providing a higher level of spectral detail than traditional colour imagery.

    Study Site

    The study site consisted of a roadside hedgerow bordering agricultural land (Figure 1) in Northamptonshire. The site was selected due to the variability in ash dieback severity and accessibility for ground surveying.

    Individual trees along the hedgerow were subject to ground survey to determine species. European ash, which accounted for the majority of trees surveyed (86%), were subject to additional assessment to determine the percentage of crown dieback (recorded in 5% intervals).

    tree crown

    Figure 2 Comparison of manually and automatically delineated tree crown

    Airborne true-colour (0.07 m) and hyperspectral (0.33 m) imagery was acquired for the study site on the 25th August 2017.  Following acquisition, several processing steps were undertaken to provide analysis ready imagery and a digital surface model.

    Ash Dieback Assessment

    An automated individual tree crown (ITC) delineation was conducted using the digital surface model derived from the imagery. This stage of the process enabled the generation of polygons to represent each tree crown in the hedgerow (Barnes et al., 2017b)

    The spectral reflectance for each tree were extracted using the tree crown polygons. 64 vegetation indices were also extracted utilising the narrow spectral bands provided by the hyperspectral imagery. These vegetation index values were used to classify the presence of dieback in ash trees at the study site.

    ash tree

    Figure 3 Comparison of ash tree spectral reflectance with and without die back


    The reflectance spectrum of ash trees with and without crown dieback are displayed in Figure 3. Ash trees which exhibited crown dieback (5 – 50%) demonstrated a suppressed reflectance in the near-infrared (NIR) region. A slight increase was also observed in the green and red reflectance of ash crowns affected by dieback. These variations in reflectance are used for the identification of dieback and support the results of previous.

    The classification of dieback presence (no dieback vs dieback) in ash trees at the study site yielded an overall accuracy of 87%. Vegetation indices calculated using the reflectance values from the green/red and NIR regions of the spectrum were particularly important for the dieback classification. Figure 4 provides a visual representation of the four most useful vegetation indices for the identification of dieback along the hedgerow.

    Concluding Remarks

    vegetation indices

    Figure 4 Visual representation of selected vegetation indices

    Whilst this highlights the potential capability of this remote sensing approach to assess disease in at the selected study site, transferring the approach across different environments, scales, tree species, pests and pathogens is more complex. Selecting the most appropriate remote sensing technologies for a specific disease detection challenge requires an in-depth understanding of the capabilities and limitations of different sensors and platforms and the symptom expression associated with particular agents of disease and stress in specific tree species (Lausch et al., 2016).


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of 2Excel geospatial and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • The New Unit London to Host A Portrait of the Tree

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    Tony Kirkham, Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum), Kew Gardens

    They are the longest living organism on the planet and essential to life as we know it. But when did you last really look at a tree?

    One person who has had a strong connection with trees for as long as he can remember is renowned photographer Adrian Houston. Five years ago, increasingly concerned that so many of our indigenous trees are being affected by disease and global warming, he decided to embark on an ambitious project that would give trees a voice. The result is an extraordinary collection of works, collectively entitled A Portrait of the Tree, that will run at Unit London’s new Hanover Square site from 17th to 28th September.

    It was in October 2013 that Adrian first began questioning people about their favourite tree. The members of this group are as diverse as they are influential, from Richard Branson, actress Goldie Hawn and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason to Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum at Kew Gardens, designer Jasper Conran and Chairman of Condé Nast Britain Nicholas Coleridge.

    Along the way Adrian heard many fascinating stories. Lord Tollemache, former Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, told of the ancient oak in whose hollow trunk Queen Elizabeth II used to shelter during the annual shoot on his estate. Designer Jasper Conran talked about the beech tree outside his bedroom window; the first and last thing he sees each day. Perhaps most poignant of all is the Cedar of Lebanon, part of the proud history and landscape of the grounds of Le Manoir aux Quat Saison, owned by legendary chef Raymond Blanc. Sadly, this magnificent tree was diseased and had to be cut down. Adrian’s art will now ensure it is captured for posterity.
    Tales exchanged, Adrian then traveled throughout the UK, and further afield to Namibia, Madagascar, Ibiza, France and America, to photograph the trees in question.
    These photographs, accompanied by their stories, will be displayed at the exhibition. Says Adrian,

    “I am very excited that we will be among the first to exhibit at Unit London’s new Hanover Square gallery. For the last few years, Unit London has championed the world’s most exciting emerging artists and I was thrilled when co-founders Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt offered to house this most personal of retrospectives.”

    It is planned that A Portrait of the Tree will be styled and dressed to make the entire experience immersive, interactive, joyful, educational and exciting. The doorway will lead visitors through an ancient oak into an immersive world of trees and woodland soundscapes.
    A percentage of all sales will go to two leading charities: Future Trees Trust, a national charity dedicated to improving disease resilience, growth rate, form and adaptability to climate change of broadleaved trees, and Trees for Cities, responsible for planting over 700,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the world, revitalising these areas and improving the lives of the people who live in them.

    Sir Harry Studholme’s FICFor (Hon) favourite tree

    Working in conjunction with Trees for Cities, the exhibition will also run parallel with an educational programme aimed at raising social awareness about the importance of our trees, the environment and climate change. Children from over 25 London-wide primary and secondary schools will be invited to tour the exhibition. A photographic competition will also invite 8-16-year olds to submit photographs of their own favourite trees. The best three images – and stories – will feature in A Portrait of the Tree.
    Concludes Adrian,

    “A Portrait of the Tree was conceived as a way of illustrating how trees connect us all on a universal level. The stories behind the chosen subjects are as important as the images themselves. Together they offer a powerful tool to help educate people, from children through to adults, about the vital role that trees play in all of our lives.”

  • 2018 National Tree Officers Conference Programme Announced

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    The acclaimed National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) programme is now live. The 2018 NTOC will have a broader reach than ever with presenters from across the UK and beyond with delegates hearing from a local authority officer, Lars Schultz-Christensen, working in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    The programme will cover a variety of subject areas as per below:

    • International Diversity & Professionalism
    • Legislation & Protection
    • Opportunities & Biosecurity
    • Data Utilisation

    Lars joins Session 1, International Diversity & Professionalism, where he will talk about new ways of irrigating trees and the effect on growth. Russell Horsey MICFor will join Session 3, Opportunities & Biosecurity, to explore how highway trees can to lead to more “more bums on seats” and why urban foresters and arborists need to learn more about engineering.

    Becky Porter, LTOA Executive Officer, said:

    “It is fantastic news that the National Tree Officers Conference is bringing an international flavour to this year’s programme. I am really looking forward to finding out how trees are managed in Denmark and more widely across the UK, particularly in Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Scotland.”

    This event is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and, the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

    This 2018 NTOC is kindly sponsored by 2Excel, Barcham Trees, Bluesky, Ezytreev, Forestry Commission, Geosynthetics, GreenBlue Urban, KaarbonTech Asset Management, TreePans, Sorbus International, Wrekin Products and Wyevale Nurseries.

    This conference is aimed at all professionals who work in urban forestry, this conference is not just for tree officers. If you are planning to attend, but haven’t yet booked, you are advised to secure your place as soon as possible.

    For further information and to book visit:

    Follow us #TreeOfficerUK


    Media Enquiries
    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • National Tree Officers Conference launches vibrant logo

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    To mark the success of the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC), the Institute of Chartered Foresters, London Tree Officers Association and Municipal Tree Officers Association have launched a new logo. The brand was led by NTOC Steering Group under the advisement of Hester McQueen, ICF Marketing & Communications Officer.

    The design of the NTOC marks the third National Tree Officers Conference following the success of the last two conferences.

    The colours and trees represent typical trees that tree officers work with and autumn tree colours in the UK. The leaves were carefully selected which are oak, maple, birch, tulip and gingko.

    The logo was produced in just under a month, in anticipation of the third National Tree Officers Conference, just over 12 weeks away. The logo has been designed to illustrate the professionalism of tree officers and to emphasise continuous professional development is key to enhancing their work.

    The new logo is much more vibrant and illustrates how innovative this industry is.

    Al Smith MICFor, Honorary LTOA Executive Member, said

    “The new logo indicates the conference is standing the test of time with a strong steering group partnership between the London Tree Officers Association, Municipal Tree Officers Association and the Institute of Chartered Foresters.”

    This event is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and, the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

    This 2018 NTOC is kindly sponsored by 2Excel, Barcham Trees, Bluesky, Ezytreev, Forestry Commission, Geosynthetics, GreenBlue Urban, KaarbonTech Asset Management, TreePans, Sorbus International, Wrekin Products and Wyevale Nurseries.

    For further information and to book visit:

    Follow us #TreeOfficerUK


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen

    Marketing & Communications Officer

    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Working with tree officers

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    GreenBlue Urban is a sponsor of the 2018 National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC). 

    Twenty-five years after our inception, GreenBlue Urban have developed solutions we are proud of but we don’t stop and stagnate! It is through our work with Arboriculturalists that we are truly able to understand the complexities of our most precious assets – trees.

    Our focus is on providing the most robust, structural soil support systems for the integration of trees into the hard landscape cannot be accomplished without deep collaboration between us and the community of arboriculturalists working across the public and private sectors.

    Trees outside Wembley Stadium, thriving in StrataCell soil cell system since 2007.

    On some of our earliest schemes delivered in the capital we were able to utilise TreeRadar© technology developed through a partnership with Sharon Hosegood Associates which allowed us to measure the success of our engineered tree pit systems.  The use of this cutting edge technology measures urban trees roots and how they establish below the paved surface. Understanding the growth patterns of tree rooting systems in this way enables us to develop more sophisticated structural soil modules to accommodate the needs of the tree and those of human development.

    From the earliest inception of GBU, we recognised the need for consistent feedback from the arboricultural community, we are committed to working with tree officers and arb consultancies. We have developed a unique technical and customer service facility so that enables the most important custodians of our urban trees to source the resources and expertise they require easily.

    We share a common vision with arboricultural experts to promote both creative and pragmatic methods of integrating urban trees into our towns and cities that will reach maturity and deliver the full benefits of ecosystems services we know they can deliver.

    • Investment in product development and the needs of increased density of development – Supporting both MTOA and LTOA to ensure that local authorities and private sector clients have the technical tools at their disposal to ensure that retrofit and new build schemes can accommodate quality tree pits that will allow for increased canopy cover
    • Load bearing and highways compliant systems. This guarantees that tree officers and consultants can make the case for increased planting across transport schemes and highways retrofit
    • Multifunctionality – the emergence of the SUDs compatible tree pit systems has provided a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration for the integration of tree pits on schemes that can deliver more for less

    Discover our new publication “Street Tree Cost Benefit Analysis”

    Human capital is also integral to the GBU mission and our unique team of technical and urban planning experts can assist arbs to work proactively to ensure that schemes of all scales have the most ambitious and progressive tree pit designs possible.

    GreenBlue Urban Podcast site features former LTOA Chair John Parker MICFor with an upcoming episode from Sharon Hosegood FICFor.


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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of GreenBlue Urban and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • The ICF Trophy at the 2018 Royal Welsh Agricultural Show

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    Best Overall Professional Woodland Management in the Show

    The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society gives forestry managers a chance to exhibit their skills within the various categories for entry.  Large, and small, young and old, with both hardwoods and conifers having separate classes. There are four sections for various sized estates, and nine for the many woodland categories.

    The winner this year was Iwan Parry MICFor, Senior Forest Manager at Tilhill Forestry, who happens to be ICF Wales Chairman! He entered four managed woodlands, of which three were ‘old’ and well established woods well into a second and third rotation, so providing great variety.  The other was a large new planting from the 1990s. An interesting site with hardwoods mixed with conifers, and where Ash Dieback had created space, the Sitka spruce was truly exceptional.

    The older plantations require detailed management and contain fine stands of mature Douglas fir and spruce. Restocking is a challenge and with owner’s support a new commercial core has been established, with additional variety of species. All three have considerable public access, and indeed one of the prizes was for the best Community woodland. In all they constituted a fine sample of many aspects of excellent management, to become a worthy winner of the award.

  • Can Impact Investing Impact Forestry?

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    Hester Robertson, Founder of CloudForest, explains how impact investing can impact forestry. Hester previously worked for BG Group as a Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst.

    CloudForest is on a mission to create resilient, productive forests that people can enjoy. By crowdfunding forestry projects, the company will open the door to small-scale investors who want to see more sustainable forestry.

    We believe that connecting people to forests can bring new value to the industry. Our focus will be on continuous cover forestry, using risk-based decision analysis tools, to generate resilient financial returns. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities for forestry to significantly contribute to the emerging low carbon bioeconomy.

    Much is being written about the changing nature of wealth; that it encompasses connections, experiences, and legacy, not just money. This is a reflection that economists and the financial industry are catching up with what each of us already knew: financial metrics and models are simplistic representations and do not capture all that is important. With increased access to information and a growing number of online platforms, technology is making it easier for us to invest in line with our values. We are seeing a corresponding growth in Impact Investing: investing with the intention of having a positive environmental or social return as well as a financial one. Whilst this is still an emerging sector – with some debate as to exactly what actually counts as an Impact Investment – there is growing evidence that these investments usually meet, and often exceed the performance of comparable traditional investments.1 The explanation, at an organisation level, is thought to be through increased operating efficiencies and softer aspects such as improved employee engagement. There is also a growing recognition of the benefits that impact investing can bring through system level thinking: managing the risks and opportunities arising from environmental, societal and financial systems. For example, the circular economy aims to reduce reliance on raw materials by moving from extractive business models to ones which predominately reuse and recycle. Barriers to change, such as cultural norms and competing incentives, mean that system-level changes are more challenging than, say, increasing efficiencies through technology adoption.

    Forest – a sustainable investment?

    Forestry as a sector is a natural fit for those looking for positive impact, and one where its reciprocal reliance on the environment and society is clearly apparent. Whilst acknowledging that top-down aspects such as tax treatment and government regulation heavily influence the form of commercial forestry, what potential is there for partnerships and innovations to achieve system level opportunities and create shared value?

    James Reilly’s previous ICF blog “Is Clear-Felling Past its Sell-by Date?” notes that there is a social dislocation between foresters and the forests where, unlike farming, “foresters are employees not owners”. In fact, they are often twice removed: working for forest management companies who themselves are not owners of the forests. Of course, tangible ownership runs much deeper than the legal right of possession and I would add that in the case of forestry investment vehicles this social dislocation can extend to some forest owners as well. If forestry as a “pure investment” is missing the intrinsic value of tangible ownership, what is the consequence? Connections, whether that be to objects, people, or places open up a two-way relationship: we care for the things we own. Viewed in this way the “Endowment Effect” is not an irrational behaviour for economists to puzzle over, but rather an opportunity to create value. Through crowdfunding, CloudForest will work to support and explore this dynamic: can both the health of the forest and the crowd benefit; what new ideas will this diverse group bring?

    Diverse ownership for diverse forests

    The relationship we have with something also changes our priorities and our risk appetite. Forests are exposed to a wide range of biological risks, and, for commercial forestry, market and country-related risks as well. The duration over which these are relevant, and the uncertainty that this brings makes risk modelling particularly important. Not only is this relevant for the individual forest, but there are also wider implications for industry and society, particularly where systemic risks exist. After all, sustainable management of the UK’s forests is dependent on the sector as a whole being economically viable. CloudForest’s market research has provided clear data on the priorities of small-scale investors: they want to see diverse, ecologically-rich forests. Diverse forests reduce biological risks, and with a growing body of research into the complex interactions that occur in forests, we are increasingly equipped to factor this into decision making. By building risk-adjusted financial models, CloudForest can work towards realising both investors’ financial objectives and their environmental ambitions. However, as discussed earlier, these models must not be the sole basis for a forest strategy. Only through partnerships, and landscape-scale thinking can we realise the full potential of forestry.

    For further thought on systems thinking from a farming perspective I encourage you to read this excellent RSA blog post.


    1. Sustainable Reality: Understanding the Performance of Sustainable Investment Strategies, Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. March 2015


    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • ICF Awards UK’s Emerging Forestry and Arboricultural Talent

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    (Left to right) Daniel Bentley, Katarina Lindroth, Sean Roberts, Gabriel Hibberd, Tom Roberts

    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has honoured a number of outstanding students with awards during June and July. The students have completed an ICF accredited course at one of the UK’s colleges and universities that teach forestry and arboriculture. This award builds valuable connections between the profession and the UK’s ever growing forestry and arboricultural talent. The 2018 ICF Student Awards were presented at graduations across the UK by ICF representatives, recognising academic achievement in ICF-accredited higher education courses. The Institute’s President, David Edwards FICFor, presented the prestigious award at Bangor University; later in the year David will be presenting the ICF Student Award at Harper Adams University.

    Winners of the influential award received a one-year ICF Associate membership subscription – a valuable platform for starting a career, offering the opportunity to develop professionally and expand a network of forestry and arboricultural peers. Associate membership is the first step to chartered status and seen as necessary or desirable by many leading employers.

    The 2018 ICF Student Award winners include:

    • Katarina Lindroth, BSc (Ord) Sustainable Forest Management (with Forest Conservation), Scottish School of Forestry (Inverness College UHI)
    • Tom Roberts, BSc (Hons) Forest Management, National School of Forestry (University of Cumbria)
    • Sean Roberts, BSc (Hon) Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, Myerscough College
    • Gabriel Hibberd, BSc (Hons) Conservation with Forestry, Bangor University
    • Daniel Bentley, Forest Sciences (Hons), University of Aberdeen

    ICF Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor congratulated the 2018 award winners, emphasising the importance of the Institute actively supporting the next generation within the sector:

    “The Institute is delighted to congratulate all the winners of the ICF Student Award 2018.

    “As the UK’s only professional body for foresters and arboriculturists, the Institute strongly believes in supporting rising talent as they begin their professional journey.

    “The Institute welcomes the 2018 ICF Student Award winners as new Associate members. We hope the winners take advantage of the opportunities that come with belonging to a professional body through networking, events, job alerts, news and resources to help enhance their career. We wish the winners all the best in their career.”

    A further two ICF Student Awards will be distributed at Harper Adams University and Pershore College in the autumn.


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • ICF Regions

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    News from around the ICF Regions

    Wales Regional Group: Spring Lunches

    For the third year running, Wales’ members gathered simultaneously in two locations as we again split our annual Spring lunch between a North Wales venue at the Cross Foxes, Dolgellau, and a South Wales venue at the Kings Head, Llandovery, allowing us to reach as many of our members as possible.

    We had a range of members attend, from Fellows of the Institute to Associate members, forest managers to arborists, giving network opportunities, discussions about the PME process that some members are currently going through with recently accredited Professional Members or just a catch-up with Fellow ICF members over lunch.  The Wales committee was also afforded the opportunity to speak with members regarding the up and coming events planned for this year.

    The members in North Wales were joined by Andy Lederer (ICF Development Director), and those in South Wales were joined by Allison Lock (ICF Events & Publications Manager), and ICF Council member Andrew Sowerby MICFor. This gave members a fantastic opportunity to speak with these key roles within the ICF in an informal setting.

    The Summer Field Visit was held in Abbey Cwm Hir, East Wales on 22nd June, themed ‘Changing Forest Landscapes’ looked at the relative approaches to PAWS restoration on the public and private woodland estates, Phytophthora ramorum, and a visit to a newly planted commercial woodland. Look out for the full report coming soon.

    We hope to welcome more members to our Autumn Conference and AGM on the 15th November, in Cardiff, on the theme of ‘Land Use in Wales: Where is it going?’.

    Jon Bell, Wales Regional Secretary

    South Scotland: Dispute Resolution: Professional Skills for Modern Forestry

    In May, the South Scotland Regional Group held an indoor event centred around professional skills for members in the modern age. This included professionals from outside of the sector who were invited to speak on specialist topics.

    Mark Fogden, Head of Savills Estate Management in Scotland, contrasted the formal and costly processes of court litigation or arbitration, with the consensus-building that can result from professional mediation. Discussion with the room concluded that, while not possible in every situation, mediation should be a professional tool that members look to when difficult conflicts arise.

    David Mckie, a Partner with Levy & McCrae, shared some of his long experience in wildlife and rural law. The conversation also moved to the interaction between increased drone usage in the rural landscape and existing ‘right to roam’ access. Current practitioners are navigating privacy concerns as best they can at present, however, it is clear that some questions may only be settled through additional legislation or court precedence.

    Our internal guests, Tim Liddon FICFor and Stuart Glen (ICF Member Services Director), then helped to put these skills into a wider context. Stuart set the scene for the room by discussing the fundamentals of professionalism and why the Institute feels that it is important to promote the level of trust that chartered status affords professionals. Tim, the Tilhill Forestry Director, then brought these fundamentals forward in relation to UK forestry. He emphasised the need for both professional record keeping and also continued training, in order to protect oneself and one’s organisation.

    The Regional Group thanks all speakers for donating their time.

    Tom Black MICFor, South Scotland Regional Secretary

    North Scotland Regional Group:  Plant and Planters Health in 21st Century – Challenges and Opportunities Facing Establishment

    Around 30 people met at Christie – Elite Nurseries in Forres, Morayshire to be introduced by Matt Hommel MICFor to the nursery. One of the five biggest tree nurseries left in the UK, they produce 8m trees annually, of which 6m are bare rooted. This is an impressive set up with many new innovative machines and methods. The biggest challenges identified during discussions were uncertainty over long-term demand, the support structure for landowners, availability of seed and labour after Brexit, and compliance over plant health.

    Moving on to the Darnaway Estate and, after lunch, Alastair Sandels FICFor (ICF Vice President), talked about the future of the Institute and potential improvements for the regions as well as the latest strategic developments by FISA. Alastair highlighted the need for cultural change, such as assessing the Health and Safety aspect first (together with any other constraints) on a harvesting site before it is put to the market (or not!). A lively discussion followed, with the consensus on practical, realistic and balanced solutions.

    Dietrich Pannwitz MICFor provided a short talk on the importance of mental and physical wellbeing of all staff and highlighted that there is much more help available nowadays than in the past.

    Ben Clinch MICFor CEnv, Woodland Manager at Darnaway Estate, showed us a small broadleaved replanting site within mature broadleaves and a seven-hectare recently clear-felled Douglas Fir stand. This was particularly steep (some parts >35degrees) and provided the backdrop for a discussion on how to manage the replanting safely and efficiently.

    Overall an excellent day, highlighting the need by Chartered Foresters for long-term planning and foresight whilst engaging with the nursery industry, creating new woodlands or replanting.

    Dietrich Pannwitz MICFor, North Scotland Regional Chair

  • Booking opens for the UK’s only dedicated Tree Officer Conference

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    The acclaimed National Tree Officers Conference will return to Telford, 6 November 2018.

    Last years’ outstanding event hosted more than 230 delegates from local authorities and private practice around the UK, who travelled to Telford last November. This is the only major conference dedicated to the needs of Tree Officers. More than 93% of last year’s delegates felt the content and programme met their reasons for attending.

    The National Tree Officers Conference is a unique gathering for professionals interested in all areas of local authority arboricultural work. The conference is crucial to tree, woodland and planning officers by providing a significant platform for collaboration, partnerships, benchmarking and an insight into current best practice and research. It will demonstrate industry innovation from across the UK and this year, there will be a European speaker providing an example of local authority tree management in Europe.

    This year’s conference will focus on a range of influential topics from leading arboricultural and urban forestry professionals:

    • International Diversity and Professionalism
    • Legislation and Protection
    • Opportunities and Biosecurity
    • Data Utilisation

    This event is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

    Quotes from last year’s delegates demonstrate the benefits and value of attending the only nationally dedicated Tree Officers conference:

    Miriam Hill MICFor, Tree Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said

    “The National Tree Officer Conference is a fabulous opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new colleagues. As all the speakers are fellow Tree Officers and Planners, every talk is filled with useful information, experience, and helpful hints. An exceptional day!”

    Elton Watson MICFor, Senior Tree Officer at Wrexham County Borough Council, said

    “Attending last year’s NTOC was definitely a worthwhile experience, the range and diversity of topics meant there was something for everyone. I thought the quality of the presentations was very good and the low cost made it some of the best value for money CPD available. The event was well attended, attracting not only Tree Officers but a number of private sector consultants. I will be attending again this year!”

    Amelia Williams, Arboricultural Officer at Test Valley Borough Council, said

    “I was fortunate to attend last year’s National Tree Officers Conference, as this provided a great opportunity to hear about innovations and progress being made by local authorities with regard to trees and tree management. It was also a chance to network and share knowledge with fellow tree officers and tree managers. Plus, time to meet traders from the industry and find out about the latest technology and developments in tree planting, species availabilities and data capture and lots more. It is a well organised and run event and, well worth attending.”

    Keith Sacre MICFor, Arboricultural & Urban Forestry Director at Barcham Trees plc, said

    “I attended last years’ conference and it was excellent. Inspiring hearing tree officers tell their story. It is long overdue that they had their own collective voice and this conference provides that forum.”

    Michelle Ryan, Arboricultural Consultant at AECOM, said

    “The National Tree Officers Conference is a great platform that showcases the fantastic work carried out by our Tree Officers and highlights the challenges they face.

    As a consultant in the private sector, it has given me a unique insight into the advances in local authority tree management, keeping me ahead of the game.”

    Booking information is available at

    Follow us @TheICF #TreeOfficerUK



    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Andrew Heald MICFor visits Uganda

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    Photo Credit: Thomas Hogben

    Chartered Forester Andrew Heald MICFor, Technical Director at Confor, visited Uganda. Andrew reports on his visit.

    A ‘blended return’ sounds like something you might order in one of Edinburgh’s many hipster coffee shops, but it was something I heard repeatedly on a recent WWF NGP study tour in Uganda.

    Uganda certainly has great coffee, but it also has one of the fastest growing populations in Africa and eye-watering rates of deforestation; between 1990 and 2005, Uganda lost over a quarter of its forest cover.

    Is it time for a new approach to tackling development and deforestation? Perhaps we don’t need a new approach but rather better communication and cooperation between some of the organisations and communities trying to achieve common objectives.

    I have been involved with WWF’s New Generation Plantation (NGP) Project for nearly 10 years. Initially, when I worked with UPM in Uruguay I was one of the participants, but in more recent years I’ve helped organise the study tours as part of a small team and also written some of the think pieces and reports.

    NGP brings together groups of local and international stakeholders, and we explore some of the social, environmental and economic challenges of plantation establishment and management. I am very grateful to Confor for allowing me the time off to continue this work, which is slowly helping to change attitudes about plantations.

    You can read more about NGP, the study tour and the insights report on the NGP website.

    In many ways, the conversations and thinking around ‘blended returns’ are similar to those about ‘public money for public goods’.  However I think they are also part of a wider landscape scale thinking, and the understanding of the need for a ‘social license to operate’.

    In reality what we are discussing are the opportunities to optimise the value(s) delivered by a forestry project for the widest range of people, whilst ensuring an appropriate return for the investor.

    The challenge(s) is/are whose values and which investors?

    Photo Credit: Thomas Hogben

    There can be many investors in forestry projects, with have a variety of aspirations, they include (but are not limited to)

    • NGOs – looking to plant or restore native habitat
    • Social impact investors – aiming to improve the livelihoods of communities.
    • Private investors – expecting a return on their capital and/or time
    • Local out-growers – switching their land from traditional crops
    • National (or local) governments – hoping for a combination of the above

    It is the last investor which is perhaps most critical, if the Government isn’t willing to support either financially or via regulation by creating a level playing field (illegal or unsustainable timber will always be cheaper) then any forestry project is likely to struggle.

    NGOs can often be successful in the short term, but sometimes struggle to create a business model to fund and expand the forestry project in the medium and longer term. Oliver Rackam’s quote that … “the wood that pays is the wood that stays,” is applicable almost anywhere.

    The challenge is how to create the funding structure which can balance the range of investors, and develop a safe(ish) and integrated land-use model,  and which delivers verifiable and tangible returns.

    This is no easy task, and there are no quick fixes. The American writer H.L. Mencken wrote,

    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

    I have some ideas about what this structure could look like and I am returning to Uganda later this year to explore whether it is feasible. The development of projects in the UK such as “Cloud Forest” and the Treenewable Climate Fund is hopefully indicative that this is an idea whose time has come.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Fine forests and wonderful woodlands honoured

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    The Institute was delighted to support the 2018 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

    The very best forests and woodlands have been honoured in Scotland’s annual ‘Tree Oscars’.

    The winners of the 2018 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards were chosen from an “outstanding” year of entries, according to the judges.

    The Awards programme honours the contributions made by woodland to people, the environment and the economy, with the winners presented with trophies and cash prizes at a ceremony at the Royal Highland Show.

    Winners from across Scotland – from Galloway in the south-west to Braemar in the north-east – received their awards from Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity.

    He said: “New figures have shown that Scotland is responsible for almost 80 percent of new forest and woodland creation in the UK. This is a testament to the value and importance of our £1 billion forestry and timber industry and the economic, environmental and social contribution it makes.

    “But behind all of this success, there are talented and passionate people whose dedication creates woodland resources for our communities, woodland habitats for our wildlife and woodland resources for our forest industries.

    “I am particularly pleased that the schools award is once again so well-contested – it is heartening to know that the future wellbeing of our forests will be in so many good and capable hands.

    “Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2018 celebrates and recognises fine woods and fine people and I congratulate all the winners wholeheartedly.”

    Angela Douglas FICFor, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said: “This has been an outstanding year, with a very high quality and wide variety of entries. The addition of the Farm Woodland Award has been a tremendous success, with a superb set of entries reflected in a winner, plus a highly commended and a commended entry.

    “We also saw a joint award, in the whole Forest or Estate category of the Quality Timber Awards. The judges couldn’t split the equally excellent Houston Farms Partnership for the Elderslie Estates in Renfrewshire and the Hunt-Grubbe Family Trust for Kenmore Forest by Inveraray, Argyll.

    “Also, the Scottish Government made 2018 the Year of Young People and we are delighted to be honoring three schools from Melrose, Motherwell and Fife, whose pupils might become the forestry leaders of the future.”

    The Farm Woodland Award judges were thoroughly impressed by the winner, Peter Gascoigne of Gascoigne Farm Ltd in Peeblesshire. He has planted 126 hectares on a hill farm in the Scottish Borders, combining “softwood trees for commercial use and hardwoods to be retained for future generations.” He has also built a farmhouse, steadings and ponds on the 385ha farm since buying it in 2002. In his entry, Mr Gascoigne said: “Our main farming enterprise is breeding quality lambs, and this can only be achieved in my opinion by creating warmth and shelter by planting trees given the altitude of the farm.”

    The judges said: “Mr Gascoigne’s efforts are an inspiration to other farmers considering planting woodlands on their farms. The owner is conscious of landscape design, with biodiversity, wildlife and conservation all factored [into] the woodland mix.” They said Mr Gascoigne had “demonstrated the direct benefit of the woodland to the agricultural business with productive conifer woodland starting to yield returns and more productive better quality lambs being produced on the farm.”

    Angela Douglas FICFor added: “We were only able to introduce the Farm Woodland Award thanks to the generous support of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland and Scottish Woodlands Ltd. Indeed, the Awards can only continue to thrive thanks to support from many organisations in the forestry sector across the tree nursery, children’s learning, forest management, NGO and sawmilling sectors.”

    In addition to trophies and prize money, all winners receive a specially- commissioned cherry wood commemorative plaque engraved with their winning details to keep, and a certificate.

    The 2018 winners were:

    Community Woodlands Award – Winner of the Tim Stead Trophy and the Large Community Woodland competition:

    K-Woodlands, East Kilbride

    Farm Woodland Award – Winner of the Lilburn Trophy for Farm Woodlands:

    Peter Gascoigne for Gascoigne Farm Ltd., Broughton, Peeblesshire

    Highly Commended:

    John Strachan for Tullo Farm, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire


    Iain Stewart for Gain Farm, Cumbernauld, Glasgow

    New Native Woods Award – Winner of the Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy for New Native Woods:
    Invercauld Estate for Craig Leek & Meall Gorm, Braemar, Aberdeenshire

    Highly Commended:

    Trees for Life for Allt Fearna, Dundreggan Conservation Estate, Glen Moriston

    Quality Timber Awards

    • New Commercial Woodlands category

    Winner of the James Jones Trophy for New Commercial Woods:
    James Jones & Sons Ltd. for Rig of Airie, New Galloway

    • Small Wood, Compartment or Single Stand of Trees category

    Winner of the Hunter Blair Trophy for Silvicultural Excellence:

    Sandy Paterson for Senwick Wood, Kirkcudbright Bay

    • Whole Forest or Estate category

    Joint Winners of the John Kennedy Trophy for Multi-purpose Woodlands:

    Houston Farms Partnership for Elderslie Estates, Renfrewshire and

    Hunt-Grubbe Family Trust for Kenmore Forest, By Inveraray, Argyll

    Schools Award – Winner of the Crown Estate Scotland Schools Trophy:
    St. Mary’s School, Melrose

    Joint Runners up:
    Our Lady of Good Age Cathedral Primary School and Nursery, Motherwell and

    The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery, Letham, Near Cupar, Fife.

  • National Clean Air Day

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    Chartered Forester Russell Horsey MICFor, Director at Goetre Villa Ltd, highlights how urban trees help make our towns and cities a cleaner place. 

    As cities across the world look to tackle air pollution car free zones, congestion charging and the use of electric vehicles have all been proposed. In London there is now a suggestion that the city also becomes a “national city park” and today on national clean air day there will no doubt be a myriad of blogs about the need to get give up your car in an attempt to cut air pollution.

    Urban trees have a significant part to play in helping make our towns and cities cleaner places to live, work and play. Urban Trees have been shown to improve air quality and reduce local particulate matter between 7 and 24%(1)(2)urban trees cool local air by up to 2 degrees which reduces building cooling energy requirements up to 300 metres from tree plantings(2).  The bigger the final tree size the more direct pollution it can remove and the closer the tree to the pollution the better it is at removing pollution with the best results occurring with 30m of a tree(2). This is why cities like New York are investing so much money and effort on their million trees campaign which sees 300,000 new street trees being planted.

    New York – A street planted as part of the Million Trees New York Project

    A recent research paper looking at Toronto in the Journal of Nature showed that having 10 more trees in a city block improves peoples heath perception and many papers have looked at the restorative health benefits nature provides.(3) This has lead the US Environmental Protection Agency to introduce urban tree cover as an emerging measure to help meet air quality standards, will we see something similar in the UK with the appointment of Sir William Worsley as the UK’s first Tree Champion?

    In UK cities we are seeing different approaches, Sheffield Council has just launched a marketing campaign to persuade drivers to give up their cars but at the same time fails to recognise the benefits of their existing street tree stock as it looks to fell an estimated 10,000 street trees although this could rise to 17,500 street trees during the remaining 20 years of its Streets Ahead Project.

    Meanwhile Bristol recently launched “Lets Talk Trees” a campaign that aims to double the cities canopy cover by 2050 in order to combat air pollution and enhance Bristol’s urban environment. The latter is interesting as it picks up on the results of work done through investment in the Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN).

    GBBN took a holistic approach to transport corridors across the city improving street furniture, signal operation, access to local shops, public realm improvements, planting hundreds of new trees along routes, improving bus lanes and the introduction of newer buses. GBBN has since become a Department for Transport showcase as well as winning numerous design awards. Bus usage, cycle usage and bus user satisfaction targets were met and exceeded, bus punctuality and air quality along routes improved and exceeded targets, road safety also improved for all users (4).

    Whiteladies Road, Bristol – Newly Installed Central Reserve Tree Planting

    A Chinese proverb suggests that “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is now”, but location and final size are important if we are to improve air quality. Individually trees can help remove pollution at source but more importantly adding trees and improving public realm along bus corridors is also a significant factor in getting people out of their cars and onto buses or bikes. Failure to look at all these elements and focus on one element will likely result in failure to change people’s habits and improve air quality.


    1. Nowak D.J, Crane D E & Stevens J.C (2006). Air Pollution removal by urban trees and shrubs in the United States.  Urban forestry and Greening.
    2. The Nature Conservancy (2016). Planting Healthy Air, A global analysis of the role urban trees in addressing particulate matter pollution and extreme heat.
    3. Kardan O, Gozdyra P, Misic B, Moola F, Palmer LJ, Paus T & Berman M (2015). Neighbourhood greenspace and health in a large urban centre.
    4. The West of England Partnership (2014). Greater Bristol Bus Network Monitoring Report.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • ICF welcomes new Tree Champion

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    The Institute has welcomed the appointment of Sir William Worsley as the ‘Tree Champion’ to expand England’s forest and woodland cover. The appointment has been made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP and follows through on a commitment made in Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

    Sir William’s passion for trees was evident when the Institute interviewed him for its Chartered Forester magazine in 2016, just after he became Chair of the National Forest Company. The Institute is delighted such an advocate has been appointed in this role.

    Andy Lederer, ICF’s Development Director, said:

    “The appointment of Sir William Worsley as the Tree Champion is great news. The role will help to promote increasing woodland creation and planting across England. One of Sir William’s challenges will be to promote the value – and need for investment – in local authority tree management across urban and peri-urban areas to ensure we maintain and increase canopy cover to the benefit of future generations.”

    Institute professional member Jeremy Barrell FICFor, Director at Barrell Tree Consultancy, said:

    “There is strong anecdotal evidence and improving research evidence to confirm that urban canopy cover is declining around the world, and that is certainly my experience in Britain.

    “Successive UK governments have failed to recognise the threat and act to reverse the adverse impact on ordinary people.

    “The announcement of a National Tree Champion is the best chance there has ever been to formally recognise and introduce the importance of urban trees into mainstream built-environment management.  These are exciting times and I will be doing all I can to support and promote this long overdue initiative.”

    Sir William has been tasked with setting a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands over the next 25 years and supporting the Government’s manifesto commitments to plant 11 million trees, plus a further one million in our towns and cities.

    Alongside the Government’s recently-launched review into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Tree Champion will help to improve the environment for the next generation and make the ambitions of the 25 Year Environment Plan a reality.

    The Tree Champion’s role will bring together mayors, city leaders and other key players across local government to prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees – alongside supporting the introduction of a new duty for councils to properly consult with communities before they cut down trees.

    With a number of grant schemes already in place to help landowners grow woodland cover, the Tree Champion will support the development of a future scheme outside the EU – one that encourages large-scale tree planting, reduces carbon and rewards landowners for enhancing the environment.

    As Chair of the National Forest Company, Sir William Worsley currently oversees the successful National Forest – which has transformed 200 square miles of industrial land in the heart of England and now attracts over eight million visitors a year,  helping wildlife like otters, water voles and dragonflies to flourish.

    Sir William Worsley said:

    “I am delighted to be appointed as the Government’s Tree Champion. Trees and woods are an important part of my life, as they are to local communities. They transform our landscapes, improve our health and wellbeing and help grow the economy.

    “I look forward to working with stakeholders and local authorities to promote these benefits and grow the country’s woodland cover.”

    For more information please visit:

  • Scotland delivers nearly 80% of UK new planting

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    The Institute is delighted to hear that there has been an increase in the yearly tree planting figures in Scotland. Figures illustrated that 7,100 hectares of new woodland was planted during 2017/18, a rise of 2,300 hectares from the previous year.

    Forestry Commission Scotland stated:

    Around 60 percent is ‘productive’ planting – specifically aimed at growing sustainable timber. This is the highest level since 2000, and is crucial in supporting the sustainable growth of Scotland’s home-grown timber processors, who have been investing heavily in recent years in places such as the extended Norbord plant at Dalcross near Inverness.

    The new planting figures would have been higher but extreme winter weather delayed over 800 hectares of planting until later in the year, too late to be included in the reporting period.

    In spite of this large rise, the annual target of planting 10,000 hectares each year has not been reached. However, plans and approvals already made for more tree planting in 2018 suggest that figures will be higher still for the current year.

    In last year’s spending review, Mr Ewing increased the 2018/19 Forestry Grants Scheme budget from £40m to £46m to enable more woodland and tree planting projects to go ahead next planting season.

    The year-long Mackinnon review of the tree planting approval process was carried out last year resulting in a streamlining of the procedures.  Combined with an improved Forestry Grants Scheme, the conditions for planting of all types of woodland have been greatly improved.

    Substantial woodland creation activity is already underway across Scotland, with many people involved, including farmers, community groups, private individuals and investors as well as forest nurseries and forestry contracting businesses.

    Already, over 9,000 ha of private sector schemes have been approved for 2018 and Forest Enterprise Scotland expects to create around 650ha on the National Forest Estate. A further 2,500ha of schemes have been submitted to Forestry Commission Scotland for consideration.

    The current 10,000 ha a year woodland creation target remains until 2020-2021 when there will be a stepped increase to 15,000 ha by 2024-2025.

    The UK wide National Statistics Woodland Area, Planting and Publicly Funded Restocking: 2018 Edition is available here.

    ICF Professional Member Andrew Heald MICFor said:

    “It is very positive to see the continued increase in new planting in Scotland. These new productive woodlands will help supply the recent multi-million pound investment in timber processing. We are seeing that the right Government policies deliver results, and hopefully England and Wales will soon catch up.”

    For more information please visit:

  • New quarantine proposals to protect England’s trees

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    Environment Secretary launches first Tree Health Resilience Strategy to protect England’s trees from pests and diseases for generations to come.

    Proposals to consult industry on new quarantine arrangements for high-risk plants are among the measures set out today (Friday 25 May) in the Government’s plan to protect the UK’s precious trees.

    Currently quarantine is used by some horticulture businesses as part of strong biosecurity measures against high-risk species. We want to explore how this targeted approach can be broadened out so we have better protection against harmful pests and diseases right across the industry.

    Once we leave the EU we will have the chance to tighten biosecurity measures further and take swifter, more targeted action against serious threats like Xylella.

    The Tree Health Resilience Strategy, the first major publication to come out of the 25-Year Environment Plan, sets out a new proactive approach to tree health, with landowners, charities, the public and government working together to take actions to build resilience against pests and diseases to protect the nation’s trees – worth an estimated £175billion.

    As part of this approach, a new senior cross-industry Plant Health Alliance to strengthen biosecurity practices across industry has been established. The Alliance brings together the country’s leading nurseries, retailers, tree suppliers, landscapers, foresters, the RHS and Defra to ensure an effective response to threats such as Xylella and Emerald Ash Borer.

    Launching the strategy, Secretary of State Michael Gove said:

    “The UK has a global reputation for setting the high standards for biosecurity of plants and trees but there is no room for complacency. We must seize every opportunity offered by Brexit to strengthen our biosecurity.

    “In 10 years’ time I want to be able to say our oaks are thriving, that pests are being kept at bay and that our woodlands and forests are flourishing.

    “Trees benefit our economy, society and wellbeing significantly and this strategy sets out how we will preserve them for generations to come.”

    The Strategy also includes:

    • Launching the ‘Don’t Risk It’ campaign this summer to raise awareness of the risks of bringing back plant materials from holiday destinations
    • Consulting with industry on contingency plans for key threats to our trees and plants to ensure a swift and effective response should new pests and diseases enter the UK
    • Strengthening protection against Xylella – maintaining continuous scrutiny of the risk situation and taking measures to maintain the strongest possible controls
    • Building knowledge and awareness of threats to trees to ensure accurate and up to date information
    • Working in partnership with the sector to drive up biosecurity standards through assurance and safe sourcing
    • Exploring strengthening of public procurement strategies to specify safe sourcing, and
    • Reviewing passenger baggage allowance for regulated plant material to assess whether it should be discontinued.

    Christine Reid, Head of Conservation for the Woodland Trust, said:

    “The Woodland Trust welcomes this strategy. It is an important step in coordinating the UK’s efforts to combat tree pests and diseases; we rely on our beloved trees, yet they are facing too many threats.

    “We need an effective biosecurity strategy, we need to plant more UK-sourced trees, and we need to develop the forestry sector. With the necessary knowledge, skills and capacity, we can ensure a healthy, resilient tree population.

    “This strategy outlines the key steps required, and has brought together the sector charged with making this happen.”

    Sir Harry Studholme FICFor (Hon), Chair of the Forestry Commission said:

    “Publishing this strategy is a critical milestone in our ongoing work to safeguard England’s trees.

    “It provides clear direction on how we can work collaboratively across sectors, to combat tree pests and diseases, to protect our beloved forests and woodlands for not only our current generation but for the future.”

    For more information please visit:

  • Time to #PledgeLessPlastic for World Environment Day 2018

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    The Society for the Environment is urging individuals and organisations to “pledge less plastic” for World Environment Day 2018.

    Following the announcement by UN Environment that the theme for World Environment Day 2018 is “beat plastic pollution – if you can’t reuse it, refuse it”, the Society is asking you to play your part.

    “If we continue business as usual, by 2050 there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight).” – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    World Environment Day (5th June) is the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. The global theme and host for World Environment Day changes each year to highlight a range of environmental matters.

    The Society champions the annual UN initiative, and this year, alongside a range of partners, they are encouraging individuals and organisations to share inspiring plastic reduction case studies and protect our environment by pledging to use less plastic. It is well documented that plastic waste is a huge problem globally and it needs to be addressed with positive action.

    With the help of social media and websites, the Society will be spreading the word about plastic consumption, especially single-use plastic, using the hashtag #PledgeLessPlastic.

    Vice Chair of the Society, Dougal Driver CEnv, said “Never has the environment been under so much pressure and so it is great to be part of the Society’s drive to reduce plastic pollution via a great mix of inspiring case studies and requests for pledges. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved and make a difference.” Dougal continued, “I look forward to highlighting some exciting examples at the SocEnv Awards and Lectures on World Environment Day.”

    CEO of the Society, Dr Emma Wilcox, highlights the significance of World Environment Day to Chartered Environmentalists and Registered Environmental Technicians; “It’s an opportunity to come together to focus on the issues that really matter to environmental professionals and to celebrate the great work they do every day. The Society is proud to be associated with the day.”

    Dougal Driver CEnv adds, “Of course the Society’s family are acting to improve the environment every day of the year, but World Environment Day gives us a focus around which we can get across powerful well evidenced ideas and engage the wider population in the local and global challenges we face.”

    To get involved and for ideas and inspiration, please download toolkits and resources from and create a pledge to make a difference or inspire others with your good practice case study.

    Example good practice case studies have been produced by supporting organisations including Siemens, Jacobs and Skanska. Take a read within the “Pledge Less Plastic” weblink above.

    IEMA, a Society for the Environment Constituent Body, and their Corporate Members have been instrumental in developing these resources.

  • Land Revival competition: learn about ecological and community restoration

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    Don’t miss this opportunity to win three different two-day tours through the landscapes of woodlands, forests and their communities (outline). Each tour will visit a cluster of sites in different parts of Scotland during the summer and autumn. This is a great networking opportunity to meet other upcoming professionals in your industry and is open to all young members throughout the UK. You will spend in total six days experiencing, listening and debating the future of Scotland’s land use.

    ICF’s Education & Scientific Trust will sponsor the cost of the tour to one lucky winner. It will provide up to £650 towards your travel and accommodation costs.

    Three Tours, One Experience

    On June 28-29 you will be visiting a large ecological restoration site at Glen Feshie plus smaller community projects which work with the local forest in the northern Cairngorms. The second tour will take place on 23-24 August in southern Scotland around the Moffat area. You will be visiting the impressive Wildwood project and have the opportunity to learn about riparian woodland restoration, foraging and the use of biomass. The final tour will be held on 18-19 October in north central Scotland, around Kilsyth, looking at land reclamation through reforestation, hunting and building resilient communities through green networks.

    Why attend?

    You will be left inspired by what you see and by the people who are making the ideas and vision become a reality. This experience will give you the chance to take part in active discussions on the positive and negative parts of each project and learn from others to help influence what Scotland’s future land-use could look like.

    How to enter…… it’s easy!!!!

    Simply tell us in 400-500 words why you would be a worthy winner. Send your answer to by 31 May 2018. The winner will be chosen on 4 June 2018. The winner must be available to attend all three tours and make their own travel arrangements to and from the main venue.

    A report for EST with photographs must be produced within 3 months of the last tour.

    Scotland’s Land Revival tour is being hosted by Reforesting Scotland.

  • Innovation on the southern pine forestry frontier

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    2017 Silvicultural Prize winner Dr Don C. Bragg explains Innovation on the southern pine forestry frontier.

    The lumber industry in the southeastern United States came of age during a period of rapid industrialization and population growth in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and southern forests produced billions of cubic meters of hardwood, cypress, and pine to meet the insatiable demand—but at a great cost.  The history of exploitive lumbering in North America is long and sordid, replete with generations of lumbermen, politicians, and large landowners convinced that the vast forests of this continent were limitless—and local communities left with the devastating consequences when they were repeatedly proven wrong.  In repudiating the lessons of centuries of European experience in both exploitation and conservation, Americans embraced the careless use of this resource for over a century until a looming threat of a national “timber famine” became overwhelming.

    But this was not the only land use crisis of the time.  Within a few decades, millions of hectares of virgin forests in the South had been cleared, and many were converted into agricultural uses—then considered to be the highest and best use of the land.  However, untold thousands of small farmers, most of whom subsisted with limited cash crops, soon learned that previously productive timberlands rarely became productive croplands.  Combined with poor agricultural commodity prices, general economic turmoil, periodic droughts, and the emergence of the boll weevil—a devastating insect pest of their primary cash crop, cotton—increased the desperation of these farmers.  When coupled with the widespread collapse of the once booming timber industry, rural economies across the South were driven to the point of imminent collapse.

    It would have seemed highly improbable, then, in 1925 that an innovative southern pine forestry future was on the horizon when two Yankee-borne engineers-turned-lumbermen scraped together enough money to take over operations of a small, struggling mill in southeastern Arkansas.  Within two decades these men, Leslie K. Pomeroy and Eugene P. Connor, had taken their ambitions to develop a southern pine venture using second-growth timber—almost unheard of at that time—into a viable operation that received national and even international recognition.  With an abundance of hard work, plenty of serendipity, and an amenable resource, Pomeroy and Connor adapted the material needs of their lumber operation and their lack of a sufficiently large landbase into a silvicultural system that produced a quality feedstock from many small landowners.  These landowners benefited from their uneven-aged system—“pine tree banking”—that provided them cash income as well as incentives to keep forests as forests and to improve them for the future.

    It is hard to overstate the innovation required in this distant outpost of the southern pine forestry frontier for these changes to occur.  The experiences of Pomeroy, Connor, and Ozark Badger, coupled with those of other pioneers (such as Russ Reynolds) in southern Arkansas, helped to support one of the most spectacular turn-arounds in natural resource management history.  Their work helped to restore this great forest region, vastly increased the productivity of second-growth timber, supported rural economic development and social justice, and even fostered elements of environmental education and international exchanges.  This once denuded region—with just under 2.5% of the world’s forest cover—now contributes about one-seventh of global industrial roundwood even as timber growth continues to exceed harvest.  Lessons learned decades ago in this remote corner of America show promise for comparably exploited regions today in other parts of the world facing similar challenges of deforestation, rural agrarian poverty, and the need for sustainable economic development.


    FAO.  2014.  Forest products yearbook, 2012.  FAO Forestry Series 47.  Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.  56 p.

    Oswalt, S.N., W.B. Smith, P.D. Miles, and S.A. Pugh.  2014.  Forest resources of the United States, 2012:  A technical document supporting the Forest Service update of the 2010 RPA Assessment.  USDA Forest Service General Technical Report WO-91.  218 p.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

    You can read Dr Bragg’s award winning research paper.

  • Doing it differently in Forestry

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    © 2018 Institute of Chartered Foresters / Julie Bee

    Over 330 professionals descended on the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 2-3 May, for the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ flagship national conference.

    Delegates at the two-day conference on innovation heard from an exceptional selection of both UK and international speakers on a wide range of subjects setting out what the future may hold and how the forestry sector can prepare for it.

    The conference offered an opportunity for delegates to learn about innovation in forestry through a real mix of sessions from the power of using real time-data, biotechnology, the circular economy, radar, thermal imagery, machine learning, drones and much more.

    The conference highlighted that technology is an enabler for success not a disrupter. The industry should embrace technology as a key driver for transformation and adaptability. Futurologist Mark Stevenson stated “Technology is not the answer. Technology is always the question.” This powerful platform showcased the technology available to our sector including artificial intelligence, robots, augmented reality and virtual reality.

    Fergus Ewing MSP opened the flagship conference providing a resounding endorsement of Scottish forestry. He praised the Institute of Chartered Foresters for raising professional standards and stated “conditions for growth and success in forestry and timber sector have never been better.” He also highlighted “It is time for forestry in Scotland to move to centre stage.”

    Following the Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Lickorish, formerly Cranfield University, suggested tools for our industry which included horizon scanning, risk prioritisation, scenario building, stress testing and visioning. Christos Matskas, Senior Azure Developer at Microsoft, spoke about the impact of IoT landscape and cloud centric approach and what comes next. Christos advised us that there are options to improve connectivity enabling foresters to do more to utilise the cloud. Jeremie Leonard, Senior Engineer at BioCarbon Engineering showcased the power of using drones to plant trees anywhere with precision. Jeremie explained that “drones are up to 40 times faster than using people to plant trees.” John Pineau, Provincial Leader – Ontario at FPInnovations (Canada) highlighted the main challenges of developing autonomous equipment in forestry. John pointed out that we need to develop a pool of skilled people to operate one or many robots, manage robots operations, build forest robots and service these new types of machines. Professor John MacKay, Wood Professor of Forest Science at University of Oxford, explained what part genomics play in technology.

    On Day Two Professor Iain Woodhouse, Professor of Applied Earth Observation at University of Edinburgh, explained the benefits of using satellite radar remote sensing. Iain demonstrated that this technology can see through clouds and identify clear felling within a forest. Enda Keane, Director at TreeMetrics, demonstrated the value of real-time data to make better decisions for harvesting and marketing. Professor Dr Christian Rosset, MOTI Project Manager and Professor of Silviculture and Forest Planning at Bern University of Applied Sciences convinced the audience of the power of MOTI’s mobile app, referred to as the ‘Swiss Army knife’ for forest inventories, for capturing dendrometric variables through a live demo of basal area sweeps. Many delegates downloaded the app while he was talking. Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, Head of Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University exhorted us to equip ourselves for future foresters.

    Delegates have been left truly inspired by what the future may hold and how our industry can be prepared for innovation.

    Presentations will shortly be available from the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ website and photos will be available on the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ Facebook page. The Institute’s National Conference was sponsored by A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products, Scottish Woodlands and Tilhill Forestry with additional support from: 2Excel geospatial, Forest Research, Sorbus International, Trackplot, and media partner Forestry Journal.


    For presentations visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFinnovate



    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Interview with Provincial Leader at FPInnovations

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    John Pineau

    Speaker Day 1: The Main Challenges of Developing Autonomous Equipment in Forestry

    The Institute interviews John Pineau as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: Innovation for Change.

    What innovation means to FPInnovations/what innovative development(s) it is working on?

    Innovation is pervasive to our corporate culture at FPInnovations. We are always striving to find new and better ways to work in the forest, and new and better uses for wood. Our Forestry 4.0 initiative will help to thoroughly modernize forestry in terms of policy, planning and practice, and will help to address critical issues and challenges in forest operations occurring within many jurisdictions.

    How you personally see industry/the world changing in the next 30+ years?

    We will see a great deal more automation through information technology and robotics in the coming 30 years. Although the forest sector has been somewhat slow on the uptake with these opportunities, it will come to realize some significant advances in this respect over the next few decades.

    How important is it, in your opinion/from FPInnovations’ perspective, that people attend this conference/similar conferences that look at what’s coming next ?

    Face to face gatherings like this conference are essential to knowledge exchange, building relationships, and creating opportunities to advance, innovate and to apply new science and research in a practical sense. Events like this catalyse change and improvement, and greatly complement the many types of modern communications media that we use to interact as forest professionals.

    What piece of advice would you give to a yourself if you could turn the clock back 20+ years?

    If I could turn back the clock 20 years, I would remind myself that it’s about being outside and in the forest as much as possible, kicking dirt with like-minded folks – talking and doing what is best for the forest and for our society.

  • Bright future for National Forest Estate

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    Scotland’s National Forest Estate now has a bright future and unique opportunity to strengthen its delivery of economic, environmental and social benefits.

    That was the key message from Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing when he undertook his first visit to Forest Enterprise Scotland’s (FES) headquarters in Inverness to meet staff.

    Now that the Forestry and Land (Scotland) Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, FES will become a new agency in April 2019 called Forestry and Land Scotland.

    Under the new agency, the National Forest Estate will have scope to have greater flexibility in the way it is managed for the people of Scotland.

    During the visit, Mr Ewing said:

    “There are very positive changes planned for the future of forestry and the new Forestry and Land Scotland agency will have a key role in making this happen.

    “Staff with enthusiasm, pride and professionalism are the backbone of any organisation. I’m very encouraged to see all those traits in the staff I met today in Inverness.

    “FES has a reputation for rolling up its sleeves and delivering on the ground and this will stand them in good stead for the new agency and beyond.”

    As well as visiting the headquarters, Mr Ewing plans to meet staff in the other local (FES) offices around the country.

    Under the new agency, there will continue to be the existing network of local offices and a headquarters in Inverness.

    Forest Enterprise Scotland manages the 640,000 hectare National Forest Estate which currently contributes over £1 million to the Scottish economy each day and supports 11,000 jobs across a range of sectors.

    Around 10 million visits are made to the National Forest Estate each year, bringing in £110 million annually to Scotland’s forest tourism economy.

    For further information please visit:

  • Dr Bragg A Worthy Winner of the 2017 Silvicultural Prize

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    The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to have awarded Dr Don C. Bragg, Research Forester and Project Leader at US Forest Service, Monticello, the 2017 Percy Stubbs, John Bolton King and Edward Garfitt Prize for Silviculture – for advancing our knowledge of silviculture.

    Dr Don has received this prestigious award in recognition of his paper entitled: The development of uneven-aged southern pine silviculture before the Crossett Experimental Forest (Arkansas, USA), published in Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 90, Issue 3. The Editors believe this is an outstanding paper which demonstrates our knowledge of the subject. The paper is a model of clarity and has provided a real challenge to the policy and practice of silviculture.

    On hearing the news, Dr Bragg said:

    “I am deeply honoured by the recognition of the Editors of Forestry for my paper on early silvicultural work in this remote corner of the United States.  For one who loves the history of forestry – and loves to share what I learn – receiving the Silviculture Prize is immensely gratifying and encouraging.”

    Dr Gary Kerr, Editor-in-Chief of Forestry, commented:

    This paper is an engaging historical review of the development of uneven-aged silviculture in Arkansas, USA during the early part of the twentieth century.  We recommend all professional foresters in the UK set aside a couple of hours and immerse themselves in a delightful account, diligently researched, of the work of two pioneering foresters.

    2017 Silvicultural Prize-winning paper is available to read in full on the Forestry website.


    Press enquiries:

    Hester McQueen,
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    Institute of Chartered Foresters
    59 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2JG
    Tel: +44 (0)131 240 1425


  • Nominations Now Open for the Environmental Professional of the Year 2018 Award

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    The Society for the Environment has opened the nominations for the prestigious Environmental Professional of the Year 2018 award.

    The annual Environmental Professional of the Year award celebrates an individual’s exceptional commitment or major achievement where their professional practice has made a real difference to protecting, preserving or enhancing the environment and advancing the principles of sustainability.

    The award can be won by a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) or Registered Environmental Technician (REnvTech) from any sector or discipline. Nominations are welcome for your colleagues, peers, inspirations or even yourself, as a self-nomination.

    Dr Phillippa Pearson MIWater CEnv, Catchment Manager at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, was announced as the winners of the 2017 award. In previous years, the Chartered Environmentalist of the Year award has been presented to David Stubbs (CIEEM, 2013), Professor Martin Bigg (IEMA, 2014) and Dr Lucinda Gilfoyle (IWater, 2015).

    2014 winner, Professor Martin Bigg, is keen to recognise the work of environmental professionals, and says;

    “Environmental professionals are facing bigger challenges and opportunities than ever before. We owe it to all in the profession to encourage and recognise the leadership being shown in working to achieve a sustainable future”.

    Martin continues with a personal reflection; “What was especially gratifying about receiving the award of Chartered Environmentalist of the Year 2014 was the appreciation of my peers across the environmental profession in making a difference. In some ways, it has meant more to me than academic or business success. It was an achievement to be proud of”.

    CEO of the Society for the Environment, Dr Emma Wilcox, said;

    “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase outstanding examples of work by registered environmental professionals. We are looking for inspiring individuals who have gone above and beyond in their field to protect and enhance the environment”.

    Nominations are now being accepted via the Society’s website: The deadline for nomination submissions is midnight on Friday 4th May 2018.

    As the Society recently announced, the Society for the Environment Awards and Lectures on World Environment Day (Tuesday 5th June 2018) will include the announcement of the finalists and eventual winner, concluding an evening of networking, expert lectures and presentations.

    Registration is now available for this event, which is free for CEnvs and REnvTechs. An early bird discount is available for aspiring environmental professionals and interested parties until midnight on the 5th May 2018. To register your attendance, please visit

    Professor Martin Bigg also offered encouragement to submit nominations;

    “There are many amongst our very diverse profession who deserve to be recognised and encouraged.  If you know of anyone who should be rewarded, please put their names forward.”


  • UK Food Security is not dependant on the maintenance of upland farming

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    Jim Reilly MICFor

    Chartered Forester Jim Reilly MICFor, PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, explains food security.

    What is security?

    Food security is a complex subject and it is perhaps helpful if we start by considering what is meant by security.  Security can be a disputed concept, because it means different things to different people.  However, one thing that we can all agree on is that security is about the protection of an object (a person or thing depending on your interpretation). I find it easiest to think of security as a continuum. The threat of certain death or the destruction of the nation-state and its institutions are at one end of this continuum while the building of a pedestrian crossing to protect road users is at the other. As we secure ourselves from the higher order threats, for example the threat of war or conflict we move down the continuum to lower order threats. In countries with poor security, we may fear for our lives, while in countries with good security we might be concerned with safety of women in gender-neutral toilets.  In practice security is also a matter of immediacy, which is why we burn coal to keep from hypothermia while worrying about climate change.

    What is food security?

    The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines four main dimensions of food security; these are availability, access, utilization and stability (of supply). According to the FAO, to achieve food security all four dimensions need to be fulfilled simultaneously. Many variables influence these dimensions, as they act and interact on each other. ‘Food security’ does not necessarily equate to self-sufficiency, nor to having a strong home-grown farming sector, although in certain circumstances, being able to grow your own food is an advantage.

    The advantages of self-sufficiency may seem obvious, but they do not form the whole picture. Agriculture (farming, horticulture and forestry) are all limited physically by climate and geology. Countries, and areas in countries, are limited in both the range of crops they can grow and the yields they produce. The UK for example could not be self-sufficient in rice nor olives and we import these foods. If we did not import foods, we would have to rely on a small range of crops, which is problematic. Where diets rely heavily on a limited range of crops, disease and crop failure become issues. Having enough farmland is a prerequisite for self-sufficiency. If you have too little land and too many people, you cannot be self-sufficient. Although arguments for maximizing self-reliance can be made, the efficiency of farming decreases at the margins with more effort being used to achieve less output. Also, increasing the area of farmland reduces the area of land in other uses. This has a negative effect on the environment and can cause for example, soil erosion, flooding, pollution, loss of wildlife, forest and wilderness.

    The FAO’s definition of food security includes dietary preferences, we can see that if rice, chocolate, coffee and oranges were UK diet preferences, then self-sufficiency and UK food security are not one and the same thing. With a population, too large to be supported from its own agricultural resources, a limited range of agricultural products, and a varied dietary requirement it seems reasonable to conclude that the UK must rely on both home-grown and imported food products to be food secure.  In this case, the strength of the UK’s economy (the ability to purchase goods) and its Naval forces (the ability to secure trade links) are as important as its farming industry.

    Most of our uplands have limited farm capabilities and are grazed for sheep. While arable crop production on lowlands can often be measured in several tonnes or more per hectare the productivity of upland sheep farms can be measured only in kilogrammes per hectare. The production of relatively low volumes of food from upland farms does not add significantly to UK food security. It can be argued that in supporting upland farms we are diverting resources away from more efficient food production systems elsewhere, making the UK less secure.


    In conclusion food security is about access to the ‘right-food’. It can be delivered in the UK through a mix of domestic and foreign production. A large population, limited land, limited cropping, threats from diseases, the reliance on imported inputs and environmental costs mean self-sufficiency is not possible, desirable or appropriate.  Concentrating on intensive arable farming and facilitating trade would maintain the UK’s food security. Upland farming has low productivity, is relatively expensive and of little relevance to UK food security.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

  • Long-Term Forest Planning and Professionalism Workshops

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    This April, learn about new plans for woodland management and requirements in Wales at a one day workshop run jointly between the Institute of Chartered Foresters, Farming Connect, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government.

    Ym mis Ebrill, dysgwch am gynlluniau newydd ar gyfer rheoli coetiroedd a gofynion yng Nghymru mewn gweithdy undydd a gynhelir ar y cyd rhwng Sefydliad y Coedwigwyr Siartredig, Cyswllt Ffermio, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru a Llywodraeth Cymru.

    This one-day event will focus on the new long-term forest management plans for woodland management in Wales and the requirements for Farming Connect woodland management plans, the latter being based on the new long-term FMP. The seminar will be shared with Glastir woodland planners, who will have their own further session from 15:00 to 16:00.

    Bydd y digwyddiad undydd hwn yn canolbwyntio ar y cynlluniau rheoli coedwigoedd hirdymor newydd ar gyfer rheoli coetiroedd yng Nghymru, a’r gofynion ar gyfer cynlluniau rheoli coetiroedd Cyswllt Ffermio, gyda’r olaf yn seiliedig ar y cynlluniau rheoli coedwig hirdymor newydd. Bydd y seminar yn cael ei rannu gyda chynllunwyr coetiroedd Glastir, a fydd â’u sesiwn pellach eu hunain o 15:00 tan 16:00.

    Long Term Forest Planning and Professionalism
    Programme / Agenda

    08:30 Registration & Refreshments
    09:30 Introduction from Chair (David Edwards FICFor, ICF Chair)

    Forest Management Plan
    09:40 Working Group Overview (Martin Bishop, Confor)
    09:50 Forest Management Plan: The Elements (John Browne MICFor, NRW)
    10:50 Questions and Answer session

    11:00 Break

    ICF and Farming and Forestry Connect updates
    11:15 Professionalism & CPD (Andy Lederer, ICF)
    11:40 Funding Opportunities (Speaker TBC, Farming and Forestry Connect)

    12:00 Lunch

    Improving your plans
    13:00 Sourcing Spatial Data (Alex Harris, Welsh Government)
    13:20 Forest Landscape Design Plans (Jill Bullen, NRW)
    14:00 Forest Regulatory updates (Jim Hepburn and Lajla Cash, NRW)
    14:30 Stakeholder Engagement (Evelyn Over MICFor, NRW & Alan Wilson MICFor, Tilhill)
    14:45 Question and Answer Panel
    14:55 Closing thoughts from the Chair

    Closed session for Welsh Government Glastir woodland planners
    15:00 Glastir overview (Welsh Government)
    15:15 Guidance and verification updates (NRW)
    15:30 PAWS and how it applies to you (NRW)
    15:45 Question and Answer Panel
    16:00 Depart

    Cynllunio Coedwigoedd hirdymor a Phroffesiynoldeb.
    Rhaglen / Agenda

    08:30 Cofrestru a Lluniaeth
    09:30 Cyflwyniad gan y Cadeirydd (David Edwards FICFor, Cadeirydd Sefydliad y Coedwigwyr Siartredig (ICF))

    Cynllun Rheoli Coedwigoedd
    09:40 Trosolwg y Gweithgor (Martin Bishop, Confor)
    09:50 Cynllun Rheoli Coedwig: Yr Elfennau (John Browne MICFor, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru (CNC))
    10:50 Sesiwn holi ac ateb
    11:00 Egwyl

    Diweddariadau ICF a Chyswllt Ffermio a Choedwigaeth
    11:15 Proffesiynoldeb a CPD (Andy Lederer, ICF)
    11:40 Cyfleoedd ariannu (Siaradwr i’w gadarnhau, Cyswllt Ffermio a Choedwigaeth)

    12:00 Cinio

    Gwella eich cynlluniau
    13:00 Cyrchu Data Gofodol (Alex Harris, Llywodraeth Cymru)
    13:20 Cynlluniau Dylunio Tirwedd Coedwig (Jill Bullen CNC)
    14:00 Diweddariadau Rheoleiddio Coedwig (Jim Hepburn a Lajla Cash, CNC)
    14:30 Ymgysylltu â rhanddeiliaid (Evelyn Over MICFor, CNC ac Alan Wilson MICFor, Tilhill)
    14:45 Panel holi ac ateb (a llenwi’r ffurflenni adborth FC ym mhecyn y cynrychiolwyr)
    14:55 Sylwadau clo gan y Cadeirydd (David Edwards FICFor)

    Sesiwn gaeedig i gynllunwyr coetir Glastir Llywodraeth Cymru
    15:00 Trosolwg Glastir (Llywodraeth Cymru)
    15:15 Arweiniad a diweddariadau gwirio (CNC)
    15:30 PAWS a sut mae’n gymwys i chi (CNC)
    15:45 Panel holi ac ateb
    16:00 Gadael

  • Drax and Treemetrics pushing the boundaries of innovation at the UK’s flagship forestry conference

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    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is pleased to announce that power giant Drax and Ireland’s ‘Internet of Trees’ technology-solution provider Treemetrics are now confirmed for its flagship National Conference, this May in Edinburgh.
    The conference will focus on how the fast-moving developments in science and technology, and the revolution they bring – from global economies through to the workplace, will re-shape the forestry and arboriculture industry. This powerful platform will equip and inform foresters and arboriculturists to face the inevitable changes ahead where innovation will drive long-term success.

    Treemetrics Chief Executive Officer Enda Keane and Chris Woods, Head of Digital at Drax Group, further strengthen the programme on day two. Enda joins Session 4, Emerging Tools for Tree Professionals, where he will talk about Treemetrics’ ground breaking work on real time data from harvester, working with the European Space Agency, future innovation and the potential impact on the forester’s role. Chris will then join Session 5, New Horizons, to explore how digital storytelling is changing communications including examples of the ‘cool stuff’ that Drax has done.

    Enda and Chris are part of a two-day programme that also includes Jeremie Leonard, from BioCarbon Engineering, who will address the session on Automation in Machine Technology, on day one. As a Chief Pilot, Jeremie will examine how drones can be used to plant trees. He explains why this topic is of great importance for the Institute’s National Conference:

    “The forestry sector has been lagging behind in innovating and adopting new technologies. However, there are many disruptive high-tech solutions that are breaking into the sector. I am very proud to be representing one solution that uses remote sensing to develop a 3D map in order to drive automated tree-planting. I believe that forestry will be changing rapidly in the next few years, and it is important to know where the next big thing will come from.”

    Over 290 forestry and arboriculture professionals will attend the conference at Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 2-3 May. If you are planning to attend, but haven’t yet booked, you are advised to secure your place as soon as possible as there are only 10 places left.

    For further information and to book visit:

    Follow us @TheICF #ICFinnovate


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Woodland Creation Design

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    Woodland Creation Design: One Day, interactive Workshops for Woodland Creation Applicants.

    Forestry Commission England and the Institute of Chartered Foresters are delivering interactive woodland creation design workshops across England in June 2018. These workshops will provide practical and technical information and advice on how to design new woodlands that fit within the landscape and accommodate features of interest.

    Forestry Commission

    Knepp Castle

    Each workshop will go through the different stages of the design process based on the principles set out in the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). Delegates will gain a clear understanding of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations for afforestation, including the information land managers need to gather and how this can be obtained. There will also be the opportunity to put any questions you might have to Forestry Commission England staff.

    In preparation for the workshops delegates will be asked to complete and return an EIA enquiry form based on an example site. Guidance will be provided on how to complete the activity which should take no more than 1 hour. This preparation exercise will enable delegates to feed in to the interactive aspect of the workshops to improve their knowledge via structured, technical learning. During the workshop delegates will continue to work through the case study to produce a Woodland Creation Design Plan.

    In addition to the workshop activity, presentations will be given on choosing an appropriate site, species selection and operational plans. These interactive workshops will enable delegates to:

    • Match objectives to available grants
    • Identify EIA management via grant applications
    • Identify constraints
    • Interpret ESC
    • Develop woodland creation design plans
    • Identify appropriate ground preparation

    Detailed agenda and speaker profiles

    Registration is mandatory and booking is open to all. As spaces are limited, early booking is recommended.

    Don’t miss your opportunity to attend this valuable CPD event.

  • Looking back at looking forwards

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    Fiona Lickorish

    Speaker Day 1: Future paths/drawing from other sectors

    The Institute interviews Fiona Lickorish, formerly Head of the Cranfield Institute for Resilient Futures at Cranfield University, as she prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: Innovation for Change.

    What piece of advice would you give yourself if you could turn the clock back 20+ years?

    Embrace and plan for change – it will happen anyway and often, it’ll be out of your control.

    Sticking your head in the sand and hoping that you can avoid change because you’ve ‘always done it this way’ won’t be enough to get you through difficult or turbulent times. Take the time to look up from your desk and take notice of what’s happening to the world around you; in your own field, but not just there. Get out of your comfort zone and explore what’s changing outside of your own knowledge base. Look for those things which are being developed elsewhere or for another sector, but could also impact on the way you work. Go with your instincts and be confident in your ability to spot new and emerging trends. When you know your stuff – and you do – you usually know what will affect your business too. These might be hazards to avoid, manage or mitigate, but also opportunities to exploit and, remember, if you fail to grasp an opportunity, but your competitor does, this might become a risk for you.

    Do your homework on emerging technologies and new ways of working. If you don’t know enough about an emerging trend, then don’t be afraid get advice by hunting down those who do and who can enlighten you. Accept and use criticism from the nay-sayers, and use their scepticism to make your work better. They’re probably as frightened of change as you are, if not more so.

    Be daring; take risks, but make sure those risks are calculated. Yeah, sometimes you’ll get it wrong, so be prepared to fail, but when you do, learn from it. Finally, when you’re proved right, be gracious – no one ever won any friends with ‘I told you so’.

  • National Tree Officers Conference 2018 – Call for Presentations Now Open

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    Building on the success of the last two conferences, the third National Tree Officers Conference is being organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). This is a great opportunity for tree/woodland/planning officers to present to your colleagues on the latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural and urban forestry work.

    The conference will be held on Tuesday the 6th November 2018, at the Oakengates Theatre, Limes Road, Telford, TF2 6EP. Conference bookings will open later in the year at:

    The submission period for presentation outlines that could be included at the conference is now open and will close on Friday 25th May 2018 at 17:00hrs.

    Outlines must include the following information:

    • Name
    • Email
    • Presentation topic
    • Presentation overview (500 word maximum)
    • Time slot required (i.e. 20 minutes)

    For guidance, some of the following subjects are suggested:

    • Planting & species selection
    • Pest & Disease
    • Highways engineer engagement
    • Contracts
    • Green Infrastructure
    • Planning conditions
    • Ecosystem services
    • Tree loss mitigation
    • Prosecution & Enforcement
    • Tree strategies/policy/tree database innovation

    Additional relevant topics may be considered, following review by the selection committee. Presentations will be reviewed by a selection committee (Andy Lederer, ICF; Matthew Seabrook, MTOA; Al Smith, LTOA; Jake Tibbetts, LTOA; Becky Porter, LTOA; Hester McQueen, ICF) and selection will be based on overall quality, appropriateness, focus and the practical nature of material and appeal to the audience.

    We look forward to seeing you at the conference, and receiving a wide range of submissions.

    Outlines should be sent by email to: Becky Porter, London Tree Officers Association


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Plastic with a purpose

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    Simon Place

    Associate member Simon Place, Account Manager at Tubex, explains how plastic still has a vital role to play in forestry. 

    I read with great interest Stuart Wilkie’s FICFor CEnv recent blog on forest plastic.  The first thing that struck me after reading it was why nobody had really written about this subject before?  The BBC show ‘Blue Planet 2’ has had a lot to do with the public suddenly sitting up and feeling guilty about how their plastic is dealt with after use.  We do indeed see discarded plastic in our woodlands (discarded being the issue as opposed to plastic with a purpose) and it seems, so far, that Forest Stewardship Council has turned a relative blind eye to this issue in the UK unlike Germany for instance where the ‘plastic litter’ must be removed from site and disposed of properly.  Discarded forest plastics will include, in no particular order: tree shelters, planting bags, oil containers, grease tubes, contractor yogurt pots (a pet hate of mine), crisp packets, water bottles, abandoned warning signs, pieces of vehicle under trays (from personal experience), shrink wrap, tree stake pack banding  and marker tape to name but a few – we can all list them and more.  Most of these are from forest operations and the people who work in the forest, so the issue is mainly being created by the people involved and should therefore be easy to resolve in the short term, unlike the wider global problem of floating plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean.  To single out redundant tree shelters as the main forest problem is a little unfair, but I agree they are the most visually prominent of our forest plastic issues, although it is all aesthetically displeasing no matter what the item is.  I think it’s terrific that a private commercial forestry company like Scottish Woodlands has taken the lead through Stuart to open up discussion on the subject of spent plastic in their managed forests, although I am slightly surprised at the lack of rhetoric following the publication last month.  It is a real concern for all people involved with the industry as to how plastic materials are dealt with at end of service life.

    Tree Shelters

    At the moment, it seems everyone now hates plastic with a passion and the images we see of the impacts on nature in the wider global picture are indeed very real and disturbing.  But there is no question in my mind that ‘plastic’ in its various forms and compositions is an incredible invention that has transformed lives around the world and is now a complete, integral part of all our systems whether we notice it in our daily lives or not.  The issue for me is clear; it is what happens at the end of the plastic’s use that is the area for concern for forestry, in the short-term at least.  The basic ingredient of a tree tube has not changed much over time being namely polypropylene (PP), which is widely used in millions of applications and is produced as a by-product from the petroleum industry – one of the oil-based plastics Stuart referred to in his blog.  These humble tubes have enabled millions of trees to grow over the last 30 years, which would have otherwise been eaten or killed with herbicide (another blog subject possibly).  I can just about remember the ‘Plant a tree in ‘73’ campaign, which was rather hastily followed by the lesser known but equally catchy ‘Plant some more in ‘74’ campaign, mainly because around 60% of the previous trees had died.  Had we had plastic tree shelters in such abundance then we would have seen faster establishment and quicker success as well as saving money and precious tree stock.

    Stuart mentioned that he had stopped believing the degradability claims many years ago as regards the breakdown of the tree shelters he had been using.  This is in part an issue caused by the application, rather than the product.  A PP tree shelter will breakdown in the sunlight over a stated time period due to the addition of a UV stabiliser to slow the natural degrading process and enable a service life (PP tubes are photodegradable as opposed to biodegradable) but once the tree inside the tube grows out, it casts shade and the degrading process slows down.   Also, early tubes had way too much UV protection and we do see 30 year old tubes of various manufactures still seemingly ready and willing to give continued service.

    Those pesky deer and rabbits

    The use of tubes to protect broadleaves (and increasingly conifers at shorter tube / wrap heights) from deer species and rabbit etc has several purposes, which has a bearing on the lifespan of the tube in the forest.  To start with, the young tree is protected from browsing and herbicide application, with the additional benefit of the microclimate inside the tube for faster establishment.  Once the tree has grown out of the top of the tube the removal timescale needs to be carefully considered.  Removing a tube too soon can expose the stem of the tree to deer rubbing and stripping, killing the tree.  The option many people prefer is to leave the tube on as long as possible as the tube continues to provide stem protection.   At this stage, the PP tube is probably around 8-10 years old and cannot be re-used for this sort of application.  What happens next is the issue we often see in the woods, as the tube is not needed any more and is left in the forest to break into pieces, fall over and get scattered in the wind or squashed into the soil.  It is at this time action should be taken by a responsible owner / forester to remove the tube from the tree before it disassembles itself in situ.  Discarded tubes can sometimes create extraordinary wildlife habitats if managed properly in small secured heaps with brash placed on top.  It is surprising what you will find in a hollow inert tube and can actually add to the biodiversity options.

    Recycle / The future

    As most tree tubes are made from PP, they can be easily recycled even though they are probably stained with 8-10 years of moss, weather and creature frass etc.  All that is required is to contact a company like Agri-cycle and they will send out a ‘dumpy bag’ in the post, which can then be filled with 200-300 old tubes and they will collect nationwide for a very reasonable fee.  The nylon ties can also be recycled too as can mesh protection, which is often made from recycled Polyethylene. The resulting material will be cleaned, processed and become wheel barrows, buckets and the like, which is a great PR opportunity for any organisation if nothing else.  As regards the future for tree shelters, this is a difficult one for sure.  We have seen non-plastic tree protection come and go over the years, some with questionable sustainability claims, but the main problem is light transmission.  A twin walled PP shelter is a strong product and the better ones let the light through at around 75%, performing as customers would expect. Using alternative materials has so far met with limited success, mainly due to light exclusion and poor strength, which is not a beneficial trait of any tree tube.  It is possible to look to new materials but the availability, cost and practicalities would make the products very expensive.  For now, companies mainly use PP for their solid tubes, which is inert and does not leach harmful chemicals into the environment as it is comprised of carbon and hydrogen, unlike PVC found in spiral guards, which contains high levels of chlorine.

    Sum up

    It might be apparent by now that I feel the forest plastic issue at present is not so much about the products used in the forest but about the desire, ability and resolve to deal with the arisings once we have finished with the application.  Going away from plastic generally will take decades, if we ever do.  Plastics still have a vital role to play in the protection of our natural landscape due to unnaturally high deer and rabbit populations in the UK, but we need to manage our plastic and take responsibility post-use.  I believe the forest industry can indeed keep the ‘green’ credentials and continue to use inert plastics in forestry.  Our plastic consumption and waste risk compared to other industries is microscopic and in our case, any plastic can be well controlled and managed on site.  As an industry, we need to get to know and understand the recycling options in a greater detail and balance this against the much wider plastic issues from Africa and Asia. The Economist recently ran an environment feature recently and stated that ‘last October scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, in Germany, found that ten rivers (two in Africa and the rest in Asia) discharge 90% of all plastic marine debris. The Yangtze alone carries 1.5m tonnes a year’. The UK forest industry looks quite clean compared to this but there’s no harm in aiming for the highest standards.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and Berry Global.

  • 2018 Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award Recipients Announced from the UK and Canada

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    The Institute of Chartered Foresters is pleased to announce the four recipients of the 2018 Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award.

    The Institute’s Student members Tom Haynes and Michael Wilson from the University of Cumbria were selected among talented competition as the United Kingdom applicants, while Daniel Root from the University of Toronto and Erin Pearson from College of the North Atlantic were selected among top Canadian recipients.

    Now in its fourth year, the Award program is fully endorsed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Award program is a UK-Canada partnership between The Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall, the Institute of Chartered Foresters in the UK, and CIF-IFC in Canada, sponsored by the The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

    “This unique and prestigious Award helps foster future forest leaders by recognising young professionals with a passion for forestry and natural resources management,” explains Dana Collins, Executive Director at CIF-IFC. “We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from previous Award recipients and employers, and are very excited to continue building on the success of this program again this year.”

    The UK and Canadian recipients will participate in an international work exchange in their respective partner countries during the summer of 2018. They will be placed in roles at some of the top forestry and natural resources management employers in Canada and the UK, in addition to receiving a bursary of £7,500 GBP to cover expenses. This year’s employers will be announced shortly.

    “I am delighted by the continued interest in this Award,” says Geraint Richards MVO MICFor, the Duchy of Cornwall’s Head Forester. “The Award will further strengthen our relationship with the Canadian Institute of Forestry. I wish Daniel, Erin, Tom and Michael, every success and I look forward to hearing about their experiences abroad.”

    Andy Lederer

    “The Institute of Chartered Foresters congratulates all recipients of The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award. This is a fantastic opportunity for future forest leaders. We are looking forward to welcoming the Canadian winners to the UK, and hope that it is an invaluable learning experience in both countries,” added Andy Lederer, Development Director at the Institute of Chartered Foresters.

    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen
    Marketing & Communications Officer
    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

  • Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards Executive supports #ILookLikeAForester

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    The winners of the Schools Award 2017, Underbank Primary, receiving their trophy from Jo O’Hara MICFor of forestry Commission Scotland

    In the run-up to International Women’s Day, many female foresters joined the ICF campaign and declared #ILookLikeAForester.

    There were reminders of historic breakthroughs, going back to the Lumberjills and further back to Margaret Sutherland, the first woman to qualify as a forester. There were many examples of modern women making waves in forestry – in Scotland, the Head of the Forestry Commission Jo O’Hara MICFor and Head of the Government Directorate covering forestry, Bridget Campbell, are women, as is the Institute of Chartered Forester’s own Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor.

    Many other women are working out in the field, in less public roles – among them Angela Douglas FICFor, a well-known forestry consultant based in the North of Scotland and Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

    Lilburn Trophy

    Angela does a fabulous job energising supporters, sponsors, judges to create a very attractive programme – and then encourages entries before delivering a wonderfully uplifting awards ceremony for the winners. The beams on the faces of the pupils and teachers of Underbank Primary School when they won the Schools Award last year were as wide as the Clyde.

    This year, Angela and her hard-working team of Trustees and judges have given themselves extra work – by introducing a Farm Woodland category. The Awards programme has been gifted the Lilburn Trophy by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland and thanks to support from the RHASS and Scottish Woodlands, Scotland’s Finest Farm Woods will be honoured in 2018.

    A new planting scheme on a farm in the Scottish Borders

    Farm woodland is a very hot topic as we all grapple with the future shape of rural policy and funding after Brexit. There is much more positive dialogue around the integration of different land uses and a move away from polarised positions of farm v forestry, or sheep v trees.

    This integration looks likely to gather pace as farmers and other landowners seek to diversify their business by planting trees. Some will just create small shelter-belts for livestock; others will deliver large-scale woodland creation, to provide woodfuel or to deliver a timber cash crop in the longer term.

    Shelter-belts on farmland in the Moffat area of Dumfries & Galloway

    For multi-generation farmers, there is often a deep-seated sense that planting trees is a failure of the business model. The Scottish Conservative Rural Affairs spokesperson, Peter Chapman MSP (a lifelong farmer), has urged a shift away from the that mindset – and suggests tree planting should be seen as a potential asset for farmers, a means to diversify the business and make it more sustainable in the long term.

    The Farm Woodland award will recognise farmers who can demonstrate that they are using their woods in a “sustainable and potentially enterprising way with responsible management providing direct farming benefits”.

    The best entry (or entries) will join the winners of the other categories – New Native Woodland, Community Woodlands, Quality Timber and the Schools Award, at the awards ceremony at the Royal Highland Show in June. It could be you.

    The bad news is that entries close on Saturday 31st March, so download the form and enter now: 


  • Interview with Chief Pilot at BioCarbon Engineering

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    Speaker Day 1: Planting trees using drones

    Jeremie Leonard

    Hester McQueen, ICF Marketing and Communications Officer, interviews Jeremie Leonard as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: Innovation for Change.

    What technological and/or other developments do you envisage making an impact on the sector in the next few years?

    In BioCarbon Engineering we are working on GPS tracking to monitor the growth of trees and we are developing the algorithm that would use remote sensing for biomass and carbon sequestration evaluation. We believe that data-driven decision-making on forest management and ecosystem restoration is the future, and remote sensing will play a major role in it.

    What scientific and/or technological advancements excite you the most?

    I am personally very excited about game changing technologies and mentalities, regardless of the field they are demonstrated in. I find that breaking from conventional knowledge in order to disrupt an industry and make it exponentially better is particularly inspiring. A great example would be the latest Space X launch. While being in the field in Myanmar, operating our tree-planting drones knee-deep in mud, we were finding the time to watch the rocket flying in space on our smart-phones.

    Why is your topic important for ICF’s National Conference 2018?

    The forestry sector has been lagging behind in innovating and adopting new technologies. However, there are many disruptive high-tech solutions that are breaking into the sector. I am very proud to be representing one solution that uses remote sensing to develop a 3D map in order to drive automated tree-planting. I believe that forestry will be changing rapidly in the next few years, and it is important to know where the next big thing will come from.

    What are the greatest challenges facing forestry in the future?

    With rapid soil degradation, agricultural run-off and the loss of farming land, agriculture and livestock are putting greater pressure on global forests. We believe that competition for fertile soil and climate change will be the biggest challenges for forestry, while smarter farming and data-driven decision-making could point towards the solution.

    What advancements over the last few years have excited you most?

    I have been fascinated by the advances in the drone industry. It started as a few university research programs, gained popularity through some toy-level products and are now being used across a large number of fields and revolutionise them.

    Specifically, the development of remote sensing and automated systems in forest restoration excites me most. This is also why I am doing my job as an engineer and a drone pilot of ecosystem mapping and tree-planting drones.

  • Searching for Scotland’s Finest Farm Woodlands

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    The finest farm woodlands in Scotland are being asked to step forward as part of a national awards programme.

    Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, which recognise excellent management as well as the creation of new young woodlands, have added a Farm Woodland Award for 2018.

    Any farm where tree planting or woodland management has made an important contribution to the farm business and/or the local environment is encouraged to enter. The winner will receive the magnificent Lilburn Trophy and £1000 cash, thanks to joint support from The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and Scottish Woodlands Ltd.

    Angela Douglas FICFor, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said:

    “Farm woodlands are an important part of Scotland’s landscape, whether they are shelterbelts for livestock, cherished native woodlands, productive conifers supporting a farming business or younger woods.

    “We are delighted to introduce the Farm Woodland Award to show how tree planting on farms, of whatever type, can contribute to a healthy environment and the economic viability of the overall farm business. The Trustees are very grateful to the RHASS and Scottish Woodlands Ltd for their support.”

    Jimmy Warnock, RHASS Chairman said:

    “Many progressive landowners in Scotland have recognised the benefits of incorporating woodland into farm management plans and have invested for the long-term reward for the environment, people and the economy of Scotland. RHASS is proud to support these inspiring individuals and to present the Awards programme with the RHASS Lilburn Trophy.”

    Ralland Browne FICFor, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands Ltd, one of the UK’s leading forest management businesses, said: “Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards are an uplifting celebration of excellent forests and woodland.

    “Scottish Woodland Owners’ Association, which evolved into Scottish Woodlands Ltd, helped establish the first awards back in 1985. I was lucky enough to win several of those awards on behalf of clients as a young forester in the late 80s and early 90s and I’m delighted, now as Managing Director of the company, to support continued excellence in the sector.”

    Martin Kennedy, Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, said:

    “This is an exciting innovation in the Awards programme and presents a real opportunity for high-quality farm woodlands which have shown a truly integrated approach to land management.”

    The Award is open to active farmers anywhere in Scotland. The area of woodland must be 2 hectares (5 acres) or more in size, with tree canopy cover (or the potential to achieve this for young woodland) of at least 20 per cent. Any young woodland must have had at least five years of growth.

    Farm woodlands entering the award will be used in “a sustainable and potentially enterprising way with responsible management providing direct farming benefits”.

    This might include: generating income from sustainably managed woods; using biomass, woodfuel or wood chips on site or selling them as renewable, clean energy; creating new woodlands to off-set carbon produced from agricultural operations; or for livestock shelter, sporting interests or other amenity use.

    Other awards to be presented at the celebratory Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards ceremony held at the Royal Highland Show on Friday June 22nd will be made to Scotland’s finest Community Woodlands, New Native Woodlands and Quality Timber, in addition to the Schools Award.

    The deadline for entries is 31st March. For full details, and to download an entry form, go to

  • Trioss’ Director to speak at ICF’s National Conference

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    Nick Pyatt, Director at Trioss

    Nick Pyatt, Director at Trioss, will address the Institute’s National Conference: Innovation for Change in May on: Adaptation Pathways – Adapting in an uncertain climate changing world. Trioss has a track record in tackling organisational resilience to a changing and uncertain future climate.

    Nick’s background:

    Nick gained a Forestry Diploma from the Scottish School of Forestry Inverness College, UHI, and a BSc in Agroforestry from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). Before studying at Inverness, he was a forest worker with the Forestry Commission at Delamere Forest, in Cheshire.  Armed with his Diploma, Nick joined Fountain Forestry in Caithness before embarking on a 20 year career in forestry overseas; spending much of it running the international forestry consultancy FRR.
    Since 2006, Nick’s work has broadened to address social and environmental sustainability challenges to the success of businesses including, though not exclusively, forestry. During the last five years this has increasingly focused on climate change impacts. His current assignments include work in UK, Australia, Kyrgyzstan and Zimbabwe, much of it including the adaptation pathways approach he will discuss in his presentation; Adaptation Pathways – Adapting in an Uncertain Climate Changing World.

    Nick gives the Institute a teaser for what’s to come in his presentation:

    The global climate is changing in ways that will change forest management decisions at some point; changing wind, rain and temperature. Forestry is a classic climate vulnerable sector; making long term, climate vulnerable.  At the current rate of change, the climate today will be different from the climate at the end of a rotation. Whilst the climate is changing, it is not possible to know precisely when different management decisions might be needed. It is possible to work out under what climate conditions current decisions would no longer be good enough within a range of climate outcomes that are possible in the UK. Knowing that, response pathways can be considered and the most helpful options identified.

    The infrastructure sector in particular is taking on this conundrum and is having success with an approach called ‘Adaptation Pathways’. Infrastructure planners also make long term climate vulnerable decisions. The approach was pioneered in planning London’s flood protection. It is now being adopted world-wide.

    London’s current flood protection is expected to become inefficient in around 2070. They know the most efficient and effective actions to take and who needs to take them. Climate change may progress more quickly or slowly, so triggers for action are based on actual changes in water levels and flows etc., which will be more accurate indicators than long term climate projections. What is more they know under what conditions the next actions will fail and how to respond.

    Under what conditions will the current Wind Throw Hazard Class calculation no longer be a good guide for forestry planning? What will be the most effective response for different decision makers? How will we know when to act? How do we ensure those actions happen? What are the answers for other key forest management decisions?

    The presentation ‘Adaptation Pathways – Adapting in an Uncertain Climate Changing World’ will introduce the approach and consider its value for the UK forest sector.

    Thank you Nick, looking forward to hearing you speak at the conference.

    Join the conversation: #ICFinnovate

  • Forestry without plastic

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    Chartered Forester Stuart Wilkie FICFor CEnv, Environment and Certification Manager at Scottish Woodlands, talks about forestry without plastic.

    Oceans of floating plastic, images of choking turtles, a ban on all ‘unnecessary plastic’ by 2042. The world is waking up to the environmental damage caused by oil-based plastics. I believe that while government may be moving on a 25-year timeframe, public opinion will make plastic use much harder to justify, in a much shorter timescale. Witness the rush by supermarkets and coffee shops to reduce plastic use.

    Can we be in the forefront, championing wood and paper as replacements for plastic while relying on the co-extruded plant bag and tree shelter? Can forestry keep its environmental credentials unless we also act?

    If the purpose of these blogs is to initiate debate, let’s take a critical look at forestry’s favourite plastic products especially the stuff we let fall apart in woodlands.

    The Tree Shelter

    I must admit that I cringe every time I reach the north end of the new Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Thousands upon thousands of tree shelters have been used in the landscaping. Was there not a more sustainable alternative, a better way of doing things?

    Do tree shelters really degrade to harmless products? I know of some that are over 20 years old and stopped believing degradability claims years ago. Clients are not always willing to pay for the removal of shelters, so many are left to break down into ever smaller pieces. Can we really accept that there is such a thing as a harmless flake of plastic in the environment any longer? With animals and birds found emaciated and dying having ingested a stomach full, can we as foresters really fill the food chain with plastic?

    It is not about the products of chemical decomposition, but the damage the physical presence of pieces of plastic does in the environment.

    Encouraged by successive grant schemes, foresters have embraced tree shelters as a panacea for broadleaf establishment, but are they? Have we become lazy in their use? Derek Patch’s article in the last issue of Chartered Forester was an interesting reminder of an all too common problem.

    Surely, as professional foresters, we can come up with alternative and innovative solutions beyond the tree shelter and demand more sustainable products when we do use them. The right tree shelter, and only in the right place?

    It is not just tree shelters of course. What about all those little bits of bailer twine around bundles of plants. Do your planters pick them all up and bag them?

    Plant Bags

    There was a time, it seems not so long ago to some of us, before the co-extruded plant bag. Trees were bee-hived or sheughed in (heeled in) prior to planting. We got by without trees in plastic bags and I think we were much more aware of plant handling. Bags are cheap, convenient, and unlike tree shelters, most bags are recovered from site. Perhaps bags are not the same environmental problem as shelters, (although many go to landfill). But we don’t need them. So, what does “unnecessary plastic” mean in terms of the government’s commitment. At what level would a plastic tax make us think again on their use?

    Accept the age of plastic is over

    Of course, things will not change overnight but we have a responsibility here. In the short term to reduce our plastic use and to recover plastic when we do use it. The challenge for the manufacturers of plastic products is to come up with a biodegradable (preferably wood fibre) alternative. As foresters we need to challenge the accepted way of doing things, lead innovation and put pressure on our suppliers.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. 

    Scottish Woodlands is one of the Headline Sponsors for the Institute’s 2018 National Conference: Innovation for Change.

  • Do you want to speak at the next National Tree Officers Conference?

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    Express an interest…

    Share your knowledge and experience with other professional tree officers in the UK, this is your opportunity to help bring excellence to the industry by presenting at the next National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC).

    With the last National Tree Officers Conference the most successful yet, we want to try and build on the quality and variety of presenters for 2018. Most of the presenters at NTOC 2017 had never delivered a presentation to an audience of more than 230 people before but they all did a fantastic job. Admittedly, some were nervous behind the scenes, prior to taking to the stage but every one of the Tree Officers that presented gave a confident and eloquent delivery.

    2017 National Tree Officers Conference

    Every delegate from a local authority has the potential to be part of the conference and present to your peers. The key is choosing a subject to present that holds personal interest or significance to you. This could be a project that you were involved with or led on that you are proud of; some scientific research; or just a process / procedure that has resulted in efficiencies for you and your team.

    Tree Officer Conference

    Thomas Campbell presenting at 2017 NTOC

    Don’t just take my word for it, click on the links below from some of the presenters from 2017 and some other case studies from presenters at the 2016 conference, to find out what made them decide to present; how they prepared; and what they gained from the experience.

    2017 Case Studies

    2016 Case Studies

    We are now looking for local authority officers that would be interested in presenting at the conference in 2018. From the feedback received in 2017 delegates advised that some topics that they would like to hear about in 2018 are Planting & species selection; Pests & Diseases; Highways engineer engagement; Contracts; Green Infrastructure; Planning conditions; and Ecosystem services. This is an indicative list and if you have another topic that you think would be of interest, feel free to let us know. If you are interested then please get in touch via e-mail outlining what your subject would be, a couple of sentences outlining what you would cover and the rough length of time you would need to present. We don’t need a long abstract or the actual presentation at this early stage.

    Express your interest today.

    If you’d like to discuss anything over the phone initially then please call Andy Lederer on 0117 916 6427 for an informal chat.

    Express your interest…

  • Microsoft and John Deere add weight to UK’s Innovative Forestry Conference

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    Recent announcements from the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) confirm that World-wide technology giant Microsoft and leading forest machinery manufacturer John Deere Forestry will be represented at its National Conference in Edinburgh this May.

    Innovation for Change: New drivers for tomorrow’s forestry, at Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 2-3 May, will look at the how the fast-moving developments in science and technology, and the impacts of world economics, will shape the forestry and arboriculture industry. The programme will explore not only how it impacts the way we work and new developments that will influence the sector, but also the human shifts of mind and ethics quite unlike anything we’ve experience before.

    Christos Matskas, Microsoft

    Joining an already strong speaker line-up, technology expert and entrepreneur Christos Matskas, a Microsoft Azure senior software developer, will explore the impact of an Internet of Things landscape and cloud-centric approach, which he said is important to understand:

    “Data is the new oil and right now there’s a massive drive in the industry to create data platforms that can be used to collect and analyse data.

    “Regardless of industry, data becomes the common denominator. Being in a position to understand how to work with this data to drive innovation will be vital. The ICF’s conferences is important because it exposes its audience to the various frameworks, platforms and tools that can be used to manage data and get meaningful insights to the future.”

    Also new to the programme, Jock McKie, UK Managing Director of John Deere Forestry, part of the American corporation Deere & Company, will turn to another area technological innovation – forest machinery automation.  Jock will highlight the importance of innovation in ensuring profitable future operations and look at how that will affect the existing workforce.

    Innovation for Change will be opened by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP.

    As more than 220 forestry and aboriculture professionals have already booked, if you do plan to attend you are advised to secure your place soon.

    For further information and booking visit:


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen

    Marketing & Communications Officer

    +44 (0) 131 240 1425


  • ICF East England: Forest School and the Power of Outdoor Learning

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    Mark Pritchard FICFor, ICF East England Regional Group Secretary, attended ICF East England: Annual Dinner and AGM 2018Mark reports on his experience.

    Andy Lederer, Sharon Hosegood FICFor and Mark Pritchard FICFor den building at the AGM

    The East England Regional Group’s Annual Dinner and AGM was again held at the centrally located Ravenwood Hall Hotel near Bury St Edmunds on 25 January. Chari, Andrew Coombes FICFor introduced our guest speaker, Mell Harrison, Education Manager with the Green Light Trust. Through a very engaging presentation, Mell discussed the history, aims, ethos and approach of Forest School. Six core principles underpin Forest School:

    1. Supporting a long-term process with regular sessions (ideally fortnightly) over an extended period covering all the seasons.
    2. Using a woodland or wooded environment and natural resources for inspiration and to foster and build understanding of and relationships with nature.
    3. Promoting holistic development to encourage resilience, confidence and creativity – at school, at home and at work.
    4. Providing opportunities for learners to take supported risks tailored to their development.
    5. Delivered by qualified practitioners who are required to maintain their competency through CPD.
    6. Creating communities for development and learning.

    In a first for the Region, Mell got members actively involved in their own Forest School experience with a spot of practical work involving lashing together sticks to form a variety of structures. Laughter reigned throughout! A copy of Mell’s presentation is available in the members’ area.

    At the AGM following an excellent dinner ideas were shared for the next years programme (wood fuel, harvesting damaged timber and tree safety and decay). A programme of events will be published shortly. ICF Development Director wrapped up the meeting by highlighting some notable headlines, including record membership and increased focus and support for ICF regions.

  • ICF 2018 National Conference Chair Chris Hamill explains the aims of the conference

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    ICF 2018 National Conference Chair, ICF Associate member Chris Hamill.

    We often think of change as an absolute process, however it is more like a constant evolution. Occasionally we experience huge leaps, where that change is obvious (for example the introduction of the chainsaw), still it is mostly incremental and can only be appreciated when reviewing longer periods of time. Amid the fourth industrial revolution, the rate of change can at sometimes be overwhelming, but we should also be excited by the opportunities that it presents.

    At this year’s ICF National Conference: Innovation for Change, we will explore the nature of change and innovation, as well as how this might affect our industry in the future. We know that in the information age, data runs almost every aspect of our daily lives. It is how we use this data that matters.

    How quickly will fully autonomous machinery be a part of the daily life of a forester?

    How efficient might we be in producing valuable products from our forests?

    In an increasingly networked landscape, real-time information will be passed from consumers, to mills, to the harvesting machine, to ensure that demand driven product is cut.

    We can be certain that new and exciting innovations will be part our future. How well we adapt to those innovations, and how they are incorporated into our daily lives, could be directly related to our success as an industry, both nationally and internationally.

    I look forward to seeing you all at the Conference, where we have an outstanding assortment of internationally renowned speakers to present on some key topics.

    Join the conversation: #ICFinnovate

  • Shireen Chambers FICFor visits Burkina Faso with TreeAid

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    Shireen Chambers FICFor (left) with the local major.

    Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF Executive Director, visited Burkina Faso in her capacity as Chair of TreeAid. Shireen reports on her visit.

    My first visit to west central Africa didn’t have a promising start, with a cancelled flight in snowbound Paris, but a few moments in Ouagadougou’s 38°C heat dispelled all memories of a European winter. The capital of land locked Burkina Faso is home to 1.8 million people, a tenth of the country’s population and like the rest of Africa, the youthfulness of its population is striking. Dry season is the time to travel so we set off to the north of the country to look at two projects where TreeAid is really making a difference to people’s lives. The Burkina staff are enthusiastic and passionate foresters and agronomists who clearly love their job. Their English being much better than my French, they also acted as very capable translators.

    We first looked at a dry lands project in Bassi, funded by the World Agroforestry Centre, where degraded land is replanted and regenerated using boulis (man-made reservoirs) to hold water enabling households to change from subsistence farming and emergency aid to sustainable rural development. Although water is currently absent due to the season, the difference in vegetation on one side of the gabion dam to the other was obvious. The main species planted was Piliostigma reticulatum which is put to multiple use: the leaves are mixed with millet for food, the oil from the fruit can be used to make soap and the fruit pulp feeds the animals. As with a number of TreeAid projects the women are targeted to ensure success in the value-added chain. During the long drive north I saw how nearly every tree that remained in the deforested landscape had been ‘pruned’ or coppiced to produce wood. Timber, as well as handmade bricks, is needed for construction and wood used extensively as fuel. Add to this the sheer number of goats and it’s hard to see how any tree survives here.

    Shireen Chambers FICFor

    Next we headed southwest to the commune of La-toden where TreeAid has been working with the Swedish International Development Agency since 2012 to decentralise forest management and put it in the hands of local communities. What a welcome we received! The women sang, the men made sincere speeches and we left with one live goat and two dead chickens. The success of the project was evident, not least in the carefully protected baobab seedlings regenerating for the first time, or the pride of the new forest guards in their smart uniforms and TreeAid bicycles. But the highlight to me was to be shown the new Shea Butter Processing Plant, run by a women’s cooperative, which clearly gave them economic clout and a stronger voice in the village.

    TreeAid has successfully worked in sub-Saharan Africa for three decades now earning the respect of local people and large aid agencies alike. As foresters we know that if the forests are protected the water and soils needed for agriculture will also thrive but it has taken a while for government agencies and NGOs here to learn this. I came to Burkina Faso expecting land use issues to be so very different to the UK, but perhaps our problems are not so dissimilar after all.

  • Interview with Professor Tariq Butt, Swansea University

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    Speaker day 1 on: Biopesticide-based products and strategies for control of tree pests

    Hester McQueen, ICF Marketing and Communications Officer, interviews Professor Tariq Butt as he prepares to address the Institute’s forthcoming National Conference: Innovation for Change.

    Prof. Tariq Butt

    Professor Butt currently works at the Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, where he carries out research in Plant Protection and Animal Health, Forestry and Biotechnology. He is internationally recognised for his work on the developments of insect pathogenic fungi for the control of pests which impact on tree health (e.g. pine weevil), food security (e.g. thrips) as well as vectors of human and animal diseases (e.g. mosquitoes, midges, ticks). Tariq is currently a project researching ‘Microevolutionary host-parasite interactions: development of insect defence reactions vs attack mechanisms of entomopathogens during coevolution.

    What technological and/or other developments do you envisage making an impact on the sector in the next few years?

    I envisage developing products and strategies that help reduce dependency on conventional chemical pesticides. Also I envisage exploiting synergies between control agents to optimise impact of control (reducing inputs and costs). I would like to see the sector making better use of insect pathogenic fungi as plant biostimulants as well as pest control agents. Finally, I think that developing strategies that optimise control e.g. lure & kill, stress & kill, push-pull, will make a real impact.

    What scientific and/or technological advancements excite you the most?

    Two that excite me the most are:

    • Use of biopesticides in protecting trees from pests and pathogens
    • Use of microbial biocontrol agents to stimulate growth and reduce dependency on conventional fertilisers

    Why is your topic important for ICF’s National Conference 2018?

    Swansea University is trying to develop environmentally friendly products and strategies which reduce inputs of conventional synthetic chemicals (many of which have been or are being withdrawn). Currently foresters are trapped between the withdrawal of many pest control pesticides and the lack of safe alternatives.

    What are the greatest challenges facing forestry in the future?

    I believe they are:

    • Invasive pests and pathogens
    • Adopting new technologies, e.g. use of remote sensing and drones used with ‘novo sensors’ for pest and pathogen monitoring
    • Adopting new approaches to dealing with invasive pests and pathogens e.g. schemes that avoid cut and burn (which denude the landscape)
    • Forests/woodlands being refuges for arthropod vectors of human and animal diseases

    What advancements over the last few years have excited you most?

    It would have to be greater communication/engagement between academia and those involved with tree health.

    Thank you Tariq, looking forward to hearing you speak at the conference.

    Join the conversation: #ICFinnovate

  • Maggie Wright shares her experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference in 2017

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    Maggie Wright, Development Manager at London Borough of Sutton, tells us about her experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2017.

    Why did you decide to submit an abstract?

    Maggie Wright

    Maggie Wright presenting at NTOC in 2017

    A colleague in a neighbouring borough suggested it – he said it would be a good subject of interest to a wider audience. I submitted my paper believing there would be no way it would be accepted, I presumed that papers for the NTOC are only submitted by arborists with many years of experience!

    How did you plan your presentation?

    I took advice from people who had presented to large audiences before. The subject of my research was a little dry (trees in planning) so I got some tips on delivery and how to keep the information on the slide to a minimum. I drafted and redrafted the slides months in advance.

    What did you learn from the experience?

    You shouldn’t script it – bullet point the direction of your presentation. I recommend not having a fall back script because you will rely on it if you panic. If you know your subject well enough you won’t need to script it and the parts of my presentation I am happiest with are the parts that went off-piste.

    What positive impact did it have on you?

    Confidence; delivering my research in front of hundreds of people gave me a huge confidence boost. The ICF and the LTOA were all exceptionally accommodating and it was a great networking opportunity too. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    You can view all the NTOC’s presentations on the Resource section of the Institute’s website.

    Sign up to the Institute’s Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any future NTOC communications and to get the latest news from the forestry and arboricultural sector, straight to your inbox.

    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

  • Jon Ryan, shares his experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference in 2017

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    Jon Ryan, Team Manager (Arboriculture) at London Borough of Islington, tells us about his experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2017.

    Why did you decide to submit an abstract?

    Jon Ryan presenting at the NTOC in 2017

    I sat in the audience the previous year and decided that I had no excuse not to submit an abstract. Although it would be outside my comfort zone I knew I had to present. This platform would enhance my career progression and give me an opportunity to present my experience of working with trees. Colleagues and friends had found it positive and it was also something that was expected with my role.

    How did you plan your presentation?

    After I’d decided to do it, I thought about what I could present that may be helpful to other tree officers and if there was a theme amongst those items to hold it together.

    I spent a lot of time looking at how to present and create PowerPoint presentations that weren’t too dull. There is a great Ted talk called ‘death by PowerPoint’ which I found very helpful.

    Once I’d got some ideas it was about linking them and getting the timing right. I then spent a lot of time standing in a room on my own practicing the presentation, I went through in full about a dozen times before the day. I focused on the start, memorising the first couple of paragraphs. Mentally I thought if I can get through the beginning, I’ll be alright for the rest.

    What did you learn from the experience?

    Public speaking isn’t easy but it’s rewarding. I had lots of positive feedback from peers afterwards. I’ll do it again.

    What positive impact did it have on you?

    It gave me confidence that I should challenge myself and reinforced my belief that we as tree officers should be helping each other out.

    You can view all the NTOC’s presentations on the Resource section of the Institute’s website.

    Sign up to the Institute’s Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any future NTOC communications and to get the latest news from the forestry and arboricultural sector, straight to your inbox.

    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

  • Sarah Kiss shares her experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference in 2017

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    Sarah Kiss, Senior Tree Officer at Southampton City Council, tells us about her experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2017.

    Sarah Kiss, Tree Officer

    Sarah Kiss presenting at NTOC in 2017

    Why did you decide to submit an abstract?

     I kind of got cornered in an NTOA conference call! I asked a question and someone said it would make a good presentation.

    How did you plan your presentation?

    Quickly! It’s a simple story with a beginning, middle and then a year on – so easy chronology to follow.

    What did you learn from the experience?

    It’s nerve-wracking just before speaking, but a supportive audience. It would be easier if we had a bit more time – I did all this in my own time as we simply don’t have time at work.

    What positive impact did it have on you?

    I think it’s great to share experience, and I learnt so much form other speakers it seems only fair to pitch in if we have something others might be interested in.

    You can view all the NTOC’s presentations on the Resource section of the Institute’s website.

    Sign up to the Institute’s Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any future NTOC communications and to get the latest news from the forestry and arboricultural sector, straight to your inbox.

    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

  • Greg Packman shares his experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference in 2017

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    Greg Packman, Aboricultural Officer at The Royal Parks, tells us about his experience of presenting at the National Tree Officers Conference (NTOC) in 2017.

    Why did you decide to submit an abstract?

    Greg Packman presenting at the NTOC in 2017

    It was originally suggested to me by a friend who attended the conference that I should consider doing this because I have built up a considerable experience and knowledge of Massaria through my work. As Massaria isn’t as well known outside of London but becoming discovered more around the country, it would be a subject that would be very applicable for the conference and one that there would be interest in. Sharing of knowledge and experiences is such an important educational tool that I felt that this was an important thing to do.

    How did you plan your presentation?

    I spent about 30 hours working on the presentation in total! Fortunately I was able to base it on my own experiences and knowledge, combined with others experienced with Massaria and the existing guidance documents and research. I broke the presentations into sections, starting with the context of Massaria in The Royal Parks and how our management will differ to other organisations and authorities due to our visitor numbers. Following this, a section on the research and our understanding of the biology so far; then identification methods for ground based surveys, management and finally what the future may hold for Massaria, areas to research and to build our understanding etc. As the presentation was primarily aimed at identification it needed to be very visual so I spent a lot of time getting the right images and building it into the presentation. Condensing everything I wanted to say into a 20min presentation was quite tricky as I can talk about Massaria for hours!

    What did you learn from the experience?

    That as nerve racking as it is leading up to the presentation, if you put the work into planning and preparation, deliver the content with confidence and know your subject all will be well! Despite the large audience number everyone is on your side and it’s a friendly place, we all have experiences and knowledge worth sharing and the people who would attend a conference like this value what you have to say. The self-imposed pressure to deliver a good presentation pushed me to research and learn more about the subject; leading up to it, as daunting as it may seem, once you’re on stage talking it is actually quite an enjoyable experience! Due to the variety of roles that tree officers undertake as well as our own career histories and personal interests or projects everyone has something worth saying from research to community engagement to innovative work practices as examples; being in the audience for the rest of the conference I learnt a lot as well from the other speakers.

    What positive impact did it have on you?

    This was the first time I had spoken to a group of more than 30 people at once; jumping up to around 240 was a huge leap and very daunting but afterwards you feel a huge sense of accomplishment, especially when people want to ask you questions or find out more afterwards and say well done. As someone who isn’t a fan of big occasions, being the centre of attention for any period of time or ‘having all eyes on me’ so to speak, getting up on the stage was a big challenge. Just prior to my presentation I was tempted to ask a friend to do the presentation for me! Basically, it’s a big sense of pride and achieving a real career mile stone; it’s also made me more confident and comfortable at the prospect of doing something similar again. I would strongly recommend anyone to submit an abstract for future conferences, the opportunity is fantastic and is important to showcase the role of tree officers, many of whom are leading the way in some areas of arboriculture.

    You can view all the NTOC’s presentations on the Resource section of the Institute’s website.

    Sign up to the Institute’s Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any future NTOC communications and to get the latest news from the forestry and arboricultural sector, straight to your inbox.

    Follow NTOC @TheICF 

  • Recent Fatality: Arboricultural Association response

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    Stewart Wardrop, Chief Executive Officer at the Arboricultural Association (AA), has stated the actions being taken by the AA to advise its membership, the wider arboricultural audience and relevant partner organisation of the tragic events relating to Mr Daniels death:

    Letter to coroner 2nd Feb 2018

    Safety bulletin

  • Plant Health Centre launched

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    Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has launched a new virtual Centre of Expertise for Plant Health during a visit to SASA this morning.

    Mr Ewing said:

    “Protecting Scotland from the environmental, economic and social consequences of plant pest and disease threats is increasingly challenging. That is why I am pleased to announce the creation of the virtual Centre of Expertise for Plant Health.

    “The Centre will enhance and complement existing structures to help to strengthen our resilience by bringing together scientific knowledge and capabilities across trees, crops and the natural environment. It will act as a focal point for disseminating knowledge and advice rapidly and building capacity to help respond to any new plant health threats.

    “Establishing this new virtual centre augments the work already being taken forward under the leadership of our Chief Plant Health Officer for Scotland, Professor Gerry Saddler. Our approach will ensure timely scientific evidence continues to inform our policy decisions and puts Scotland in a strong position to minimise the impact of any future threats to our plant health.”

  • Strong Collaboration between Professional Planners and Arboriculturists

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    The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has partnered with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) to deliver Trees in the Planning Process, a half-day seminar on April 13, in Oxford. It will highlight the importance of trees and landscapes in urban greenspace design alongside the considerations of those involved in the planning application process.

    While the benefits of trees in urban greenspace projects, such as for health, well-being and alleviating climate-related problems, are now widely recognised, less so are the benefits of closer collaboration between those on either side of the planning process. On the one hand there’s the vision of the tree and landscape professionals while, on the other, the practicalities for those considering the planning submission. Thus, the seminar will also emphasise how professions have to work together in order to understand how this is best achieved.

    ICF and RTPI experts will present on topics including trees in relation to design, demolition and construction; the importance of effective planning conditions and local planning policy; and examples of best practice in arboriculture and landscaping.

    It is expected that among those attending will be planning officers, town and country planning officers, arboriculturists, urban greening and landscape professionals, architects and construction planners.

    Andy Lederer, ICF Development Director

    Andy Lederer, ICF Development Director, will chair the first part of the programme. He said:

    “This seminar will be fantastic for professional collaboration and building best practice knowledge. Professional planners and arboriculturists will be able to improve their technical understanding and discuss key aspects of the planning process with presentations from both sides of the coin.”

    Trees in the Planning Process is supported by GreenBlue Urban and Lockhart Garratt.

    For further information and booking details visit:


    Media Enquiries

    Hester McQueen

    Marketing & Communications Officer

    +44 (0) 131 240 1425

    Notes to Editor

    1. The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) is incorporated by Royal Charter as the only professional body in the UK to award Chartered Forester and Chartered Arboriculturist statuses. Full details of how to join the Institute, and routes to professional membership are available on the ICF website:
    2. The Royal Town Planning Institute is UK’s professional planning body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning. Find out more:
  • Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2018

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    Fine forests and wonderful woods

    Planting trees

    Planting at Doune Ponds

    What makes a fine forest or a wonderful wood? As Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2018 seeks the latest cream of the crop, previous winners have a few suggestions.

    Sometimes it’s a long-standing project that has learned lessons over many years and become a shining example of excellence. Carrifran Wildwood in the Moffat Hills, joint winner of the New Native Woods Award in 2017 (with Mar Lodge Pinewoods in Braemar), very much fits that description. Judges said it was a “beacon of hope” for woodland restoration projects in the Southern Uplands.

    Doune Ponds in Perthshire is very different – a great example of an under-used and under-valued community asset brought back to life by a determined and very focused group of volunteers. The team’s efforts were rewarded with the Small Community Woodland Award in 2017.