East England Region AGM & Dinner 2017

Dr Hilary Allison MICFor

Dr Hilary Allison MICFor

Following ICF’s East England Region AGM & Dinner, Andy Lederer, ICF Development Director, highlights our guest speaker Dr Hillary Allison’s inspirational talk.

On 26th January 2017, the East England Region held their annual AGM & Dinner at the beautiful Ravenswood Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and this year the region invited Dr Hilary Allison MICFor as their guest speaker.

Dr Hilary Allison MICFor began the evening with a very inspiring talk, which set out three challenges for foresters and arboriculturists. She emphasised considerations to each challenge and potential options for success. Dr Allison is the Head of Ecosystem Assessment with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). She supports policymakers in planning and decision-making, and contributes to the promotion of environmentally sound decision-making as a mainstream activity on a national and international level. Prior to working for UNEP-WCMC, Dr Allison was the Director of Policy for the Woodland Trust for 17 years and has participated in several government-led processes on forest and tree health policy as well as leading advocacy work to enhance policy on woodland conservation.

Dr Allison’s 3 Challenges:

1. Acting Local, Thinking Global

This is not a new idea but one that emphasises the bigger picture. Taking different perspectives into account including the diversity of society and the diversity of demands is critical if we are to enhance the resonance of our actions on a global level. Personal development through travel and shared experience will aid individuals of all ages and at all stages of their careers in overcoming global challenges.

2. Forests as systems

In general, we understand that forests are ecosystems, but do we really take into account – when producing management plans – the fact that these systems are highly complex?

The ecosystem of a forest is open to external influences and human systems too; humans play a big role in a forest’s functionality and output. Our choices deliver outcomes and drive change for both trees and people. These ‘choices’ lead to the physical/visual outcomes resulting from the delivery of a specific forest management plan, but also to societal/policy level outcomes which affect communities in many ways.

A better understanding of how our management and policy decisions impact forest ecosystems – from guidance to implementation – will benefit the forest, our industry and society in the long term.  Should we see ourselves more as ‘human’ foresters?

3. A Peak Green, Political Post-truth era?

Two bodies which undertake research to deliver evidence for policy are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) but the dynamics of shifting political priorities and political personalities can be more influential than just producing facts and evidence. Therefore, foresters have to be armed with good evidence to make the case for woods and trees but also have to be able to deliver the message in an engaging and provocative format.

Next was the AGM, which recounted the four ICF events held across the region over the last 12 months: Epping Forest Study Tour; Nene Park Trust site visit; Alconbury Weald new development site visit; and evening meeting to look at ancient woodlands. All the events were well attended and the members felt they were very valuable and successful.

Event topics for this year were discussed, so keep an eye on the ICF events calendar and website for updates over the coming months. The members of the region will be emailed to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities.

Finally, there was the very important dinner, which was excellent and the odd glass or two of wine doing the rounds was well received by all.

About the Author

Andy Lederer
Development Director
Institute of Chartered Foresters

Andy started his career as a tree surgeon before moving to Epping Forest District Council as Assistant Arboricultural Officer. In 2008, he joined Islington Council as a Tree Officer, and later progressed to Principal Tree Officer for the London Borough of Islington. Andy has chaired the LTOA’s PR and Communications Group since 2010 and has been involved in Massaria research, working closely with other tree officer groups across the UK

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