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