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 www.charteredforesters.org/event/icf-national-conference-global-forestry
Follow us #ICFGlobalForestry