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Monbiot Provokes Rewilding Debate at ICF Lecture

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Monbiot Provokes Rewilding Debate at ICF Lecture

Right of access, farming subsidies and wildlife restoration were all under discussion at a stimulating lecture from George Monbiot last night (26 June), hosted by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF).

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George Monbiot gave the 2014 ICF Lecture on Thursday 26 June

The ICF Lecture 2014 took place at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, where almost 100 foresters, environmentalists and fans heard from one the UK’s leading advocates of rewilding, George Monbiot. The writer and environmental activist presented Feral – a view of rewilding, followed by a lively debate on the subject.

Lowland Planting Controversy

In Mr Monbiot’s own words, rewilding is ‘the mass restoration of ecosystems and reinstatement of critically important species that they could contain and did contain.’ He questioned the concept of upland farming and the subsidies by which they were funded, as well as attitudes to wildlife conservation, which often favoured certain species over others. Perhaps his most controversial statement came when he suggested that UK foresters should do as in South America and avoid planting lowlands, thereby ‘protecting the ranch from the rainforest, rather than the rainforest from the ranch’.

Following the thought-provoking lecture, a questions and answers session allowed delegates the opportunity to grill Mr Monbiot on issues like the sustainability of rewilding, the farmers’ vision for the landscape and which iconic species he would most like to reintroduce in Britain. The latter issue was addressed with a direct answer from Mr Monbiot – the lynx.

ICF Award Presentations

Also attending the lecture was the Right Reverend James Jones, who was presented with his Honorary ICF Fellowship by President Prof Julian Evans OBE. The award, which was announced in March of this year, was given in recognition of his services to forestry. The Rt Rev Jones spent 15 years as the Bishop of Liverpool, during which time he championed sustainability and chaired the Independent Panel on Forestry.

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(l-r)The Right Reverend James Jones, Prof Julian Evans FICFor OBE, ICF President, and Tom Jenkins FICFor, Head of Forest Research in Wales

Tom Jenkins FICFor, recently-appointed Head of Forest Research in Wales, was presented with his President’s Award. Tom has held the role of Examinations Board Moderator at ICF since 2010 and was honoured for his outstanding services to the Institute in March.

The lecture was followed by an informal networking opportunity over drinks and canapés, where delegates continued to debate the issues.

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Delegates debate rewilding while networking


Yorke Rob WEB

 Guest Blog

 In our guest blog Rob Yorke, Rural Commentator, offers his analysis of the event
 and the issues raised for foresters, conservationists and farmers.

 Read Rob Yorke’s Blog >>


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View Images

Images from the 2014 ICF National Lecture are available to view in our picture library.

Visit Picture Library >>

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