My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
is good to see that the momentum generated by the forestry debate earlier this
year is alive and well. The campaign to save our forests demonstrated the
huge value we place on our iconic landscapes and precious wildlife. The
Government’s response was to convene the Independent Panel on Forestry in
England, which is beginning to consider the various issues and options.
grass-roots movements that were formed in the midst of the forestry furore are
not represented on the panel. ‘Our Forests’ has been launched to co-ordinate
public opinion and will doubtless be lobbying panel members, including our own
Chief Executive, Mike Clarke. We welcome this – it’s important that the
national view is recognised and that people feel they are having a say on the
future of England’s public forest estate.
are lobbying Mike too. He sits on the Panel as an independent expert on
forestry. The public forest estate is the single most important direct
contribution the Government can make to restoring biodiversity on behalf of the
have been campaigning for decades for improvements to our forests through the
restoration of ancient woodlands and heathlands and the enhancement of historic
cultural landscapes. We will continue to do so. This may require some changes
to the way our forestry is managed but, when all’s said and done, it’s about
securing the right outcome for wildlife and for people.
In this context I think the Forestry Commission's remit/brief needs to be upgraded to make sure it acts in a much more wildllfe friendly way with biodiversity considerations first and foremost. While it has improved in that respect in patches I think there are still many cases where biodiversity is the last of their considerations
I also see, Martin, a report on the BBC today that at a meeting in Oslo, European ministers have agreed to plans being drawn up to protect all European forests. I hope this is an accurate report and maybe heralds a step forward for all Europe's forests.
Martin, This a particular issue of mine having grown up in the Forest of Dean. I do agree with the comment 'The grass-roots movements that were formed in the midst of the forestry furore are not represented on the panel'. Which is a pity because Forests are much more than just trees, they are about people and environment.
It is also a pity that the words being used within Government are not helpful. The recent comment during a parliamentary session that the sale of woodland has not been cancelled just suspended certainly won't help as it came before the panel had even started considering anything.
I do hope the Government will see Our Forests as being within the package of environmental messages that it has recently publicised.