Andrew Woods has taken over as President of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) this month (October) as Sophie Churchill’s term of office comes to an end.
He thanked Sophie Churchill, OBE, for her two years of service, saying: “Sophie brought with her the particular skills and experience of her work with the National Forest, which were much appreciated and valued by the Society.”
Citing the need to increase public understanding of the importance of managing woodlands he said: “The message we need to convey is that there is more to forestry than just planting trees. The right choice of species for the location is vital, protection is important to achieve satisfactory establishment, and in the fullness of time maturity of the trees needs to deliver all the aesthetic, environmental and commercial results the original concept envisaged.”
He is also keen that a new generation is encouraged to become foresters: “Youngsters are drawn by interest in technical innovation and the large and expensive machines that some now operate in our woods and forests.
“But if the forest operations are being taken care of by a new generation of operators, the academic side of Forestry Studies must be protected. Because it is only a knowledge that there are rewarding careers out there in Forestry Management that will bring forward youngsters to pursue them. The danger is that without the demand for HE or FE study, the colleges will discontinue their provision of these subjects.”
Andrew studied at UCNW Bangor before taking up a job with West Midland Woodlands (now Abbey Forestry) in Worcestershire in 1974, eventually joining the Abbey Forestry partnership, becoming senior partner, and taking semi-retirement in 2013.
He has been a member of the RFS for many years serving in a number of capacities including as Chair of the Management Committee – now the Board of Trustees.
Sir James Scott, former Southern Division Chairman, has become Vice President.