Forestry Australia has paid tribute to outgoing Vice President Dr Kevin Harding, who has announced his retirement from the Board as part of an ordered and planned transition to encourage fresh leaders to continue to grow the sector’s future.
Dr Lachie McCaw was elected to fill Dr Harding’s Vice President position which he will serve alongside current Vice President Dr Michelle Freeman who remains in the role.
Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon thanked Dr Harding for his “huge contribution” to Forestry Australia and its predecessors the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) and Australian Forest Growers (AFG).
“Kevin’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Farm Forestry and his willingness to pitch in and get things done led to the survival of the AFG in extraordinarily challenging times,” Mr Gordon said.
“He championed the merger with the IFA that led to the successful establishment of Forestry Australia and drove the integration process that ensured the voice of farm forestry continues to be heard.
“Dr Harding’s career as a research scientist has been important in providing scientific rigour to Forestry Australia’s deliberations and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with him.”
Dr Harding thanked Forestry Australia members and Board colleagues for the opportunity to serve on the AFG, IFA/AFG and Forestry Australia Boards, saying there was great momentum and positivity about Forestry Australia’s future.
“I thank all members for their generous support and assistance in giving me the privilege to serve AFG and IFA during a period of significant organisational change that has resulted in a stronger, healthy and expanding Forestry Australia organisation,” Dr Harding said.
“The newer members of the IFA/AFG and Forestry Australia Boards that I have served with in the last three years have made very significant contributions and I have great confidence that our next generation of members are ready, willing and able to step up and take the organisation forward.
“I strongly support the Chair and Board’s succession planning to stagger exits of more senior members of the Board to create opportunities to grow the next generation of leaders.
“I encourage all members to consider their capacity to serve on the Forestry Australia Board and committees or to contribute as a volunteer.”
Mr Gordon welcomed Dr McCaw to the Vice President role, noting his expertise in landscape management and fire would be of great benefit to the organisation.
“Dr Lachie McCaw AFSM has had a distinguished career as a respected landscape manager of fire over multiple land tenures,” Mr Gordon said.
“A previous chair of the WA division of the IFA and an active member of AFG he brings a perspective of both forest scientist and farm forester to the role of Vice President which will continue to be very valuable to our future endeavours.”
Dr McCaw said he was excited to take up the Vice President position and build on organisation’s success in advocating for responsible forest management.
“I’m looking forward to supporting the work of the Board in proving service to members and enhancing the profile of Forestry Australia as an advocate for responsible forest management,” he said.
Following Dr Harding’s retirement, Forestry Australia’s Board will be seeking expressions of interest from Forestry Australia members to fill a Casual Vacancy Position on the Board. This Director would serve until the next Annual General Meeting to be held in October 2022. Forestry Australia members will be provided with more details about this expression of interest process in the coming days.
Bio – New Forestry Australia Vice President Lachie McCaw
Lachie McCaw has worked in forestry since 1980 and is a Registered Forestry Professional (RFP) with skills in native forest management. He has extensive experience in bushfire research and management with a focus on forests, woodlands and shrublands in Western Australia and has published more than 80 journal articles and book chapters on fire. His professional interests include fire behaviour, fire climate and weather, and the role of planned fire in sustainable land management. He has been involved in a many aspects of native forest management including regeneration processes, thinning of regrowth stands and forest health. Lachie was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2021 and is an active volunteer firefighter with his local bush fire brigade. His spare time is occupied managing a 15 ha family forest at Manjimup in the southern forests of Western Australia.
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