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Forestry Australia new directors join the board

Jim Wilson

Forestry Australia has appointed two new directors and re-appointed a third. The trio was announced at Forestry Australia’s AGM held last night in Tasmania. Source: Timberbiz

Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon welcomed new directors Mick Stephens and Jim Wilson, who was elected after serving via a casual vacancy over the past 10 months.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to officially welcome two outstanding forestry professionals in Mick Stephens and Jim Wilson as our association continues to go from strength to strength under our new identity, Forestry Australia,” Mr Gordon said.

Mick Stephens

Mr Stephens is a resource economist based in Queensland with 30 years’ experience in policy development, advocacy and applied R&D in forestry and agriculture.

In 2008 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate agroforestry practices in North America and Europe, and in 2010 received a Gottstein Fellowship to look into active forest fire management in the United States and Canada.

Mr Stephens is currently the CEO of Timber Queensland.

“I am deeply passionate about the role of well-managed forests and forestry in developing and managing sustainable landscapes, which will be even more important in a carbon conscious world,” Mr Stephens said of his appointment.

“I look forward to contributing to the growth of the organisation under the umbrella of Forestry Australia and working with the Board and executive team to implement this vision. This represents a great opportunity to promote the relevance and visibility of forestry with land managers, policy makers and stakeholders, given the broad reach of forestry with its multidisciplinary underpinnings and benefits.”

Mr Wilson’s career has been focused in the private sector and he has invested his recent years working with Forico in Tasmania, as well as providing significant service to the forest sector in advocacy and leadership. Mr Wilson is a registered forestry professional.

He is also an active farm forester with both plantation and native forest in Tasmania. His experience and knowledge in these areas will bring a new dimension to the board and his recruitment is part of the Institute’s succession plans.

“We are increasingly recognised as an enabler to a significant climate change solution. My passion is with people and I’m interested in supporting the IFA/AFG as we mature into the merger, rebrand as a united entity, and recruit broader membership interest from all who are passionate about well managed forests,” Mr Wilson said.

Mr Stephens and Mr Wilson join continuing directors Bob Gordon (President), Dr Michelle Freeman and Dr Kevin Harding (Vice Presidents), Blair Freeman, Jan Newport and Dr Lachie McCaw on the Board. Board observer Leon Holt has also been re-appointed.

Leon Holt

Mr Holt’s background is in native forestry and the public sector in Victoria. He was awarded the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forest Management in 2019.

“I’m passionate about forestry and the future of our profession, and I have recently started out on what I’m sure will be an exciting journey as a tree grower. I think the IFA/AFG is increasingly providing a leadership role in our sector, and I look forward to being part of the institute as we continue to become more diverse, promote our brand, advocate for forestry, and deliver more and better member services,” Mr Holt said.

Mr Gordon also paid tribute to outgoing director Dr Peter Volker, who has retired after 10 years on the Board over the past two decades, including serving as president between 2005 and 2011.

“Dr Peter Volker has made a more than significant contribution to our association over the past years as president, director and an active volunteer. I would like to thank him on behalf of the Board, and all the members he has served so well,” Mr Gordon said.

Forestry Australia CEO Jacquie Martin said the latest results from the 2021 Forestry Australia member satisfaction study showed the association has experienced significant growth over the past 18 months.

“Our latest member engagement studies show that member satisfaction within Forestry Australia is very high, and member retention is above 93%,” Ms Martin said.

“Both these statistics demonstrate that the very ambitious three-year strategic plan is progressing well, with the association experience significant growth and momentum over the past 18 months.”