“Forestry… may be called the younger sister and the servant of Agriculture. Each of these arts is essential to the welfare of nations, and no people can be said to be wise, politic, or economic which does not pay attention to the advancement of both” (Nisbet 1905)
Oxford is nothing if not wise, politic and economic, and the appointment of a new Wood Professorship of Forest Science is exciting and timely. Forest-related information is of growing importance to a very diverse range of people and institutions around the world, and the University of Oxford has had a long tradition of generating just such information. Managed sustainably, forests provide long term employment and wood and non-timber products for use by society. In the UK alone forests contribute some £7.2bn per annum to the economy as well as providing havens for wildlife and biodiversity, and a source of relaxation and enjoyment for the millions of people who visit them each year. Globally, forests have unrecognized potential in furthering the development agenda. The State of the World’s Forests 2011 recognises the importance of forests to poverty eradication and identifies some key areas that require research in order to realise this potential. For forests to thrive in a constantly evolving environment, a sound evidence base to underpin policy or management decisions is essential.
The purpose of the Wood Professorship of Forest Science is to develop a research initiative that will generate the fundamental science necessary to underpin robust evidence-based forest policy. The Department is looking for someone with an exceptional record of academic achievements to provide academic leadership in Forest Science in the Department of Plant Sciences and throughout the University. This is a completely new post for the Department, which enjoys an internationally leading position in research and teaching in plant sciences, with a particular focus on biochemistry and systems biology, cell and developmental biology, ecology, evolution and systematics.
The Professor will be expected to contribute to promoting the ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ initiative within the Plants for the 21st Century (P21C) Institute. Further details about the post and the application process can be found here.