ALASTAIR Sandels has been elected as president of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and will be supported in his new role by newly elected vice-president Sharon Hosegood.

Mr Sandels is managing director of Trioss, a company that works internationally on resilience and climate change, adaptation and mitigation and has entered his new role of responsibility at a time when demands on the profession have never been greater.

Forestry will have a critical role to play in combating climate change and providing wood fibre and timber as demand increases and on such a note, Mr Sandels is urging members to rise to the challenge:

“It is a privilege and honour to be President of the Institute. I hope as a profession we will look beyond the confines of our professional responsibilities to the wider challenges.

“If we don't embrace professional development we will fail to meet our potential. We need to be ambitious as an Institute and for the next generation,” he concluded.

Newly elected vice-president Ms Hosegood is the first Chartered Arboriculturist to hold her position and is also managing director of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates with expertise in planning and construction, tree hazard management, and tree radar.

On taking up her new role, she highlights that there are challenges to be addressed in the sector due to continuing pressures on trees and forests from pests and diseases, land use demands and climate change at a time when public awareness of tree management remains confused.

“At a time of low resources in the public sector and too few people with the right skill set and qualifications we need to keep pushing the importance of trees and forests for the well-being of our ecosystem and our communities,” she explained.

“We need to let people know what a great career choice this is. The importance of tree officers within local authorities is sometimes not recognised. I find it astonishing that at a time of great pressure on trees, especially our urban trees, and the measurable benefits they provide, some local authorities are not employing tree officers,” she stressed.