NW Jolly Medal honours outstanding service to forestry

A widely recognised expert in the areas of forest health and the application of remote sensing technologies, Dr Christine Stone, has been awarded the N.W. Jolly Medal, in recognition of her long-term commitment and ongoing contribution to industry R&D.

The medal is the Institute of Foresters of Australia’s (IFA’s) highest and most prestigious honour for outstanding service to the profession of forestry, named in honour of Norman William Jolly in acknowledgement of his contributions to the industry in the first half of the 20th Century.

Dr Stone’s many achievements include the increased awareness and eventual adoption by the industry of ‘disruptive’ remote sensing technology. She has led multiple research project collaborations in this area, resulting in the successful integration of remotely acquired data into management systems across the industry, with resultant benefits including improved precision, cost efficiencies and occupational health and safety.

Holding research scientist positions with Forests NSW and its antecedents, Dr Stone is currently a Principal Research Scientist, and Leader of the Forest Science team with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. In this role, she has been successful in securing ongoing funding for her team.

Dr Stone’s research has demonstrated the benefits of recruiting non-forestry experts from academia and technology to maximise innovation and improve the effectiveness and competiveness of Australian forest management.

Outside of this work, Dr Stone is notable for her mentoring and development of young scientific staff and supervision of postgraduate students, and the instrumental role she has played in the production of publications and technical presentations across national and international scientific forums.

In addition, Dr Stone is the current Chair of the NSW Forest Industries Taskforce R&D Advisory Group, a member of the national Forest Health and Biosecurity Subcommittee and of the Editorial Board for Australian Forestry.

Speaking about the honour, Dr Stone said her accomplishments have not been achieved in isolation and that her success is, in part, a consequence of working hard to make the most of the many opportunities the industry has afforded her.

“I’ve always been a big believer in collaboration and, as such, I’ve had the privilege to lead a great team, as well as numerous opportunities to collaborate with talented scientists from within other institutions and agencies,” Dr Stone said.

During her acceptance speech, Dr Stone took the opportunity to highlight the demise of the Australian forestry industry’s R&D capacity, and the significant gaps that are appearing as a result. “If this continues, it will negatively impact the sector’s future sustainability and competitiveness,” Dr Stone said.

“I believe this can be ameliorated by presenting today’s young professionals with similar R&D opportunities to the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to. Governments are stepping back, so it’s up to business leaders in the sector to take on this responsibility. If not, the sector will fail to attract and maintain the talented young talented people it requires.”

Ric Sinclair, Managing Director of Forest and Wood Products Australia said the Jolly Medal is a much-deserved honour in light of Dr Stone’s significant and long-standing contributions to the industry.

“We would like to congratulate her on this wonderful achievement, and the crucial role she has played in ensuring the success of our industry over the past three decades. Not only is Christine Stone a leading figure in Australian forestry R&D, but she has also acted as a significant and positive role model for women in forestry,” he said.

Source: fwpa.com.au

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