Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group
BSc Agriculture and Forestry
MSc Life and Environmental Sciences
Forestry career: 20 years
I started in research, before moving across to managing a seedling and clonal nursery. I have had my share of safety, health and environmental audits and putting systems in place arising from these. Before leaving the corporate world, I was responsible for integrated pest management at Mondi. I’m now a consultant using all of the above to assist the sector, while acting as secretariat for Forestry South Africa’s Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group, where I’m responsible for the day-to-day running of the group.
WHY I LOVE WORKING IN THE FORESTRY SECTOR
Honestly, if you do encounter any machismo and get past it, you will find that the forestry industry, especially in South Africa, is just like a weird, slightly dysfunctional family. It’s a relatively small world, where everyone knows everyone. But it is also super exciting with loads of challenges; you can literally be at the forefront of some very exciting advancements in plantation forestry. In South African forestry, change is the only constant. With changes in climate, new pests and diseases and improvements in technology, there is always room for new and creative thinking.
MY ADVICE TO THOSE EXPLORING A CAREER IN FORESTRY
Do it! In all seriousness, don’t let the machismo of the sector intimidate you. If it is truly what you want, then follow your dream. I remember registering at university and the professor telling me that I would change my mind about selecting commercial forestry over agro-forestry. We had the same conversation every year for three years … By the fourth year it was clear I was not going to change my mind. I am glad I stuck to my guns.