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The committee comprises a Chair, seven other members and a secretary. Five of the members and the chair represent the scientific and stakeholder community, one is the Head of Analysts at the Forestry Commission, and one the Forestry Commission’s Chief Scientific Adviser from Forest Research. The secretary is provided by the Commission, and the external members will serve terms of up to five years.

External members are appointed in line with the procedures outlined in the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees (GoScience 2011). Appointees are members in their own right and should not serve as representatives of stakeholder organisations.



Professor Julian Evans was formerly Professor of Forestry at Imperial College London, before which he was the Forestry Commission's Chief Research Officer (South). He is the author or principal editor of many research papers and 16 books on forestry. Professor Evans formerly chaired DFID's Forest Research Programme Advisory Committee, and has chaired international meetings on stakeholder engagement in forestry and two UN Inter-Sessional Conferences on the future of planted forests. He is President of the ICF, the UK’s professional forestry and arboricultural body, and his particular research interest is sustainability of intensive plantation forestry, for which he was awarded a DSc. He was appointed OBE in 1997 for services to forestry and the Third World.

Roger Coppock is Head of Corporate and Forestry Support at the Forestry Commission, with responsibility for research commissioning and tree health. Roger is a professional forester and a Fellow of the ICF, and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He joined the Forestry Commission in 1980, and has been a forestry manager in England and Scotland, database manager for the Commission’s forest growing stock, forestry advisor to Scottish Enterprise, and Head of Business Development Policy at Forestry Commission Scotland.

Professor Peter Freer-Smith is Chief Scientific Adviser to the Forestry Commission and Chief Scientist of Forest Research. He is a visiting professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, and did two periods of post-doctoral research at Lancaster before becoming a lecturer at the University of Ulster. He joined the Forestry Commission in 1987. In his current role he ensures that Forest Research provides the scientific knowledge and expertise required by customers, and that advice to policy makers and practitioners is based on good science and contributes to the formulation and implementation of the Commission’s policies and objectives. Professor Freer-Smith serves on Forest Research’s Executive Board and represents it on the Forestry Commission’s Research Strategy Management Board.

Dr Jaboury Ghazoul has a PhD from the University of St Andrews, and spent a formative year in Vietnam leading forest biodiversity assessments with the Vietnamese Ministry of Forestry. In 1995 he returned to the Natural History Museum as a post-doctoral scientist to run a Centre for International Forestry Research project addressing logging impacts on tree reproduction in Thailand. He was appointed Lecturer in Tropical Forest Ecology at Imperial College London in 1998, and Senior Lecturer in 2003. In October 2005 he moved to ETH Zurich in Switzerland as Professor of Ecosystem Management, where his research has focused on ecological processes relevant to plant reproduction, tree genetics, ecosystem services, forest conservation and crop production, particularly in the context of land use change in tropical forested landscape mosaics. Dr Ghazoul also served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biotropica from 2006 to 2013.

Professor Monique Simmonds is Director of the Innovation Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and heads the scientific team researching the economic uses of plants and fungi as well as evaluating the role of natural compounds in insect/fungi/plant interactions. She has more than 30 years’ experience in working with industry, and set up the Kew Innovation Unit as a platform to help co-ordinate consultancy and research projects that bring together biodiversity and business. Her aim is to increase the diversity of plants entering the trade, and show the importance and relevance of plant and fungal diversity to different business sectors as well as illustrate the economic links between the conservation and sustainable uses of natural resources. She has contributed to or written more than 300 scientific publications, and has a long-term interest in insects.

Professor Andrew Watkinson is Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He was until recently Director of Living With Environmental Change, an initiative involving 22 partners from across Government and the Research Councils working to optimise the coherence and effectiveness of UK environmental research funding. Before that he was Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, with a particular interest in flooding and the impacts of climate change on coastal zones. He was a lead author of the Foresight Report on Flooding, and has served on a number of Research Council, Government and programme advisory boards. He has broad inter-disciplinary research interests and a substantial track record of research in ecology, biodiversity and climate change. As Director of LWEC he played a major role in establishing funding for the current Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity initiative.

Peter Whitfield has a degree in forestry from Aberdeen University, is a Fellow of the ICF, and has spent 35 years in commercial forestry. After five years with the Forestry Commission in Wales and Scotland, he spent 14 years in Swaziland managing 70,000ha of pine plantations supplying 1m tonnes a year to a pulp mill. Back in the UK, he worked for BSW Harvesting Ltd before joining UPM Tilhill in 2002 as Timber Operations Manager and, since 2006, Timber Operations Director. In this role he is responsible for harvesting and procurement in roundwood and biomass for UPM's UK plants and export operations as well as a countrywide range of customers, including all the key UK processors.

Professor Clive Potter is an environmental social scientist at the Imperial College London who has interests in the fields of plant biosecurity, ecosystems services and stakeholder engagement. He is an interdisciplinary researcher who works extensively with colleagues in the natural sciences on major research projects. Professor Potter is committed to undertaking research which contributes to the development of government policy and the public understanding of science applied to the above fields. His principal areas of research are Agricultural restructuring, sustainable land use and rural governance and Policy learning and public involvement in the rural environment and biosecurity policy process.

Last updated: 18th August 2016