As a small child, where did you grow up and what were your interests?
I grew up in Hobart and spent a lot of time at Coles Bay on the east coast. As a kid my interests probably centred around being outside in the sun and playing sport.
How did you first learn about or become interested in the forest industry?
Many people would know my uncle, Dick Chuter, so I have known about the forest industry for a while; although it wasn’t until my university honours project that I saw an opportunity for an ecologist to work in the industry.
What was your pathway to working in the sector?
My honours project was on Tasmanian tree ferns and through that project I met Fred Duncan who was the FPA’s senior botanist as the time. A year or so after completing uni I had a phone call from Fred asking if I’d be interested in working with him as botanist for a few months, primarily measuring and tagging tree ferns the Florentine Valley in the depths of winter. Who could resist?!
What do you think the industry does well in Tasmania?
As an ecologist, I have always been impressed with the dedication of the people working in the industry to take account of natural values when planning forestry operations. It is not always easy, and sometimes incredibly challenging, but I see individuals and organisations continually striving to meet this challenge and finding innovative ways to move forward.
What do you think are some of the industry’s biggest challenges?
Social licence – particularly of native forestry will always be challenging, and climate risks such as forest health. But there are also opportunities, such as carbon.
As Tasmania’s new CFPO, what are your primary duties or responsibilities?
My role is primarily to maintain and promote the independence of the FPA and to foster the coregulatory system, however I am quickly becoming aware of the diversity of the tasks the CFPO takes on!
What have been some of your most notable challenges or adversities professionally and how have you met them?
Finding ways to navigate some classic wicked problems, particularly in the space of threatened species management.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement to date?
I probably should say being appointed the CFPO (which I do consider a professional achievement), but I’ve also been extremely proud of being able to present the work of the FPA at conferences around the world.
On the weekends you’ll find me…
Facilitating my kids living their lives – or dabbling in a game of hockey.
This Christmas I’ll be…
On Tassie’s east coast, chasing the sunshine (I hope)!