SotF 2016 – Andrew Heald – Forestry Plantations: Sustainable Future or Unsustainable Past?

Wednesday 24 August 2016, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG

24th Andrew Heald A

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) predicts that the demand for forest products could triple by 2050. Tree plantations are likely to expand on a massive scale to meet this growing demand for timber, paper and energy. This could have a detrimental impact on both local people and also threated habitats. However it is believed that if planned well these plantations could have a positive impact on the natural environment and potentially improve the lives of people living around them.

In this talk Andrew will try to explain the positives and negatives about forestry plantations, both in the UK and in South America, looking at some of the mistakes where but also looking at some of the best practice examples where companies are developing business models based on long term sustainability rather than exploitation.

We all use the products of forestry plantations every day, we fill our houses with them, we read them and even sleep on them; Andrew will try to help you make positive choices about the items that you purchase and use; so you will know a little bit more about them and how what you buy can impact on forestry decisions on the other side of the world.

ANDREW HEALD is the Technical Director for ConFor, the Confederation of Forest Industries representing over 1,500 companies across the UK; he has over 20 years’ experience in the forest industry and has worked in the UK, Finland, Uruguay and Ghana.

He started his career working as a Countryside Range in his native North Wales, before working with Welsh Water, Tilhill Forestry and UPM, an international forestry & paper company. Andrew is an expert in sustainable Forest Certification and is leading a cross industry working group to simplify and improve the current system. He also works as an independent consultant and has recently completed a major Timber Scorecard Report for WWF, reviewing the timber purchasing practices of 130 companies ranging from Tesco to Orion publishing; and also on the WWF New Generations Plantations project.

Andrew is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, lives in Edinburgh and spends far too much time on twitter.

You can find out more at or by following him on twitter @andyheald

Skeptics on the Fringe is proud to be part of PBH’s Free Fringe. Our talks are free and unticketed, so come early to the Free Fringe’s spoken word hub at the Banshee Labyrinth to be sure of a seat.

We have a different topic every day, bringing science, reason and critical thinking to the largest arts festival in the world.

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