Devotion to woodland research earns a medal

Oxford Mail: Dr Keith Kirby has 40 years of experience in the field Dr Keith Kirby has 40 years of experience in the field

THE TREES he roams in Wytham Woods near Oxford are known the world over among ecologists.

But the ‘oracle of woodlands’, Keith Kirby, pictured, is a much more humble figure.

The scientist, woodland ecologist and researcher at Oxford University has been given an award for his lifetime’s achievements, from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment Management (CIEEM).

The CIEEM Medal is in recognition of Mr Kirby’s “outstanding, lifelong contribution to the advancement of ecology, forestry and woodland management”, the organisation said.

But Mr Kirby, who lives in North Oxford, said his 40 years of experience in the field would seem like no time at all to some of the trees he studies.

The 62-year-old said: “It’s a great honour to accept the award but I’m also using it as an opportunity to reflect on those who helped me to get here.”

Dr Kirby has worked “on and off” at Wytham Woods, maintained by Oxford University, since 1974 and said the site had been important in his research.

He has also worked for the government conservation service, the Nature Conservancy Council and its successors, English Nature and Natural England, since 1979.

He said: “One thing you have to remember is that although I’ve been working in woods for 40 years, that is nothing to an oak tree. While I’ve probably aged quite a lot in that time, they barely look any different at all. You can’t take a short-term view with woodland, you have to be thinking 200 years ahead.”

He also said the ecologists of today may face even tougher challenges than his generation.

Dr Kirby added: “When I first started, commercial forestry was the biggest threat to habitat destruction, but that was something that changes in national policy could affect. Issues such as climate change and the ash dieback disease are much harder to control and cannot be resolved easily.”

Our top stories:

Blog: Jayden Parkinson trial

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson

7:45am Thursday 24th July 2014

Follow our coverage of the verdicts in the Jayden Parkinson trial today and then the reaction

Verdict: Ben Blakeley guilty of murdering Jayden Parkinson

Oxford Mail: Jayden Parkinson

4:22pm Thursday 24th July 2014

BEN Blakeley has been found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson.

Update: Buses terminating early due to city centre roadworks

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

10:07am Thursday 24th July 2014

BUS services will be terminating early until further notice after “severe” traffic delays hit Oxford city centre this morning .

Watch: New video of the proposed £75m Oxford railway and bus stations

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

THE future of Oxford’s train station is being unveiled today, including a new video, and has been hailed as a big step towards the city getting the integrated transport hub it needs.

Planning begins on city’s flood channel route

Oxford Mail: Allotments off Botley Road in Oxford inundated with flood water yesterday as levels kept rising                                             Picture: Lee Ingram

8:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

COUNCIL officials were taken around Oxford yesterday to look at potential routes for a new flood relief channel.

Posh boys join hip parade for charity

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 24th July 2014

WATCHING 15 Oxford students sway and sing on the steps of the Radcliffe Camera to Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie is not an everyday sight.

Comments

Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree