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New UBC forestry dean to focus on first nations, China

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
June 10, 2010
Publisher Name: 
Vancouver Sun
Marke Andrews
Author e-Mail: 
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John Innes, to be officially named as the new dean of the University of B.C.'s Faculty of Forestry today, said his priorities include developing links with China and other international partners, and working closely with first nations representatives.

Innes, who has been in the UBC forestry faculty for 11 years, has been working with China for much of his time at the school. He set up student exchanges with Nanjing Forestry University and Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University that brings third-year students from China to Canada to finish their degrees at the Point Grey campus.

"Our biggest priority will be developing international links for our faculty," said Innes, who succeeds Jack Saddler as dean. "I would like to see us embracing forestry around the rest of the world and making a contribution to forestry around the rest of the world, as well as B.C."

He also wants to focus on "the contribution we can make to help first nations communities make better use of the forests than they've been able to do up to now because of existing tenure arrangements."

The state of forestry education is at a critical point, he said.

"Many places around the world have to close their forestry programs because of the lack of interest in forestry, partly because of the state of the industry," Innes said. "People aren't going into it if they don't think there are jobs.

"There is always a need for our wood, and if we are moving to a green economy around the world and wood is seen as a sustainable material, then there will always be a demand for B.C. products."

On the biotechnology front, there is a lot of interest in cellulose products. In Europe, for example, a cross appears on the cellulose label of food once the sell-by date is reached.

Innes said the global focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions bodes well for B.C. forestry.

"We need to take advantage of that while we have the opportunity," said Innes, citing biotechnology and the relationship between forests and water as areas of interest for the forestry faculty.

In B.C. Innes believes the emphasis should be placed on the value of wood rather than the quantity of wood cut -- perhaps it's wiser to leave a stand of trees rather than to cut it down. "It may well be that in some cases the forest is more valuable left standing than cut," he said. Innes begins his six-year term as dean on July 1


Extpub | by Dr. Radut