“Dr. Jo Clark Receives Gold in Recognition of Her Herculean Task”

Dr Jo Clark, Head of Research at the Future Trees Trust, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) Gold Medal for her distinguished services to forestry. This marks the first time in nearly five years that the Gold Medal has been awarded, and Dr Clark is also the first woman to ever receive this honor.

The presentation of the award took place on Wednesday 15 May, 2024, at the Future Trees Trust Supporters Day at Buscot and Coleshill Estates in Oxfordshire. The Future Trees Trust is the only charity in the UK that is solely dedicated to improving broadleaved trees.

The President of the Royal Forestry Society, Ben Herbert, presented the award to Dr Clark and praised her for her contributions and knowledge in the field of future tree planting. He stated that without her tireless work, it would be difficult to determine which trees should be planted for the future.

John Leigh Pemberton, Chair of the Future Trees Trust, also expressed his delight at Dr Clark’s award, stating that her dedication and hard work over the past 25 years has had a significant impact on the UK’s forestry sector. He stated that there is no one else who has had such a positive effect on the industry.

The citation for her award highlights Dr Clark’s tireless efforts in improving timber species. This includes identifying the best “plus trees”, working with nurserymen, and conducting progeny trials to produce the finest genetics for seed orchards. Her work is crucial in ensuring that woodlands are capable of producing high-quality timber for future generations.

Dr Clark’s career in forestry began with the US Forest Service, where she worked on native species selection, tree breeding, and management of seed orchards and progeny trials. She holds a BSc in Plant Biology, an MSc in Natural Resource Management, and a PhD from Bangor University for her work on the adaptation of Ash to climate change.

After eight years in the USA, Dr Clark joined the Northmoor Trust as the manager of their research woodland. She then joined the Future Trees Trust in 2013 as the Research Coordinator and was promoted to Head of Research in 2018.

Dr Clark now joins an elite group of Gold Medal holders, with hers being the first to be presented since 2019. The last recipient was Geraint Richards, Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall, who received the award from Prince Charles.

The Royal Forestry Society’s Gold Medal is a highly esteemed award, and Dr Clark’s dedication and contributions to the forestry industry have made her a worthy recipient. Her work will continue to have a significant impact on the future of forestry in the UK.

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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