THE peak organisation representing some 1000 professional and scientific forest land managers in Australia is urging women and girls to embrace the opportunities available in the sector.

As part of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) Forestry Australia is celebrating the work of its female scientists.

Vice-president Dr Michelle Freeman said the forest sector provided women with a wonderful opportunity for a science career in the natural environment.

“Forestry is such an exciting sector to work in because it requires creative thinking to bridge science with community values, innovation with communication and technology with nature,” Dr Freeman said. 

“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this scientific community that is genuinely passionate about the art and science of ensuring the sustainability of our forests.”

Dr Freeman said by using their scientific expertise in our forests, women were providing innovative and creative solutions.

“We want to encourage the next generation of women to engage in STEM subjects and embrace the opportunities that science has for them,” Dr Freeman said.

“Female scientists are at the forefront of helping to solve problems around climate change, renewables and carbon capture.”

Tegan Brown is a PhD candidate with Forest Hydrology Research Group at the University of Melbourne. She says working in forest science was both challenging and rewarding.

“Women make great scientists, land managers and leaders, bringing diverse skills and lived experiences to their work,” Tegan said.

“Sustainably managing forests for all people and values in a changing world is a huge task and is such a rewarding sector to work in when you can make a difference.”

Kathy Lyons, forest scientist and senior manager forest stewardship with Forestry Corporation NSW, said females had played a critical role in the management of our forests throughout history.

“Women were traditional care givers of our forests for many thousands of years. As we encourage more women into roles to care for the land, we help to restore the traditional balance of looking after the land while it provides for us,” Kathy said.

Postdoctoral fellow at Australian National University School of Regulation and Global Governance, Depi Susilawati, said she was immensely proud her studies have contributed to improving timber legality and sustainability.

“I am proud to be able to contribute to improving timber legality and sustainability in the Asia Pacific wood value chains,” Depi said.

“This work ensures that timber sourced from sustainably-managed forests is legally harvested, transported, processed, and exported to international markets.

“Working as a female researcher in this area can be very challenging, but also exciting at the same time.”


MAIN PIC – Kathy Lyons … women have played a critical role in the management of our forests throughout history.