The 11th Jack Westoby Lecture - Enabling Women in Forest Sciences

The Jack Westoby Lecture

The Jack Westoby Lectures at ANU were endowed by the Westoby family in recognition of the many contributions of Jack Westoby (1913-88) to forestry internationally. Westoby was one of the most influential figures in forestry globally in the 1960s – 1980s, primarily through his roles at FAO and leadership of broader thinking about the roles of forests, forestry and foresters. Much of his writing on these topics is collated in “The purpose of forests” (1987).

Historical pictures of forest science meetings depict primarily, sometimes exclusively, male participants. We are not surprised about this as historical, cultural, sociological and political circumstances have not supported the involvement of women in forestry and in forest sciences; these have been traditionally male-dominated sectors in many countries globally. Female students have participated in higher education in forestry and the forest sciences for around a century in Europe, and for lesser periods elsewhere. While undergraduate and graduate forestry classes are now mostly gender-balanced, women forest science researchers are still a minority and rarely found in leadership positions.

In this Jack Westoby Lecture,  Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit will present some evidence about women in forest sciences, focusing on graduates and their professional life, perceptions and ideas for the future articulated by today’s female forestry students and about trends of women in leadership roles in forest sciences. She will draw from these to propose ideas for activities fostering women’s roles in forest sciences, in particular through international forest science networks.

Referring to Jack Westoby’s 1971 paper on forestry education[1], the basic argument of this Lecture is “not pleading for women” but “pleading for forestry” by providing an exploration of the state of the knowledge of these issues, as a starting point for discussion of pathways towards gender-balanced pictures of future forest science meetings.

[1] Westoby, J. 1971. Forestry education: to whom and for what? Chapter 7 in: Westoby, J. 1987. The purpose of forests: follies of development. Basil Blackwell, Oxford. 193 – 205.


About the Lecturer

Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit is Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany, and Vice-President of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO). She has undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen; and held academic appointments there, at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, before being appointed to the Chair at the University of Freiburg in 2014. She was Dean of its Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources in 2018/9, and became Vice-President of IUFRO in 2019.

Prof. Dr. Kleinschmit’s research focuses on forest governance in Europe and internationally. She has published widely, on topics including (but not limited to) the bioeconomy, discourse analysis, international forest governance, illegal logging and media communication. A primary goal of her IUFRO Vice-Presidency is the empowerment of women researchers in forest science.