It has been my goal to step back a little from what has been a quite committing career in the forest industry so that I can spend a bit more time doing some other things and tick off some other interests while the body is still young enough.
Stepping aside has not been without some misgivings however, as working within the Olsen team has been one of dynamism and a collegial interaction with a group of passionate and committed people of whom I have developed a great deal of respect and many friendships.
Forestry, like all primary land uses faces both exciting times and challenges. In a carbon constrained world, it stands on the threshold of a level of recognition for the ecosystem and economic services it provides that has long been lacking. Simultaneously though, we face challenges both from those seeking to retain the status quo in relation to a world that once was and those in wider society who would seek to extract greater benefits from these productive forests often at no cost to themselves.
The urgency of addressing climate change, domestic societal expectations and changing international resource and political landscapes are all going to impact every aspect of our future lives and for New Zealand, forestry is likely to be in the thick of those competing pressures and changes – for the better, I hope.
For those of you with whom I have been involved outside the walls of PF Olsen, whether it be forestry research, policy development or land use committees, thanks for the experiences and challenges. For me, I will be drawing a firm line under this next step as I disappear into my much longed-for South Islands mountains to walk the Te Araroa trail for a couple of months walking and contemplation.
In signing out, I will be passing the baton to a very able and committed co-colleague from the industry.
Art work by Fenella Richards