The Department is saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Martin Wood FRS. Sir Martin’s enthusiasm and commitment to sustain woodlands and forests for the future was long-standing and the contributions that he and his family make to local initiatives such as the Sylva Foundation have enormous impact. Martin and his wife Audrey were instrumental in the reinvigoration of forestry research within the Department after the topic had fallen out of favour in previous decades and the University closed the Oxford Forestry Institute.
The world’s forests are under severe threat and play a key role in stabilising the Earth’s climate system through their role in carbon and hydrological cycles. Through Martin’s vision and generosity, the appointment of John MacKay to the Wood Chair of Forest Science was possible and now the Department is the epicentre of tree genomics research.
The Wood Chair’s research includes work on tropical tree conservation and sustainable use, evolution of defense mechanisms, and a major programme on the improvement of the UK’s sitka spruce using genomics. None of this would have been possible without Martin, his vision and support - the Wood Chair is one of his many legacies.
Our thoughts are with Audrey and the family at this difficult time.