Friday, 13 February 2015

Prof Oliver Rackham 1939-2015

Paris quadrifolia - an iconic woodland plant
Image: K. Walker
Very sad to hear reports from Cambridge that Prof Oliver Rackham died yesterday. His books include The History of the Countryside, published in 1986, just 6 years after he joined the BSBI. Richard Mabey described this work as "A classic of scholarship and imagination... written with humanity, dignity, concern and a great deal of humour" and the journal New Scientist said "As an aid to understanding the landscape, I haven't found its equal".

Prof Rackham was outspoken in his support of our woodlands, often ruffling feathers, as when he commented that mass tree-planting schemes were "not conservation, but an admission that conservation has failed." He also added his voice to discussions last winter about plans for biodiversity offsetting and ancient woodlands, and his book Ancient Woodland is considered a classic. 

Prof Rackham will be greatly missed, and BSBI would like to extend its sympathies to his friends, colleagues and family.