Speakers 17.12.2019


Pedro Albizu is Wood, Biomass and Energy Sourcing Director for the Spanish operations of Smurfit Kappa Group, a multinational paper and packaging company with operations throughout Europe and the Americas. He holds a PhD in Forestry Engineering from Madrid University as well as an MBA from EHU. He also serves on the Forest Committee of ASPAPEL and CEPI and served in forest certification processes as a member of the board of PEFC International. He also owns and manages forest lands that are PEFC&FSC certified. He was Vice-chair of Civil Dialogue Group Forestry & Cork contributing in an advisory role to the Commission services with declarations and resolutions on issues of relevance such as the Forest Strategy and its multi-annual implementation plan. 

Andrew Doyle TD was appointed as a Minister of State at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 19 May 2016. He was first elected to represent Wicklow-East Carlow in 2007 and was a member of Wicklow County Council from 1999-2007.  During his career as a TD he has served as Fine Gael’s spokesperson for Agriculture. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  This role gave Andrew an invaluable insight into the many issues and challenges facing the Irish agriculture sector. From a farming background, Andrew Doyle TD has brought practical experience to the various roles he has held and has continually highlighted the important role that the indigenous agricultural, food, marine, forestry and horticulture industries can play in Ireland’s economic recovery.

Mihail Dumitru is currently Deputy Director General at the European Commission’s DG Agriculture and Rural Development, a position he was appointed to in January 2017. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania, he worked 3 years in a large state-owned farm in Prahova county, South Romania. After this experience he moved into economic research carrying research studies in agricultural- and rural economics at the Institute of Agricultural Economics Bucharest a constituent institute of Romanian Academy where he was head of a research department. In 1995 he joined the Delegation of the European Commission in Bucharest where he followed the whole process of Romania’s accession to the EU, being in charge of agriculture and other related sectors. In 2006 he joined DG AGRI where he was in charge of negotiation of the first rural development program (2007-2013) of Romania co-financed by EAFRD. In 2010, Dumitru became Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Romania and re-joined the European Commission in early 2011 where he took over a directorate in charge of Rural development programs.

Peter Freer-Smith is currently leading an EFI From Science to Policy review entitled “Plantation Forests in Europe; Challenges and Opportunities” and is engaged in research on the use of biomass to meet California’s air quality and climate objectives. He is a Research Fellow for Forest Research UK, is Deputy Coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force “Sustainable Planted Forests for a Greener Future” and is on the California, Board of Forestry & Fire Protection, Effectiveness Monitoring Committee.

Bart Muys is a Professor of Forest Ecology and Management at KU Leuven, Belgium, where he is teaching biological production systems, silviculture, planning for forest and nature management, and biodiversity & ecosystem services. His research focuses on the sustainable optimization of forest management for multiple ecosystem services, and is highly cited. He developed tools for land use impact assessment of forestry and for decision support to handle trade-offs between wood production, carbon sequestration and water recharge. Recently, he investigates the mechanisms behind positive biodiversity-productivity and biodiversity-stability relationships in forests under climate change. He regularly writes for EFI’s policy series with contributions on biomass, circular bioeconomy, water and plantation forestry.

Luis Neves Silva is a Forest Engineer, specialised in Natural Resources Management, graduated from UTL-ISA (Lisbon). Luis heads the New Generation Plantations, a platform from WWF with the world Tree leading corporations, where he applies Landscape Stewardship to Plantations inclusive development to meet the increasing demand from a bio-economy. With 25 years of professional experience, worked in the private sector in Portugal (1995|2005), in forest certification in the Mediterranean (2005|2010), and with WWF internationally (2005|present). Luis is member of the IUFRO Resilient Planted Forests Serving Society & Bio-economy Task Force, to improve the interface between science, society and policy related to planted forests, having co-authored Production, restoration, mitigation: a new generation of plantations, and Changes in planted forests and future global implications.

Jo O´Hara is Chief Executive at the Scottish Forestry. She is experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in government and land-use sectors. A senior and influential chartered forestry professional skilled in policy and strategy, change management, rural development and sustainable management of natural resources.

Janez Potočnik is the current ThinkForest president. He is also Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by UNEP, Chairman of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council. After a successful career in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, he was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for the Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002). In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as shadow Commissioner for Enlargement, then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research, and from 2010-2014 as Commissioner for Environment.

Margarida Tomé is Professor at Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, where she teaches Forest Resources Inventory, Forest Modelling and Forest Management. She coordinates the Forest Ecosystem Management under Global Change Group (ForChange), one of the research groups of the Forest Research Centre (CEF) at the School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon that has the aim to develop scientifically sound methods for Atlantic and Mediterranean forest ecosystem management. The group has a strong focus on the transfer of knowledge to end-users by developing technological applications that integrate and make useful the research results. Planted forests, with exotic or native tree species, have been an important research topic of the group. She has a record of more than 200 publications, from which 43% referenced in ISI, and supervised 14 Ph.D and several Msc thesis. She has been strongly involved with EFI, as well as with IUFRO.