Research Leaders

Peter ClintonDr Peter Clinton, Science Leader, Forest Systems; GCFF Programme Leader []
A forest ecologist who specialises in maintaining the productive capacity of commercial forests. He is one of New Zealand’s leading experts in sustainable forest management with more than 80 published papers to his credit. He has led the Government funded national programme on Sustainable Forest Management which provides core capability to support the sustainable management of New Zealand planted forests since 2005. His expertise extends to production ecology, tree nutrition, biogeochemistry, soil organic matter and stable isotope methods. Peter has represented New Zealand on addressing climate change at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul, and in four other international congresses and workshops.

John MooreDr John Moore, Research Leader, Forest Systems
John has 20 years’ experience in forest research and specialises in quantitative silviculture. He is a recognised expert on the risk of wind damage to forests and how this is affected by management activities. John’s current research is focused on quantifying the effects of forest management on wood quality and the resulting impacts on solid timber performance, tree biomechanics and allometry, including the development of tree biomass functions. John spent eight years in Scotland and the Pacific Northwest working on a range of different tree species, including Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce, Scots pine and larch. During this time he managed a wind risk research cooperative, which received both government and industry funding, managed the project to develop an inventory system for planted forests and managed the Strategic Integrated Research in Timber project in Scotland. John is currently research leader for the Tree Growth and Quality group within Forest Systems and an associate editor of the New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science. He has published 40 refereed papers on different aspects of forest management.

Peter BeetsDr Peter Beets, Research Leader, Forest Systems
Employed by the New Zealand Forest Research Institute in 1974 as a scientist in the soils and site productivity section. Research responsibilities include measuring and modelling biomass carbon, water, and nutrient cycling in Pinus radiata plantations and indigenous forest. Since 1998 he has served as Carbon Team leader undertaking underpinning research for the Ministry for the Environment, a Scion-MfE research programme focusing on design and implementation of a national carbon inventory of New Zealand’s planted and natural forests, and on developing default lookup tables for NZ’s Emission Trading Scheme for the Ministry for Primary Industries. Peter has represented New Zealand on the IPCC, developing Good Practice Guidance for Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry. He currently serves as research leader for the “Site Productivity” theme of the Forest Systems programme at Scion, which is an interdisciplinary team of scientists undertaking research into the biological mechanisms controlling productivity, health and sustainability of plantation forest ecosystems. Peter has published widely in peer reviewed international journals, and has authored or co-authored more than 60 publications. He currently serves on the editorial board for Forests. His professional international experiences include research projects and consultancies in Australia, USA, France, Portugal and Chile.

Mike WattDr Michael Watt, Research Leader, Forest Systems []
Specialises in weed research and in modelling both plantation productivity and wood quality. His research also encompasses application of remote sensing technology to characterise the plantation resource. The 113 papers he has published around these and other topics include 80 published papers over the last five years. As research leader of both the remote sensing and weeds projects within Scion, Michael works extensively with the New Zealand forest industry. He received an industry award in 2011 for research that enhances sector value.

Heidi DungeyDr Heidi Dungey, Science Leader, Forest Genetics []
Specialises in tree breeding and genetic resource characterisation for commercial forestry species including radiata pine, Douglas-fir, cypresses, eucalypts and redwoods. Her research encompasses quantitative and ecological genetics and breeding. Heidi has published more than 30 refereed papers on forest genetics and aspects of alternative species research. As leader of Scion’s genetics research programme, Heidi works closely with New Zealand seed producers and forest growers to ensure breeding strategies are tailored to meet consumer needs.

Dean MeasonDr Dean Meason, Scientist, Forest Systems []
Dean has 11 years’ experience in forestry based research with expertise in tree physiology, forest ecosystem processes, process-based modelling, productivity and limitations to growth. He has 10 published papers and was the lead author and researcher of the MPI SLMACC ‘Improving the Eucalyptus fastigata Growth Model’, and researcher for the MPI SLMACC ‘Douglas-fir Model Enhancement for Carbon’. He was the driving force behind redwood research for Future Forests Research and most recently the lead author of the strategic industry planning document the ‘Redwood Development Plan’.

Simeon SmaillDr Simeon Smaill, Scientist, Forest Systems []
A microbiologist who specialises in examining plant-soil- microbe interactions in managed and natural ecosystems. This research is used to identify opportunities to improve the beneficial activity of soil microbes, enhancing plant performance while decreasing reliance on non-sustainable external inputs. His research also encompasses seedling nursery management, and has identified several cost-effective pathways to improve seedling performance in the nursery and subsequently in the field. Simeon has successfully led several multi-year government funded projects investigating various aspects of soil ecology and microbial ecology, and has published 21 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Simeon works closely with organisations representing forest owners and managers to ensure his research delivers outcomes that are relevant and can be implemented with success.

Tim PaynDr Tim Payn, Principal Scientist and Research Leader, Forest Systems []
Tim has a wide background in Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) research with a focus on the use of scientific information for forest decision making, forest policy, and strategic planning. He chairs the Technical Advisory Committee of the 12 country Montreal Process which focuses on issues of SFM in temperate and boreal forests and which developed the criteria and indicators of SFM that are used for reporting on the state of New Zealand’s forests. In recent years he has coordinated New Zealand and international programmes on forests and climate change which have produced a significant body of work on impacts, mitigation, and adaptation options for New Zealand forestry. Currently he leads Scion’s Economics, Ecosystems, and Climate team.

Loretta GarrettLoretta Garrett, Scientist, Forest Systems []
Specialises in soil, woody debris decay, soil sustainability, indicators and ecosystem services. She has 13 years research experience and has published 14 refereed papers. She has been involved in a range of projects that included reporting on soils at a national level as part of the Soil and Land Use Alliance for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, a review of the impact of climate change on soil processes and services for the Ministry of Primary Industries, and biomass loss and decay rate modelling from forest harvesting for the Ministry for the Environment.

Richard YaoDr Richard Yao, Scientist-Resource Economist, Forest Systems []
An environmental economist who focuses on the valuation of ecosystems services provided by forests such as recreation, species conservation, carbon and avoided erosion. His work encompasses economic valuation, natural resource management, conservation management and cost benefit analysis. He has published eight refereed journal articles. He works closely with fellow scientists, forest managers, national government agencies and regional councils to help incorporate the value of ecosystem services in decision making.

Chris PhillipDr Chris Phillips, Portfolio Leader, Realising Land’s Potential (Landcare Research)
An earth scientist who specialises in studying erosion processes, but particularly how vegetation mitigates erosion. In the early part of his career he worked for the New Zealand Forestry Research Institute studying the relationship between geology and geomorphology and the implications for forest management in the East Coast region of New Zealand. He was more recently involved in a 10-year interdisciplinary study focused on the Motueka River catchment and its connection to Tasman Bay, in the northern part of South Island, New Zealand. Currently he co-leads collaborative research in several inter-CRI research programmes and provides advice for regional and central government and primary sectors through contracted services. He is an honorary member of the New Zealand Association of Resource Management, is a board member of a global community of professionals working on natural hazard risk management (ecorisQ), and is the current chair of a community research and education organisation – the Styx Living Laboratory Trust. He has published over 40 papers and nine book chapters and contributed to many reports on erosion and sediment issues for a wide range of end-users across New Zealand.

Graham CokerGraham Coker, Project Leader, Forest Systems []
20 years’ research experience based around plant soil interactions. He has been involved in vegetation management and site quality studies. Graham has contributed to more than 28 peer reviewed publications across a wide range of topics. His current research focus is on finding solutions which make the Forest Industry more profitable in the short term such as mid-rotation fertiliser applications.

Dr Brenda Baillie, Scientist, Forest Systems []
An environmental researcher for over 15 years focusing on the effects of forestry and other land-use practices on riparian and aquatic ecosystems, water quality and woody debris dynamics. She has advised and worked with forest companies and regional councils in the management of woody debris/logging slash in streams. She has participated in a number of advisory groups contributing to the current national freshwater reforms led by MfE and participated in the development of the draft National Environmental Standards for the forest industry of New Zealand. She has researched and advised on environmental indicators for plantation forestry and is an environmental auditor for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Brenda has provided expert advice, training, education and knowledge transfer to forestry organisations, governmental organisations, national and international scientific groups, schools, interest groups and the general public. She is a member of the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society.

Research programme manager

Annette BrockerhoffDr Annette Brockerhoff, Forest Science, Scion
A scientist with a background in biological sciences, particularly population dynamics and biosecurity. In the past few years she has been overseeing project delivery at Scion and is now undertaking the programme management of the Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future programme.