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Lindsay Poole CBE, 1908–2008

Detail of Dracophyllum drawn by Nancy M. Adams, from a 1966 encyclopaedia entry by Lindsay Poole

Detail of Dracophyllum drawn by Nancy M. Adams, from a 1966 encyclopaedia entry by Lindsay Poole

With the death of Lindsay Poole on 2 January 2008, New Zealand has lost its grand old man of the forests.

A. L. Poole began his stellar career with New Zealand’s trees and forests in 1926, rising from forest labourer to director of the Botany Division of DSIR, director-general of the New Zealand Forest Service and chairman of the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council.

Along the way he investigated such diverse subjects as the control of ragwort; the use of New Zealand flax for woolpacks; the effects of the Nazi regime on German forestry and the taxonomy of New Zealand beech species.

He wrote more than 60 entries for the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, including all the native plant descriptions and entries on native forests, exotic forests and forestry in New Zealand.

His clear, succinct descriptions provide a perfect pen-picture of each plant or plant group, and have served as a model for Te Ara’s plant entries.

In his retirement he was a tireless champion for New Zealand’s forests, both native and exotic. He condemned the demise of the New Zealand Forest Service and in 2005 (his 97th year) co-authored a book that is highly critical of the forest management that ensued.