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.
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.