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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2011) 56(3): 30–31
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Scientist Pioneered Growth Indices - Bob Jackson 1923-2011

Peter Beets

Desmond (Bob) Sidney Jackson died on 31st July 2011 aged 88 years, in Nelson. Bobís early childhood years were spent enjoying the outdoor life in Rhodesia on a cattle ranch. Following the death of his father the family moved home to England where Bobís mother started a dairy farm. Bob joined the RAF at age 17, got his wings, and trained military pilots. In 1945 he was offered an ex servicemanís place at Keble College, Oxford University where he obtained an undergraduate degree. Bob married Betty in 1948 and decided to immigrate to New Zealand, arriving on the Mataroa in 1950. Bob worked first at Rotoehu and then Hawkes Bay with the New Zealand Forest Service. They bought an old villa at Puketapu, and established fruit trees and a small stand of eucalyptus on their 2 acre lot. Bob applied his acute powers of observation to identifying exotic and native trees, and reveled in testing his newly acquired knowledge using colleagues as sounding boards. Bob was awarded a Harkness Fellowship, and completed his PhD at Duke University. During his two years of study his young family stayed in Cambridge, UK. While Bob enjoyed his work at Napier immensely, he was considered to be over-qualified for that position and joined The Forest Research Institute in Rotorua. An accomplished writer, Bob was Editor of 14 issues of the New Zealand Journal of Forestry from 1961 to 1969, which was published by the Institute of Foresters. He also published on a wide range of topics, including the value of trees as shelterbelts, site and climatic factors influencing productivity of radiata pine, and tree water use.
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