Keynote Speakers

The IUFC Programme Committee is pleased to announce the following Keynote Speakers who will be presenting at the Congress:



Professor Chris Baines


Chris Baines is one of the UK’s leading independent environmentalists and an award winning writer and broadcaster.  He has campaigned for greener cities for more than 40 years and the Wild Side of Town won the first national conservation book prize in 1987. He is particularly well known as a champion of wildlife gardening. Chris was a speaker at the International Federation of Landscape Architects conference in Vancouver in 1981 and he continues to contribute to urban forestry and green infrastructure thinking at events all around the world.

Chris trained as a horticulturist and a landscape architect and he taught landscape design and management for a number of years.  However he now works mainly as a professional adviser to government and the corporate sector.  He has long standing professional links with major UK companies in the housebuilding, construction, minerals, water and energy industries and is frequently used to broker partnerships across the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors.


Jeremy Barrell

Jeremy Barrell is the Director of Barrell Tree Consultancy (, one of the UK’s leading planning and legal tree management practices.  He leads a team of 15 specialists assessing trees on development sites and project-managing their protection, from design to occupation.

During his early career, Jeremy worked for the UK Forest Service before establishing his own tree service in 1980, which evolved into his current consultancy in 1995.  He is an accomplished expert witness, regularly appearing in the English High Court in cases where tree failures have caused harm.  Jeremy is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences, authoring more than 120 articles and papers on tree management.  His SULE, TreeAH, TreeABC, and TreeAZ, methods of tree assessment, are internationally recognised management tools (, and he is a passionate advocate for the proper consideration of trees in built-environment decision-making though his Facebook Page (Search Facebook ‘Heritage Tree Management’).


Dr. Susan D. Day

Dr. Susan D. Day is an Associate Professor of Urban Forestry in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia USA. She is the project leader for Urban Forestry 2020, an initiative funded by the USDA-Forest Service National Urban and Community Advisory Council to examine the urban forestry profession and its relationship to higher education. Dr. Day’s research focuses on managing urban soils to enhance tree growth and longevity in the context of environmental challenges such as stormwater mitigation and land development impacts on soil-mediated ecosystem services. She helped shape the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) crediting system for soils and has published more than 70 articles and book chapters on urban forests and urban soils. Dr. Day holds a B.A. from Yale University, a M.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.


Dr. John Gathright

Dr. John Gathright, who holds a Doctorate of Bio-Agriculture from Nagoya University, founded “Tree Climbing® Japan (1997), Japan’s the first technical tree-climbing school. Tree Climbing Japan has grown into a national organization with 4,000 certified tree climbers who have helped over 250,000 people of all abilities to climb trees in urban forests and green spaces.

Through his doctoral research and other endeavors, Gathright has conducted extensive research into the physiological, psychological and societal benefits of purpose specific tree-climbing and tree assisted therapy programs.. A pioneer and leader on the subject, Gathright established TreeHab® - Tree Climbing Therapy® and Tree-Assisted Therapy®.

In addition to Tree Climbing and TreeHab activities, Dr. Gathright created the Japan Arborists Association- an ISA affiliated Organization, as well as the Arborist Training Institute of Japan. When not actually climbing trees or training tree-climbing instructors, Gathright can be found lecturing about the topic as a Professor at Chubu University or sharing his expertise at events and conferences around the globe.

Joyce Murray

Joyce Murray is the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board. As a Parliamentary Secretary, Joyce has focused her considerable talents and understanding on the largest employer, landlord and purchaser in Canada – the Federal government – working across bureaucratic and ministerial silos to develop a framework for achieving greater GHG reductions across operations, with strong support from Treasury Board President Hon. Scott Brison. Her collaboration across departments, and with provincial, municipal, academic and American climate leaders, informed the creation of a new Centre for Greening Government (CGG) within the Treasury Board Secretariat and the adoption of bold targets for GHG reductions across government.

First elected in 2008, Ms. Murray has served on Standing Committees on Trade, Health, Fisheries and Oceans, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Defence. From 2011 to 2015 Ms. Murray chaired the Liberal Northern and Western Caucus, and co-chaired her party’s weekly Policy and Platform Caucus in Ottawa. Her legislative work includes presenting a Bill banning crude oil tanker traffic from BC’s North Coast, and a Bill to ‎increase accountability and transparency of Canada’s Communication Security Establishment (CSE) and other security and intelligence agencies.

Before entering federal politics Ms. Murray was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, serving as a cabinet minister in the BC Liberal government from 2001 to 2005. As provincial environment minister, she set the stage for BC’s carbon tax and climate leadership in the early 2000s.

Her political career followed 25 years spent building an international reforestation company she co-founded that has planted over one billion trees.  Her interest in environmental sustainability was expressed in her thesis on climate change policy, which contributed to the SFU Deans Medal she was awarded for top MBA graduate of 1992.


 Ian Shears

Ian Shears is the Manager of the Urban Sustainability Branch at the City Of Melbourne.

The Urban Sustainability Branch combines the urban landscapes climate adaptation program with Council’s sustainability strategies and programs. Key strategies led by the branch include: Urban Forest Strategy, Open Space Strategy, Total Watermark – City as a Catchment, Zero Net Emissions, Climate Adaptation Strategy and Urban Ecology and Biodiversity Strategy.

Ian and his team have been credited with the development of some of Australia's most progressive environmental policies at a city level including the Urban Forest Strategy and Open Space Strategy. For example, Ian and his team delivered a $50 million climate adaptation program focussed on strategic green infrastructure interventions in the public realm. This work includes increasing the city’s permeability and urban forest to enhance cooling and mitigate urban heat island impacts, increasing green space and developing a set of stormwater harvesting schemes to reduce reliance on potable water.


Dr. Suzanne Simard

Suzanne Simard is a Professor at UBC, where she studies the synergies and complexities of forests and the development of sustainable forest stewardship practices. Her research centers on understanding the vital relationships between plants, microbes, soils, carbon, nutrients and water that underlie the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems.   She is known for her work on belowground fungal networks that connect trees and facilitate interplant communication.