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Plant Focus

Quercus xjackiana acorns
The hybrid of Q. alba and Q. bicolor

2009-2012 : thoughts for the future


The end of such a pleasant and interesting adventure such as was the 6th International Oak Society’s Triennial Conference in Mexico is a sad time indeed. But the sadness doesn’t last very long as we all move back to our daily activities which, to a greater or lesser extent for each of us, have to do with trees – especially oaks. The knowledge and experiences shared and the new discoveries made during our Mexican explorations will change the way we see trees - indeed for some of us, perhaps even the way we see the plant kingdom in general. The best part of such an event, and certainly what gives it such a rich context, are the interactions between members come from all over the world to share their interest in the genus Quercus. This has been said many times but it is so true that it is worth repeating to convince even more members to attend the 7th International Oak Society Conference which will be in France in 2012. Thierry Lamant has been designated Conference Chairperson.


Based on discussions in Mexico there seems to be agreement that the IOS should move towards producing fewer paper publications in order to reduce costs (not only in printing but in postage) and energy consumption. It was agreed that Oak News & Notes, for example, could be sent as an electronic file that members would receive as an e-mail. Similarly, the Membership Directory should be available on-line. For members who can’t or don’t want to have these documents exclusively in electronic form, we will always be able to provide a print-out (please let our Membership Director, Rudy Light, (resident@pacific.net) know if you will still need to receive these documents in printed form. International Oaks will of course continue to be a paper publication (and also available on the website in PDF format). We are going to increase the quality of International Oaks by introducing some color photography.

Also, it is felt that there are far too few European contributions to the Journal. Those of you in Europe who would like to submit articles should not feel daunted by the language for there is a lot of linguistic competence that we can rely on within the Board. Coordinating the transition from paper will take some time and hopefully by end 2010 we will no longer need to budget for full scale printing of the newsletter and membership directory. If we no longer need to spend in areas where convenient, effective alternatives exist then these funds could be made available for important projects relevant to oaks in the broad sense of the word.


Membership dues have been raised (see the membership enrollment form which you can print out from the website) and two new membership categories have been created : Benefactor and Institutional. They are very modest increases and here again, it is hoped that the additional funds thus created may be put to good use in the oak world. I would like to encourage members to bring to our attention projects worthy of consideration (research, conservation activities, important publications etc...).


On another financial note, we have the good fortune to have a volunteer - Todd Lasseigne from North Carolina - to assume the responsibilities currently held by Bill Hess as Treasurer who has already told us, after many years of service to the IOS, that he would like to retire.


There are many people to be thanked for the professional organization and smooth-running of the Mexico conference but, of course, no one quite so much as Maricela Coombes. As already suggested by Kunso Kim from the Morton Arboretum, perhaps this is only the beginning of fruitful exchanges between Mexico and the International Oak Society.

There are many places in the world where "botanizing" is not an easy thing to do - most of these places are of course the richest in the world in terms of botanical interest. It is important that organizations like the IOS do what they can to increase collaboration and cooperation with these countries.

Béatrice Chassé