The John MacLeod Annual Lecture

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation our annual autumn lecture will not be held in 2020

The 2019 lecture topic in detail

In 2019, the John MacLeod Lecture was delivered by Dr Andrew Hirons. At the lecture, Dr Hirons talked about the environmental and health benefits of trees – inspired by his current research into creating resilience in our urban forests, using plant traits to inform species selection for urban environments.

Watch the 2019 lecture


More about the speaker

Dr Hirons is a Senior Lecturer in Arboriculture at University Centre Myerscough, UK. He teaches modules relating to tree biology, tree establishment and tree management.

His current research activity is motivated by the need to create resilience in our urban forests, and is focused on using plant traits to inform species selection for urban environments.

This work has resulted in a number of publications, including Species Selection for Green Infrastructure: A Guide for Specifiers published by Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG). Andrew is also the co-author of Applied Tree Biology, published by Wiley Blackwell.

History of the John MacLeod annual lecture

Launched and hosted for two years at the RHS Lindley Hall in London, the John MacLeod Annual Lecture was created to highlight important and inspiring topics on horticultural science. A broad audience of RHS members, scientists, policymakers and the media is invited every year to hear luminaries of the scientific field give talks on major research projects or new areas of thought.

Catch up on previous lectures: watch our YouTube playlist

Who was Professor John MacLeod?

The late professor John MacLeodThe lecture’s namesake, Professor John MacLeod, who died in 2010, was a plant scientist and Professor of Horticulture at the RHS. He was also chairman of the RHS Scientific Committee and was a powerful advocate for horticultural science. He was acutely aware of its pressing relevance in sustaining the natural environment and world food supplies.

Watch previous John MacLeod Lectures on our YouTube playlist


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.