Brian Richardson


  • Phone: +64 7 343 5516
  • Email: Show email
  • Team: Forest Science
  • Role: Principal Scientist, Forest Science


Brian recently stepped down from 12 years in senior management, including 8 years leading the Forest Science group at Scion and prior to the that the Forest Biosecurity and Protection Team in Ensis, to take on a Principal Scientist role. In this new role, Brian focuses on research relating to forest protection particularly in the areas of biosecurity and pest management. Brian’s contribution to forestry was recently recognised by his peers through presentation of the NZ Institute of Forestry ‘Forester Of the Year’ Award in 2015.


  • Hons (Biology) Lancaster University, UK - 1981
  • MSC (Bio-aeronautics) Cranfield Institute of Technology,UK - 1982
  • PhD (Forest Ecology) Oregon State University, USA - 1988

Research capabilities

Brian's research interests are varied. Over the past 36 years he has made a number of significant contributions to biosecurity, pest management, vegetation management and sustainable forest management.

He has for many years worked collaboratively with the USDA Forest Service on the development of spray modelling software to determine pesticide drift and efficacy.In recognition for his contribution, he received a technology transfer award from the USDA Forest Service in 1996.

The knowledge on aerial spraying technology has also been put to good use in New Zealand with Brian’s involvement in a number of Technical Advisory Groups formed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to provide advice on a range of pest eradication programmes.

As an internationally-recognised expert in forest vegetation management, Brian has been a plenary and invited speaker at a number of international science conferences. His research has included development of forest weed control regimes, models to describe the effects of weeds on tree growth, and decision support tools to evaluate the cost-benefit of treatment regimes.

Another research interest is assessing the long-term productive capacity of forest sites. Brian played a leading role in designing a large, site quality experiment that comprised a national series of plots. The purpose of this work was to determine indicators for sustainability of forest management practices and the experiment is now yielding valuable data used by many scientists.  Specialties include:

  • Science management
  • Vegetation management and modelling resource competition
  • Pest management
  • Improving aerial spray application efficacy, including the development of simulation models and decision support systems
  • Sustainable forest management - measurement and modelling of site quality

Career highlights

  • 2015: Awarded “Forester of the Year” by NZ Institute of Forestry.
  • 2011: Invited speaker: Society of American Foresters Conference, Hawaii.
  • 2010: Invited speaker (funded), IUPAC Conference, Melbourne, spray modelling session.
  • 2008: Plenary speaker (funded) at Canadian Forest Service Workshop on spray modelling, Ontario Canada.
  • 2008: Invited speaker (funded), International Weed Science Society meeting, Canada (declined).
  • 2008: Invited onto Governance Boards of Future Forest Research Ltd and the Radiata Pine Breeding Company Ltd.
  • 2007: Invited speaker, NZ Plant Protection Society Symposium.
  • 2006: Invited onto Bushfire CRC governance board (resigned 2008).
  • 2006: Invited speaker: USDA Aerial Application Technology and Research Conference, Texas, USA.
  • 2005: Invited speaker: 5th International Conference on Forest Vegetation Management
  • 2004: Invited Speaker International Conference on Pesticide Application for Drift Management, Hawaii, USA.

Selected papers

Brockerhoff, E.G., Suckling, D.M., Kimberley, M.O., Richardson, B., Coker, G. Gous, S., Lance, D.R., Strand, T. and Zhang, A. 2012. Aerial application of pheromones for mating disruption of an invasive moth as a potential eradication tool. PLoS ONE 7(8), e43767.

Grace, J. C., Richardson, B., Gous, S., Thistle, H. W., & Teske, M. E. (2011). Evaluation of the AGDISP canopy model. Paper presented at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, 4, 2798-2810.

Ramsfield, T., & Richardson, B. (2010). IUFRO International Forest Biosecurity Conference 16 – 20 March 2009, Rotorua, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, 40, 91-92.

Richardson, B., & Kimberley, M. O. (2010). Lessons learned from monitoring the effectiveness of the asian gypsy moth aerial spraying eradication program. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 26(3), 355-361.

Richardson, B., Kimberley, M. O., & Gous, S. F. (2011). Aircraft calibration for application of solid baits for pest eradication operations. Paper presented at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, 4, 2818-2842.

Richardson, B., Kimberley, M. O., & Gous, S. F. (2011). Aircraft calibration for pest eradication operations using pesticides formulated as solid baits. Transactions of the ASABE, 54(4), 1245-1254.

Richardson, B., Kimberley, M., Ray, J.W., Coker, G.W. 1999.  Indices of interspecific plant competition for Pinus radiata in the Central North Island of New Zealand.  Thompson, D.G. (2011). A review of computer models for pesticide deposit on and prediction. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 54(3), 789-801.

Wagner, R.G., Little, K., Richardson, B. and McNabb, K. 2006. The role of vegetation management for enhancing productivity of the world’s forests. Forestry 2006 79: 57-79.

Watt, M S; Kimberley, M O; Coker, G W R; Richardson, B; Estcourt, G; 2007. Modelling the influence of weed competition on growth of Pinus radiata. Development and parameterisation of a hybrid model across an environmental gradient. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37(3): 607-616 (2007)