A forestry expert from Watford has been awarded an MBE for his work in reducing the rate of deforestation in Indonesia.

Andy Roby, who went to Watford Boys Grammar School and currently lives in the town, has received an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which was published on Saturday (June 8).

Mr Roby – with 35 years of experience in international development, trade and the timber industry - was the driving force behind Indonesia reducing its illegal timber trade twenty fold from 2007 to 2016.

For a decade, he worked with the British Embassy in Jakarta helping to significantly reduce the rate of deforestation in Indonesia. In turn, he helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s fifth greatest emitter.

Hillingdon Times:

As a result, Indonesia became the first country in the world to qualify for due diligence-free timber imports to the EU, a market worth $1bn a year. This boosted trade, and increased livelihoods for hundreds of poor communities across Indonesia.

In Jakarta, he set up and ran the Indonesian Friends of the Forest network and then did the same thing when returning to the UK, bringing together over 650 forestry professionals.

Mr Roby has a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from University of Wales and a masters in Forest and Land-use from Oxford University. He has been working in Forestry since 1983 in variety of roles including for UK Government, the European Commission and the UK Timber Trade Federation.

He is also widely published on matters relating to forestry, and has presented at conferences and seminars in Europe and beyond.

He currently works for the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

He has also worked in Jamaica and Cameroon on forest management projects (plantations, natural forest, and community forest) and did short assignments in other parts of Africa.

When not working he loves to run with Pinky the Javanese beach dog, sing in the excellent St Mary’s church choir and spend time with his wife Eileen and the rest of his growing family. He became a grandfather to Rowan James Ironside for the first time earlier this year.