ARCS President

Dr Aila Keto AO


Aila, with her partner, Dr Keith Scott, co-founded the Society in 1982. Both gave up promising careers in biochemistry to devote their lives and professional expertise to the protection of Australia’s rainforests.

Passion, persistence, scientific credibility, hard work, luck and capacity to seize unexpected windows of opportunity have been the keys to success. Teamwork and networking are vital too. Thirty years later, 1.5 million hectares of rainforest and allied wet forests in five bioregions have been protected, three World Heritage areas have been listed, all rainforest logging on public land has ceased, 63 per cent of Queensland’s degraded lands will be restored to good condition, and a rescue plan is in progress for one of the world’s most significant refugia for subtropical rainforest where the earliest ancestry of planet Earth’s plant and animal Kingdoms survive.

Aila’s largely volunteer work over more than thirty years has been recognised by the most prestigious international, national and state honours and awards. She was an Adjunct Professor at The University of Queensland (2002–11) and is currently Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University.

In September 2012, Aila was awarded Honorary Membership of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which recognizes outstanding services to the conservation of nature and natural resources, and is presented by the World Conservation Congress, on the recommendation of the IUCN Council, to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to furthering the goals of the Union.

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