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Lace, John Henry

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Lace, John Henry

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John Henry Lace C.I.E. F.L.S 1857-1918

1881: Gained the Diploma of the National School of Forestry at Nancy passing out 2nd. This was the premier College at that time. Appointed to the Forestry Dept. of India in the Punjab. Worked at Gujranwala and Chamba.
1900: Transferred to Calcutta and Simla as Assistant Inspector General of Forests and Superintendent of Working Plans.
1901: Appointed Conservator of Forests Bengal based at HQ Darjeeling.
1904 Transferred to Burma as Conservator then Chief Conservator in 1908. (From 1906-07 he was Principal of Dehra Dun College and its Silviculturist)
1913 Retired to England. Worked at Kew with W.G. Craib on the “Burma List”.
1918 Died at Exmouth.

In the Punjab, Lace collected forest flora over a wide area in the newly organised Forest Circle of British Baluchistan. Many specimens were sent back to Kew. The Linnean Society published his “Sketch of the Vegetation” in 1891. It remains the chief authority of Flora on the Quetta area.
In Calcutta and Simla, he extended his collection of flora before moving to Darjeeling with its higher altitude plants. His work here is his main claim to fame. “He was a great critic, and was at times hard to please, but always helped in anything that was sound, and was an excellent man to work under”. (From the Indian Forester)
In Burma his chief interest was the botanical study of the Maymyo Hills and the Shan States. He created the “List of the Trees, Shrubs and Climbers of Burma” which became a standard reference for botanists. This proved him to be a first class observer, memoriser and photographer. His labelling of plants was impeccable.
Distribution: Lace was generous in distributing his collections: one nearly complete went to Kew; others to Calcutta, Oxford and friends. His own complete collection came to RBG in Edinburgh. All his specimens were meticulously prepared.
Retirement: Lace spent much time at Kew working with W G Craib, expanding his “Burma List” and starting work on “Forest Flora of the Maymyo Hills”. Because of his untimely death, this work remained unfinished.
Family: Lace married the eldest daughter of W H Reynolds FRGS, Superintendent of the Indian Forest Services They had three daughters. The family settled in Exmouth, Devon, and after the outbreak of war in 1914, Lace served in the Exmouth Volunteers. While serving with them, Lace contracted a chill which lead to his untimely death. It is probable that if he had lived longer his reputation would have burgeoned still further.


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