Obituary – Dr Ian Baillie

Dec 13, 2023 | News

Dr Ian Baillie – 1941 – 2023

We are sorry to learn of the death this week of Dr Ian Baillie, who passed away following his gallant battle with ill health. Ian served as a key member of the soils archive team at Cranfield University as a Visiting Research Fellow, working on the WOSSAC global archive and collection of land resources materials. Those who had the privilege to work with Ian benefitted from his towering knowledge of soils, and he was a true inspiration to many.

Ian had a long and varied career in tropical soil survey. In his early career, following stints in Swaziland as an ODA Soil surveyor in the Department of Agriculture, and then a soil surveyor in the Forest Department of the Government of Sarawak, Malaysia. Ian worked as a consultant on tropical soil survey and land evaluation projects for Hunting Technical Services (HTS.) Later, Ian became a Principal Lecturer, and ultimately the Faculty Research Coordinator, in the Department of Geography, Polytechnic of North London, whilst also undertaking other short term soil surveys and consultancies overseas. A noted episode saw him working for the Danish International Development Assistance as the Soil Survey Manager and Advisor in Bhutan. A measure of the esteem he was held in was his award of the Bullard Fellowship in Forestry Research from Harvard University, which led to his work in Panama. Ian became involved with Cranfield University and the archive in 2002, and over the intervening years helped the Cranfield staff and fellow volunteer colleagues develop the unique WOSSAC soils collection. Ian played a key role in the successful case made for the Queen’s Anniversary Award, by Cranfield University, in 2017, ‘in recognition of research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide’.

Ian worked as an international soil and environmental consultant in many parts of the world. He was a respected author and editor of many academic papers and books also, and served as Associate Editor of the European Journal of Soil Science. Ian had a profound knowledge of soils, and was a great friend and mentor to those he worked with: he will be greatly missed. Ian was a Fellow of the British Society for Soil Science and a Member of the Tropical Agriculture Association (UK).

For those wishing to attend, a service will be held on January 10 2024, at 2:30pm at the Bedford Crematorium: The Cemetery Complex, 104 Norse Road, Bedford, MK41 0RL.


Professor Stephen Hallett, Cranfield University

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