Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) representatives and a host of Australian researchers were amongst the 2500 scientists from 92 countries that assembled in Brazil for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress. Source: Timberbiz
Throughout the presentations, the global challenges of deforestation and climate change were prominent themes. There was an evident willingness amongst attendees to collaborate on a global scale for the benefit of forests everywhere.
The IUFRO World Congress offered a unique opportunity to share evidence-based knowledge across disciplines and continents, to discuss the state of the world’s forests; the challenges and consequences, as well as possible solutions.
The goal of the congress is to recognise urgent issues and advocate for a collaborative approach, using the global IUFRO network to mobilise forest science for a sustainable future.
Jodie Mason, Forest Research Manager at FWPA, was in attendance, alongside the many Australian researchers who presented details of their FWPA-funded projects to delegates.
“It was great to see our home grown researchers networking in this way, promoting Australian projects, and updating themselves with international best practice. It was apparent that Australian researchers are well-regarded and well-networked in the global arena,” Ms Mason said.
Sharing some of her key insights from the event, Ms Mason noted that research on the impact and mitigation of climate risk was of high priority, both for supporting ecosystem function and commercial forestry.
“Climate adaptation measures presented included the assisted migration of natural forest species, with much research focused on understanding and managing the changing species composition of forests as climates warm and dry,” she said.
“Another area of innovation focused on boosting the drought tolerance of plantation species through selective tree breeding, soil and clone matching, and the trialling of new species. Research into the physiology of root and wood formation of eucalypts under different climates is helping us better understand climate impacts and opportunities to adapt.”
Continuing on the topic of the climate, Ms Mason said silvicultural practices to improve site conditions were another major area of focus. This included trials of stump removal to increase moisture retention and tree spacing when it comes to planting.
Attendees also learned about how global agreements are incentivising forest restoration and the exploration of new models and approaches, such as greater commercial use of forest biomass for energy production.