IUFRO & SAF/CIF World Congress 2014Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
IUFRO = International Union of Forest Research OrganizationSAF = Society of American ForestersCIF = Canadian Institute of Forestry
|Breakfast in Bend on our way to SL|
For the first time ever three international forestry organizations collaborated for the world’s largest forest professional gathering ever! A combination of over 6,000 people from around the world congregated to learn cutting edge research discoveries, network with new colleagues, and learn from peers.
|Opening Ceremony featuring Native American|
from South Western tribes.
Joining the Oregon State University Chapter of SAF in Corvallis, OR we made the long drive to Salt Lake City, Utah in one day. There were 12 of us embarking on this trip with the support of OSU College of Forestry and Oregon SAF Chapter. Fundraising and organization mostly by our Chair, Sam Delano we were down for the adventure. Kudos to his leadership!
The week was packed with lectures, networking, and learning. I attended lectures each day with the intention of taking notes of the highlights. Some talks had multiple speakers during the session and all had time for questions from the audience. It was fascinating hearing some professional takes on critical topics.
The topics that I enjoyed most were the social science of forestry and climate changes. I was particularly inspired to better understand how foresters can and are learning to be more effective communicators and public representatives. Forestry is more involved with the public’s needs than ever before. Forestry cannot survive without further involvement and education of important forest practices and processes. There were themes focused on the gender balance in the industry but also the importance forest management can impact communities. The Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project works as a neutral party with the support of research and community involvement. Or in Nepal wood is valued for fuel and without community participation the forests were depreciating at rapid rates.
I connected with other students and deans for universities across the world. Graduate students were the most common for most of the conference. They were given the opportunity to present a poster on their topic of study. Hearing from Dean John Innes at University of British Columbia was interesting to better understand the disconnection between the industry professionals and academia. Goals and resources differ at each institution. A challenge that universities face to prepare students is to keep up to date with technology. Like many disciplines it is evolving too fast for courses to stay entirely relevant. It challenges universities to produce accredited programs when standards vary so drastically internationally. He agreed that depth was challenging to balance with breadth of forestry education.
Climate change was a theme throughout the event. David Cohnen was a speaker that stuck with me. He reminded us that our population is growing at incredible rate and that soon we are going to reach 7.5 billion people! Commodity prices are increasing including non-renewable resources. The challenge of our generation will be to provide the innovation and resources to be productive enough to sustain a growing population with limited resources. He pushed idea of Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle as a huge player in the future. The connection with our forests is that the urbanization and construction leads to deforestation when the wood is bought from places with less regulations and sustainable forestry. Our forests are becoming a more recognizes source of multiple resources and functions. The public is demanding new uses of the forests and the world is still learning how to meet that demand in a way that is sustainable and capable of being multi-functional.
The event was highlighted with social events that gave opportunities for delegates to meet others from around the world. The food was fantastic and the open bar was appreciated. Live music adorned the first social event. The more casual atmosphere definitely made opportunities for more laid back conversations.
On Wednesday of the Conference I attended a Field Excursion. Hopping on a tour bus we rode out to the mountains. Salt Lake is beautiful in the fall time. The birch trees were just changing colors and contrasted beautifully with the firs. The topic of discussion on the trip was urban forestry. We visited the local National forest that provides water to the city. On the bus I met several people from Canada and a few from Vancouver Island itself. The world is so very small. I walked with several people from Brazil, Ghana, Switzerland, and more. The perspectives of this international crowd were fascinating and made the trip worthwhile.
The last few days of the conference the Oregon State students and staff at the event helped the representing booth. It was fascinating to realize the international reputation our College of Forestry has. The unique programs and friendly staff are something to look towards.
Attending IUFRO World Congress was an experience well anticipated and I am incredibly happy that I was fortunate enough to attend. The networking I was able to do was impressive. It helps me see the opportunities available in this industry is astounding and hopeful that I will figure out where I can fit in.
|OSU staff at the Booth|
|New friends from Nepal, Sweden, and Malasia|
|Men from Ghana and Kenya|
|SAF Lunch break in SLC|
|View from my plane ride to Portland|