EDITORIALE: IUFRO International Council 2014-2019 – President’s Letter

Letter by President:  English

Professor Dr. Mike  Wingfield, IUFRO President
IUFRO Headquarters – Secretariat

International Council Representatives 2015-2019

Circular letter by the IUFRO President

Dear Members of the IUFRO International Council:

It is now just about eight months since we held our IUFRO World Congress in Salt Lake City.  And what a stunning success that event turned out to be.  At the outset, I would like to thank the many people, IUFRO officeholders, members and friends of IUFRO for the incredible efforts culminating in a World Congress of which we can be most proud.

The IUFRO World Congress also marked the start of my term as IUFRO President. This is a position that I am most proud to hold and I thank you for the confidence that you have placed in me. My acceptance speech at the culmination of the Salt Lake City Conference captured most of my sentiments and focussed on my vision for my presidential term. That material has been widely publicised and I will not repeat it here.

We have just recently completed the first IUFRO Enlarged Board Meeting; following tradition held in Vienna. In this letter, I wish to share with you some of the key issues that are arising as we move into the 2015-2019 IUFRO Board Term.

  • International Council.  The new 2015-2019 term also marks the new term of the International Council. The IC is IUFRO’s governing body and legislative organ and it should advise the President and the Board on major issues concerning IUFRO’s policy and strategy. In addition, members of the IC also serve as “Ambassadors” of IUFRO in their countries and hence play a key role in ensuring a strong and active participation of research organisations and scientists in IUFRO. The IUFRO Headquarters office (HQ) has worked actively during the last few months to renew the IC membership and I thank you for your support in completing this important task. I would also hope that IC members will engage with us actively during the new Board Term and thus be in a position to advise IUFRO more than solely at the IC meetings held only once every five years. Link below: list of IC members in the several countries where IUFRO has member organizations
  • Many of you participated in the IUFRO World Congress 2014 in Salt Lake City.  You will thus be pleased to learn that a comprehensive Congress report has been published on the IUFRO website. You can download the report athttp://www.iufro.org/events/congresses/2014/#c22836
  • As I believe you are aware, one of the key outcomes of the Congress has been the adoption of the IUFRO Strategy 2015-2019 “Interconnecting Forests, Science and People”. The Strategy is an essential tool for IUFRO to guide and implement its activities in the years to come. It provides a framework for IUFRO and its members to effectively respond to changing paradigms regarding forests and for IUFRO to position itself as a truly global network of forest science knowledge sharing and cooperation. You can download the Strategy at http://www.iufro.org/discover/strategy/.
  • The implementation of the new IUFRO Strategy was one of the major items on the agenda of the first meeting of the Enlarged Board (EB minutes – see link below) held recently. The Enlarged Board adopted an Action Plan setting out specific tasks, actors and time frames for implementing the strategy (see link below).
  • The Divisions form the backbone of IUFRO. Their activities are reflected in a wide range of meetings including those of Working Parties, Research Groups, Intra-Division and Inter-Divisional gatherings. There have already been a number of key meetings subsequent to our World Congress and approximately 60 meetings are scheduled for the coming year. If you are not already familiar with the structures and opportunities offered to you and your colleagues via IUFRO’s many offerings, I invite you to visit the IUFRO webpages (www.iufro.org) and get to know the organisation better. More importantly, I know that you and your colleagues would benefit from participating in one or the other IUFRO meeting in your country or your region. Make your choices by visiting the: IUFRO Calendar of Meetings (http://www.iufro.org/events/calendar/).
  • IUFRO Task Forces are established on a temporary basis to advance interdisciplinary cooperation in inter-divisional forest research fields. Their focus is on emerging key issues that are of strong interest to policy makers and groups inside and outside the forest sector, and contribute to international processes and activities. For the first time in IUFRO’s history, there was an open call for Task Force proposals. This led to the approval of eight new Task Forces in the course of the EB meeting. The new Task Forces are:
    • Contribution of Biodiversity to Ecosystem Services in Managed Forests (CoBES) – Coordinator: Hervé Jactel
    • Sustainable Planted Forests for a Greener Future – Coordinator: Christophe Orazio
    • Sustainable Forest Biomass Network – Coordinator: Viktor Bruckman
    • Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change – Coordinator: Andreas Bolte
    • Climate Change and Forest Health – Coordinator: Elena Paoletti
    • Forests and Biological Invasions – Coordinator: Sandy Liebhold
    • Forests, Soil and Water Interactions – Coordinator: Richard Harper
    • Resources for the Future: Transformation in Forest Use – Coordinator: John Innes.
  • One of the actions included in the IUFRO Strategy under Goal 1 and the related Objective “Identify emerging areas of research” was to establish a foresight mechanism in IUFRO. A scoping meeting was thus held in Vienna in February 2015 in order to discuss the possible scope and process of foresight in IUFRO. During the EB meeting, Jerry Vanclay, Deputy Division Coordinator agreed to develop Terms of Reference for an IUFRO Task Force on Forest Foresight. This process is now well advanced and I will report back to you regarding details at a later date.
  • Just recently I had the pleasure to attend part of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF11) in New York. IUFRO participated widely in this event particularly through the important role that we play as one of the 14 members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).  One of the highlights of the UNFF11 was the successful launch of the GFEP (Global Forest Expert Panels) recent assessment report “Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition” http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/forests-and-food-security-panel/report/. The report has been well received, and has attracted substantial media attention.
  • As we move towards the IUFRO World Congress 2019 in Curitiba, IUFRO will host many meetings, symposia and congresses. In just a few months’ time we will also participate actively in the XIV World Forestry Congress to be held in Durban (South Africa) and I hope to meet many of you at this meeting. Also please allow me to highlight two major and upcoming IUFRO events that I would like you to consider attending. These are:
    • IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania that will be held in Beijing, China, on 24-27 October 2016;
    • IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress that will be held in Freiburg, Germany, on 20-23 September 2017.

IUFRO is flourishing and this is deeply due to the active and enthusiastic participation of the 15-20,000 forestry researchers that participate in our many activities.  If you have questions related to any of the items mentioned in this letter or regarding any other IUFRO activities, please do not hesitate to contact me or IUFRO Headquarters (office@iufro.org).

I am pleased with further continuing our cooperation in 2015 and look forward to possibly meeting you at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.

Best regards

Mike Wingfield
IUFRO President