Almost a four dozen USDA Forest Service researchers and staff members represent the United States among more than 3000 participants at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress underway this week in Seoul, Korea. The conference theme is “Forests for the Future: Sustaining Society and the Environment”, and conference organizers are expressing the hope that this Congress will present a crucial opportunity to promote understanding of the contributions of forests and forest science to the Earth’s sustainability.
The Forest Service delegation, led by Deputy Chief Ann Bartuska (Research and Development), is keeping up a hectic pace during almost two weeks of seminars, presentations, staffing the agency displays and exhibits, and attending conferences by other international researchers and scientists.
From her personal observations, Bartuska writes, “It’s all about being green – not just the green of growing, healthy forests, but also the green of being ‘low carbon’. I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting the President of the Republic of Korea at the opening ceremony of IUFRO. A small group of us had about 20 minutes alone with him before the actual ceremony, and our discussions focused on the (Korean) President’s ‘Low Carbon, Green Growth’ vision. This vision places forests as an essential part of achieving success.
“The Forest Service booth…is one great testament to effective use of recycled and reused materials. As at the World Forestry Congress, the booth is designed to encourage gatherings at small tables – each headed by a banner around the four emphasis areas…or pillars… consistent with (USDA) Secretary’s vision on sustainable national forests and working private lands. I was proud to welcome the Korean VIP tour to our booth, lead by Minister Choi Wan-Yong, the director general of the Korea Forest Research Institute, and IUFRO President Don Koo Lee.”
During the opening day events, 11 forestry scientists were recognized for their distinguished research by IUFRO. Among these, Forest Service researcher Dr. Andrew M. “Sandy” Liebhold received a Scientific Achievement Award from the international committee for his work on invasion biology of non-native insects and diseases. He also presented his work to the international attendees.
The Forest Service delegation fully expects to bring back ground-breaking information and research, as well as extend the influence of Forest Service research and influence on the global forestry stage. The Congress runs through Saturday, August 28. You can follow the daily events and read up on previous activities at the IUFRO World Congress website.