IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Utilization of Forest Products

Aprovechamiento de productos forestales / Utilization of Forest Products

Session moderator: Don K Lee, IUFRO Immediate Past President, Korea

Find more information about IUFRO’s Division on Forest Products: www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-5/

The primary objective of the first paper was to determine if Caesalpinia velutina and Giricidia sepium fuelwood plantations in Nicaragua could be economically viable for smallholders. It was concluded that fuelwood plantation yields according to product-specific requirements were essential for the economic viability analysis. In the context of this study and contrarily to public perception, farm-based Caesalpinia velutina and Giricidia sepium fuelwood plantations could be economically viable over longer rotations.

The second paper addressed the role of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). The sewage treatment process generates a solid waste named sewage sludge, a material rich in organic matter and nutrients. According to this study sewage sludge showed a great potential in the production of forest seedlings. It recommends the use of composite substrates with sewage sludge, because it minimizes the need for acquisition of commercial substrates, decreasing production costs by increasing productivity and disposing this waste in a more sustainable way.

The aim of the third paper was to contribute to the understanding of the growth dynamics of native species of Araucaria taking into account its complex structure and by the analysis of growth and competition, to subsidize the forest management and its conservation. The endeavour of trees to compete for light can be used to determine the best management and production options.

The fourth paper studied the growth dynamics of different species in an Araucaria forest remnant stand. It concluded that there is evidence that in the past the stand of Araucaria Angustifolia should have been thinned more intensively. Competition indexes are useful and can be used to recover information in unmanaged stands to optimize resources, and they can also be used as a reference to manage other stands in similar conditions.

The aim of the fifth paper was to determine the percentage of samples that best reflects the actual diameter distribution in a 1,000 ha of primary Amazon forest in Sinop, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. When considering the whole area, 5% sample intensity has proven to be sufficient  to estimate the horizontal structure of trees above 30 cm of DBH. Considering the diversity of the Amazon rainforest, it is still not possible to extrapolate this anlysis of the diameter distribution. Further replication studies are required to establish sample intensities and methods for different forest structures.

Presentations in this session:

Using Product-Specific Fuelwood Yields to Assess Economic Visability: A Case Study of Farm-Based Gliricidia sepium and Caesalpinia velutina Plantations in Nicaragua. (Kahlil Baker, UBC, Canada)

Utilization of sewage sludge in the composition of substrates in forest seedlings production. (Alan Marques Abreu, UFRRJ Brazil)

Growth dynamics of different species in an Araucaria Forest remnant. (Aline Canetti, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)

Competition index: a tool to define thinning in stands of Araucaria angustifolia. (Rafaella Curto, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)

Determination of sampling intensities to estimate diameter distribution in Amazon Forest. (Mariana De Oliveira Ferraz, Embrapa Florestas, Brazil)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Traditional Forest-related Knowledge

Traditional forest-related knowledge / Contribución de bosques a economías locales

Moderator: Su See Lee, IUFRO Vice-President, FRIM Malaysia

Thursday, 13 June 2013, 08:00 – 10:00 (Chirripó)

For more information on TFK in IUFRO, visit also: www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-9/90000/90300/

In this session the audience was presented with a mixed bag of papers:  3 papers focussing on TFK, and other three on contributions to local economies. Emphasis was placed on the fact that there is a lot of traditional knowledge out there, which is rapidly getting lost because of various factors. Among the suggestions of what can be done to preserve traditional forest knowledge, the example of Korea was presented which established together with other countries of East Asia the Asian Center for Traditional Forest Knowledge as an institutional approach for the preservation of TFK. This was also recommended as an idea to implement in Latin America.

However, TFK should not only be kept as a historical asset but also be combined with innovation – as a logical consequence – whilst considering and adapting to changes in economy and society.The importance of markets for traditional products was mentioned to be crucial for the preservation of TFK. In this context, innovative aspects and development must be originated by the people concerned and traditional organisations be strengthened in a horizontal way.

With regard to contributions of forests to local economies, initiatives in the domain of medicinal plants, the importance of equal benefit sharing (EBS) and smallholder land-use were highlighted, as well as the optimal use of the whole set of services that forests can offer.

Presentations in this session:

El territorio shirian: conocimiento indígena del alto curso del río Paragua, Venezuela (Francia Medina, Universidad Central de Venezuela)

Present Status and Future Direction of the Asian Center for Traditional Forest-related Knowledge (ACTFOK) (Joo Han Sung and Chan Ryul Park, Korea Forest Research Institute, Korea)

Is Income Generation of Importance for the Preservation of TK? The case of carapa oil producing communities in Suriname (Mayra Esseboom, Suriname)

Forest Use and Agriculture Interactions; Livelihoods, Wellbeing and Deforestation in Ucayali, Peruvian Amazon (Roberto Porro, Embrapa, Brazil)

Rentabilidad económica de bosques naturales de segundo crecimiento de Nothofagus spp. Bajo tres opciones de manejo (Yasna Rojas, Sabine Müller-Using, Majorie Martin, Burkhard Müller-Using, INFOR Chile)

Identificación de una estrategia para la sostenibilidad financiera del area protegida: Parque Nacional Laguna Lachua, del muncipio de Coban, a.v. Guatemala (Andrea Yat, Guatemala)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: What REDD+ Looks Like on the Ground

What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond

Moderator: Niels Elers Koch, IUFRO President

Thursday, 13 June 2013, 08:00 – 10:00 (Santa Rosa 2)

Agricultural expansion has been identified as a key driver of deforestation in developing countries. The IPCC estimated that carbon dioxide emissions, as a consequence of deforestation, amounted to 20% of all anthropogenically induced carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+), has been proclaimed an environmental policy instrument that could potentially provide mitigative benefits for net carbon emissions and biodiversity degradation.

In the session entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: evidence from the Amazon and beyond”, leading scientists addressed the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people, as well as experiences with the operationalization of REDD+ in Latin America.

The Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP), which is coordinated by IUFRO, presented a global assessment report on REDD+, which consolidates the research of more than 50 leading scientists. The report constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity, forest management and REDD+.

The assessment report proposes that biodiversity is paramount, as a prerequisite for providing ecosystem services. In the face of disturbance regimes such as climate change, ecosystem resilience, a product of biodiversity, ensures ecosystem service provision.

Moreover, a successful REDD+ implementation, that achieves mitigative net carbon emissions and ensures biodiversity provision, requires, in conjuncture with the implementation, the pursuit of social objectives by securing tenure rights and local engagement. Only when tenure and property rights are clearly defined can a REDD+ implementation be effective.

The session also included presentations on a global comparative study entitled “What REDD+ looks like on the ground: Carried out by CIFOR”. The study, which is t largest project ever undertaken by CIFOR, aims to provide scientific insights on how to ensure that REDD+ measures meet the three “E’s”; Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity. As the first phase of the study has been completed, the findings of four cases were presented during the session. For more detailed information please visit the CIFOR webpage.

The Global Forest Expert Panel report can be downloaded at www.iufro.org/science/gfep

Presentations in this session:

Understanding relationships between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people: the key to achieving REDD+ objectives (John Parrotta, US Forest Service, USA)

What REDD+ looks like on the ground (Amy Duchelle)

Smallholder typology at a REDD+ project site in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon. (Marina Cromberg, CIFOR, Brazil)

Analyzing payments for environmental services as a way to improve social, economic and environmental resilience in rural settlements in northwestern Mato, Grosso, Brazil. (Raissa Guerra, University of Florida, Brazil)

Conservation transfers, livelihoods and land use: the case of Bolsa Floresta, Amazonas, Brazil (Amy Duchelle and Kim Bakkegaard)

Livelihoods, land use, land cover change and the implications for REDD+ in Brazil nut concessions in the Peruvian Amazon. (Valerie Garrish, CIFOR)

IUFROLAT III Keynote Address on 13 June 2013

Forests, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Charting a new research agenda

By Peter Dewees, Forest Advisor, World Bank

Peter_Dewees

Peter Dewees presents his keynote speech. (Photo courtesy of CATIE)

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines ecosystem services as the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. And ecosystem themselves are, speaking in economic terms, an asset, while their services would represent the flow of benefits. So paying for ecosystem services, once the benefits have been valued, has become a topic of interest especially with governments.

Ecosystem services are closely related to poverty alleviation, but it might be just a conventional wisdom to think that the deterioration of ecosystem services automatically leads to an aggravation of poverty. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that human wellbeing has been increasing while the environment and ecosystem services are declining. The Human Development Index illustrates this situation. So what are the underlying causes for this disconnect?

It might be that we are measuring the wrong things and disregard important factors, e.g. the time lag between the decline of ecosystems and the impact.

With regard to forests, global forest cover is declining and forest degradation is increasing for many reasons, yet in some rural landscapes tree numbers are growing. For the farmers, trees are important in many ways. In countries like Kenya, for example, they serve as field boundaries. Trees on farms can increase productivity and thus increase household incomes, they also help build resilience due to diversification of species. Trees on farms can build soil carbon.

So, incorporating trees in land management strategies is an important contribution to climate change mitigation. Consequently, what is really needed is to put in place policies to create incentives for better landscape management. Policies need to be informed by good data, and this is where research comes into the picture and the focus should be on fully recognizing the complexity of landscapes.

The data required should fulfil a set of criteria, of course. They need to be representative, suited for being aggregated, up-to-date, policy relevant and address the right questions.

In conclusion, Dewees particularly points out two research areas that should feature more prominently and deliver good data:

a) The role of household environment income with respect to productivity and consumption; risk and vulnerability; and equality;

b) Policy and public finance with regard to how to support farmer based adaptation and how to identify other points of entry such as social safety nets.

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Traditional Forest Knowledge

Traditional forest-related knowledge: its contribution to sustainable forest landscape management

For more information on IUFRO Taskforce on Traditional Forest Knowledge: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/traditional-forest-knowledge/

The general consensus of why forests are important is changing to include not only the economic benefits but the cultural and social attributes as well. There is an increasing recognition of the relevance of traditional-forest related knowledge (TFK) in new science, policy and management issues. It is important to understand TFK and its role in our past and how we can apply it in the future.

The session entitled “Traditional forest-related knowledge: its contribution to sustainable forest landscape management”, brought together a roomful of researchers to discuss the importance of TFK in forest science, policy making, and cultural heritage.

John Parrotta, presented on IUFRO activities in TFK and highlighted the publication, “Traditional Forest–Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems”, that provides an up-to-date summary of the emerging field of traditional forest management. He introduced the key elements to TFK including; sustainability, relationships, identity, reciprocity, and limits on exchange and highlighted the importance it plays in our food security, agricultural productivity, monitoring environmental change, and preparing for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

TFK and practices have sustained, and continue to sustain, the rich cultures and livelihoods of rural communities in spite of significant political, social, and economic obstacles.

In his presentation, Christian Gamborg, to great agreement, highlighted the main problem in TFK –  it is being lost by its holders, there is inadequate enforcement of national and international commitments to support TFK,  it lacks recognition by users and there is potential misappropriation of knowledge. The relation between science and TFK is growing stronger and there can be mutually beneficial. When holders of TFK and scientists meet it is important to ensure that there is free, prior and informed consent and that the results of the research and projects are readily accessible in order to benefit share.  Perhaps, most importantly it was stressed that there needs to be protection efforts to deal with traditional knowledge.

Marco Fioravanti introduced a new side to TFK by identifying the forces that drive our personal development and societal collective development in the context of the history of wood.  Wood has been utilized to create objects which are now cultural artefacts, and part of our identity. He highlighted how the wood use, and crafting processes of the people of past serve as a repository of technological knowledge and intangible knowledge.  TFK and historical wood products and buildings preserve our history and identity.

Monica Gabay spoke of the history of indigenous people in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile and how they interpret the forest compared to the people who conquered the area. She highlighted in importance the forest played in the lives of the indigenous that depended upon it for their survival, medicine, food, and culture. Forests also played an important part in the spiritual life of the indigenous as many of their Gods lived in the forest. After the settlement by the Spaniards, the forest was not seen as the support of man but as a tool to be used.  This transition in thought persists to this day, as often Forests are identified as non-productive land

Miguel Pinedo, brought forth the example of the people of the Amazon and how their traditional knowledge is not folklore, it is a practice used daily in many communities. In his example, he showed how the forest dependent communities are adapting to a changing landscape that sees greater flooding, long droughts, and fires. Communities are responding to the floods. These shifts come in the form of switch to subsistence based agriculture from commercial, greater reliance on forestry and agroforestry systems, a diversification of the use of forest products, and more reliance on urban-rural networks. Smallholder systems are inherently adaptable and we can learn from them. It was recommended that local responses to events are documented, policies are crafted to support response mechanisms rather than destroy them, and the systems in place are built upon instead of replaced.

The sessions agreed that TFK is rarely considered or incorporated into adaptation initiatives at global, regional, or national levels, even though they are important resources for dealing with vulnerability to climate change, as well as changes in markets and policies.

Presentations in this session:

Traditional forest-related knowledge: Sustaining communities, ecosystems and biocultural diversity (John Parrotta, US Forest Service, USA)

Facilitating Greater Engagement with Forest Peoples: Ethics and Research Methodologies for TFRK Study (Christian Gamborg, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

The use of history in the assessment and understanding of traditional forest-related knowledge. (Mauro Agnoletti, University of Florence, Italy)

Traditional forest-related knowledge in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. (Monica Gabay, Secretaria de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable, Argentina)

Traditional Forest Knowledge: An Amazonian resource for adaptation and mitigation to climate change. (Miguel Pinedo, CIFOR)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: International Forest Governance

International forest governance and its influence on the convergence of forest policy in Latin America

For more information on the IUFRO Task Force on International Forest Governance, visit: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/intl-forest-governance/

Globally, great strides have been made in the last 20 years as to what constitutes responsible forest governance. Yet, frustrations exist at the scale and pace of change. In Latin America, there continues to be a notable gap between ‘rules on paper’ and ‘rules in use’ in most countries, and governance tends to remain firmly based in ‘command-and-control’ approaches established decades ago.

In the session entitled “International Forest Governance and its influence on the convergence of forest policy in Latin America”, leading scholars in this field discussed what political science can do to improve international forest governance in the region through a mix of existing and emerging environmental policy instruments.

Reported cases of “carbon cowboys” deriving indigenous communities from intended benefits from REDD+ have created mistrust and infighting and have raised questions about the usefulness of market-based approaches to environmental problems such as climate change. Yet, the political scientists concluded that – if well designed – market-based instruments such as forest certification or payments for environmental services can help deliver effective policy outcomes. Costa Rica can be cited as a positive example on how new forms and modes of governance have successfully been incorporate into forest policy.

The session also discussed the newly emerging discourse on “rights of nature” in which nature is treated as a ‘subject’ rather than an ‘object’ in environmental legislation. While the notion of collective property rights reflected in this new approach can be seen as a more ethical approach to natural resources, it may however also be motivated by more mundane considerations, such as the intention to bargain for increased financial support from the international community.

Overall, the examples presented in the session indicated the need to incorporate new forms and modes of governance into forest and environmental policy in Latin America. If well-designed, instruments such as legality verification can help form large coalitions of actors and can trigger a “ratchet up” towards better forestry standards in the region.

Presentations in this session:

Policies for promoting sustainable forest management: Convergence of domestic policies and instrument mixes across Latin America (Kathleen McGinley, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USA)

Carbon cowboys: case studies from Peru (Wil De Jong, Kyoto University Japan)

International forest governance and the rights of nature discourse in South America (David Humphries, UK)

Adaptation of tropical forest management in climate change (Rod Keenan, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Agroforestal systems as an alternative to coca crops in the Chapare region of Bolivia (Eduardo Lopez Rosse, UMSS, Department of Natural Resources, Bolivia)

Factors driving botanical tree diversity in agroforestry systems in Central America (Jenny Ordonez)

IUFROLAT III Session Highlights: Threats to Forest Health

Threats to Forest Health – Forest Pests and Diseases, Biological Invasions, Air Pollution and Climate Change

For more information on IUFRO Division 7 Forest Health: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-7/

The papers presented in this session addressed the relationship between changing climatic conditions and biotic factors such as bark beetles and wasps causing forest health problems of various degrees.

One paper highlighted present and projected changes caused by interactive impacts of increasing temperatures, ground-level ozone, nitrogen deposition, and CO2 on forests growth and soil and water processes in south-western  and northern forests in the United  States. These changes may predispose forests to altered water regimes, biodiversity insect attacks, wind-throw, frost damage and catastrophic fires.

Other presentations highlighted the effects of insects on forests in Northern and Central America. Generally, the number of severe outbreaks is increasing, but little is known about the causes of these calamities. Recent research clearly indicates, however, that several earlier benign insect species show damaging outbreaks because of increased stress on the ecosystem. Range expansions of e.g. bark beetle could also be observed and appear to be closely linked to changing climatic conditions.

A cost-benefit analysis of surveillance of ash borer population which is rapidly spreading in many regions due to international trade is worthwhile and cost-effective. Using bio-economic modeling on surveillance trapping helps to optimize surveillance and eradication programs. Given the increasing frequency and severity of insect outbreaks in Northern America continuous surveillance of invasive wood borers and bark beetles is also recommended for Latin America.

Presentations in this session:

Interactive effects of air pollution and climate change on forests in the United States (Andrzej Bytnerowicz, USDA Forest Service, USA)

Sirex noctilio in Argentina: What we know and still need to know to manage populations successfully (Juan Corley, Argentina)

A cost-benefit analysis of surveillance for invasive wood borers and bark beetles (Eckehard Brockerhoff, IUFRO Division 7 Coordinator, Scion, New Zealand)

Evaluation of mortality in natural stands of Pinus ocarpa an P. caribeae in Nicaragua (Lori Eckhart, Auburn University, USA)

The bark beetle outbreaks of Western North America (Christopher Fettig, Pacific Southwest Research Station, USA)

Second Session: Threats to Forest Health: Forest Pests and Diseases, Biological Invasions, Air Pollution and Climate Change

The main focus of the session was the impact of invasive species on forests and solutions for tackling these problems.  Examples were given from different countries and continents including the US, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand.  Solutions are various and obviously depend on the respective case.

Common issues related to globalization and its impact on forest health were raised by all speakers. Live plant material, including seeds, have been implicated in many cases as pathways for invasions of alien pests and pathogens of forest trees and other plants. Solving this problem is difficult because many plants may be asymptomatic and infected plants may thus be difficult to exclude. Answering specific research questions, such as what type of organisms invade from where and related aspects, are required to allow informed decision-making. These are complex problems that require application of newest technologies and also require broad international collaboration.

Actions taken for integrated pest management include education of students, companies, pupils; communication with all stakeholders and the inclusion of locals in monitoring activities. Last but not least, training, early research including close collaboration and teamwork, the maintenance of quarantine facilities are keys to success.

It was recognized that in many countries, there is not good communication between forestry researchers and plant quarantine agencies that hold the responsibility for solving these problems.  The group also concluded that the problem of biological invasions is perhaps not adequately recognized by the forestry research community, including within IUFRO. This suggests that there remains a need to educate the broader research community on the importance of this issue.

Presentations in this session:

Invasions by non-indigenous forest insects and diseases in the US (Andrew Liebhold, US Forest Service, USA)

Continuing spread of plantation pests and pathogens – is there a solution? (Jolanda Roux, University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Advances in IPM of a key pest of poplars in Argentina, Megaplatypus mutates (Mariana Moya, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Successful forest protection is a multifaceted endeavour (Tod Ramsfield, Natural Resources Canada)

IUFROLAT III Keynote Address by Eduardo Mansur, FAO

Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Context

Eduardo Mansur, FAO (Photo courtesy of CATIE)

Eduardo Mansur, FAO (Photo courtesy of CATIE)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The first keynote speaker at IUFROLAT III was Eduardo Mansur, Director of FAO’s Forest Assessment, Management and Conservations Division. He talked about “Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Context”.

First, however, he conveyed greetings from Eduardo Rojas Briales, Assistant Director-General and Head of the Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, on whose behalf he was giving this presentation.

Mansur started by asking what the world should be like in 2050, when the world’s population is estimated to have exceeded 9 billion people.

Pressure on natural resources and the need for food will have increased tremendously by that time. He identified the following major challenges:

1)      Food

2)      Energy

3)      Climate Change

In order to respond adequately to these, which are in fact closely interrelated, he explained various necessary approaches such as the landscape approach. He also underlined the big potential of restoration for improving the environmental situation without affecting food security.

In view of these challenges, the main objectives of FAO are:

1)      Eradication of  hunger

2)      Elimination of poverty and strengthening of economic and social progress

3)      Sustainable management of natural resources

Part of the response to these challenges is better governance of resources and more social participation. Integration and inter-sectorial approaches are key here. This is also especially true for forest research, which needs a more integrated approach.

Mansur explained concepts and tools that FAO has worked with so far and will continue to use in the future, such as the concept of sustainability, the forest resources assessment (FRA), criteria and indicators, etc.

In conclusion, he identified communication and social networks as a key tool to change people’s often blurred conceptions especially with regard to forest management. Science and research are essential here as they can provide the data and knowledge which will help to do away with erroneous perceptions and trade-offs between  biodiversity and forest  use, for example.

IUFROLAT Inaugural Address: Climate Smart Territories

Jose J. Campos presents the inaugural address

Jose J. Campos presents the Inaugural Address.

Jose J Campos, Director General, CATIE, took centre stage once again giving an inspiring presentation entitled, “Climate smart territories- fostering production, resilience and reduced emissions through socially inclusive land management.”  He opened by saying that it is important to think and to work on the territorial level. We should strive to optimize the goods and services in a territory, and to craft a vision with the different players in a territory. It is possible to diversify the economy and recover forest coverage, and noted that countries such as South Korea, and Finland are already doing so.

He stressed what is needed is collective actions from stakeholders; to give a positive result in a territory and ensure that we can improve our landscapes. He noted that this will take indigenous knowledge, new technologies, increased research and time, and it is important not to be spontaneous in how we approach the problems.

Key messages from his presentation include:

  • Global challenges increasingly threaten human security; climate, food, water, energy, etc.
  • System approaches (livelihoods, territorial, sustainable production and value chains) could effectively manage synergies and trade-offs among global challenges.
  • There is a need for collective action through effective local governance and co-management of natural resources.
  • “Climate smart technologies” are a tool that links top=down and bottom-up actions for collective impact.

He continued to explain that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We need to find territories and existing projects to use as a model. He finished by saying that the key to this is in future professionals and in new interdisciplinary science. He stated there is a need to link students to ongoing development initiatives through fieldwork and case studies, to link their education to research, to local development processes and their contributions to society. If we work together we can create a virtuous circle for inclusive and sustainable human well-being.

IUFROLAT 2013 Opening Address

On Wednesday, 12 June 2013, the Third IUFRO Latin American Congress was officially opened at 9:00 a.m. The master of ceremonies, Gabriel Robles, welcomed over 600 participants to the festively decorated Chirripó Room in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the venue of the Congress.

Opening Ceremony: Fernando Carrera

Fernando Carrera, IUFROLAT Organizing committee welcomes the audience.

In his opening address, Fernando Carrera, CATIE, Chair of the Congress Organizing Committee of IUFROLAT 2013, provided perspective into the changes he has noticed in the development of IUFRO over the past 30 years. He noted that now more than ever, the public is addressing environmental issues, whereas in the past the public was not talking about this.  He highlighted how forestry is playing a leading role in the discussion.

He stated IUFROLAT received over 800 scientific abstracts for the Congress and over 200 of these are being presented during the Congress, highlighting the role of this important event to address the issues and challenges in Latin American forests and the role of forestry in this area.

IUFRO President, Niels Elers Koch next took centre stage, and provided a warm welcome to participants and dignitaries. He spoke about how IUFRO has changed his life and improved his scientific capacity since he attended his first event when he was 25 in Oslo, Norway. He brought three messages to share with the crowd:

Opening Ceremony:

IUFRO President Niels Elers Koch address Congress audience.

  1. Enjoy the Congress and benefit the best you can.
  2. Get to know your IUFRO network. There is a lot of knowledge that we can share. Forests are central to the Latin American landscape and there is room to grow the IUFRO network in the region.
  3. Participate in the IUFRO 2014 World Congress, held between Oct. 5th -11th in Salt Lake City, Utah, that will bring together over 3000 forest scientists, stakeholders and policy makers from the world over.

Koch closed by announcing that the IUFRO Board has decided on a recommendation for the International Council of IUFRO to vote for Brazil as the host country for the 2019 World Congress. Having the Congress for the first time in Latin America, in Curitiba, Brazil will be a great opportunity for IUFRO to strengthen ties with forest research organizations in Latin America.

Opening Ceremony:

Jose J. Campos address IUFRO LAT on behalf of CATIE.

Next, José Joaquín Campos, Director of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), organizer and host of the conference, announced that this Congress has brought over 600 participants from Latin America, and other parts of the world to Costa Rica and highlighted the opportunity it presents to discuss and debate what has worked, is working and has not worked in the forests here and around the world.  He underlined the strong ties that have existed between IUFRO and CATIE since its establishment 40 years ago in 1973 and stressed the importance of IUFRO in the future of Latin American forest research.The 40th anniversary of CATIE will also be duly celebrated in the course of the Congress. Campos thanked all who have been involved in the organization of  IUFROLAT 2013.

Representing the Government of Costa RiDSC_0249ca, Ana Lorena Guevara, Vice-Minister of MINAE, the Ministry of the Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, welcomed all the participants and expressed the delight of the country to host this event.  She noted that environmental protection is high on the agenda in Costa Rica and they are working in great effort to maintain and implement policies to ensure that Costa Rica will be a low emission and carbon neutral country by 2021 and that this will in great part be achieved through the forest sector. She proudly stated that forests now cover 52% of Costa Rica and they balance this with sustainable development and preservation. She highlighted Costa Rica’s leading role in environment services and hopes that others can learn from their example. She concluded saying she hopes the results and resolutions of IUFROLAT can be utilized to craft policies that will continue to see the Costa Rican environment, people and economy thrive as one.

IUFRO - The International Union of Forest Research Organizations