Yesterday, the in-Congress excursions took place: despite rainy weather, over 1,350 delegates on eight tours fanned out across three provinces, to explore a biodiversity area, an experimental forest, a tree breeding facility, a forest education center, an ancient royal forest preserve, a chestnut plantation, a recreational forest, and a once-ravaged, high-altitude area that has been successfully replanted. If you want to know more, read the Thursday Congress Daily.
This is the first IUFRO World Congress where social media are widely used – if you want to know to what extent, conduct a search for IUFRO on Twitter – you’ll be amazed!
There are also several blogs showing the many aspects a IUFRO World Congress can offer. The following is just a small selection:
Three days of the scientific programme of the IUFRO World Congress are already finished and many special events, such as the President’s Discussion and the Directors’ Forum, have taken place.
Apart from hard-core science in sub-plenary and technical session, there have been in-corridor chats, in-corridor dancing and the Bibimbap performance. Visit the Photo Gallery to see all the latest pictures.
Also read the “Congress Daily” for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to learn in greater detail what has been g0ing on at the Congress.
And finally, you might want to see what the French Ministry of Agriculture posted on its website about the IUFRO World Congress!
After four days of pre-Congress trainings courses, yesterday’s Opening Ceremony and the first round of plenay, sub-plenary and technical sessions, the XXIII IUFRO World Congress is now well in its second day.
Read a short report of a forestry student and check out the pictures of the Congress picture gallery – enjoy!
XXIII IUFRO World Congress
23-28 August 2010
Seoul, Republic of Korea
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) honours through a variety of awards those who advance science and promote international cooperation in all fields of research related to forestry. At each IUFRO World Congress, the following awards for scientific work are presented:
* Scientific Achievement Award (SAA): Awards will be made for outstanding research published in scientific journals, proceedings of scientific meetings or books, or appropriate patents or other relevant evidence that clearly demonstrates the importance of the nominee’s achievements to the advancement of regional or world forestry or forest research. The SAA will be presented during the Opening Ceremony of the Congress on Monday, August 23.
* Outstanding Doctoral Research Award (ODRA): Awards will be made for path-breaking doctoral dissertations within six years after completion of the dissertation. The ODRA will be presented at a special sub-plenary session “IUFRO Award Winners – the Next Generation” on Tuesday, August 24 where Awardees will participate in a special panel discussion.
* Best Poster Award (BPA): Awards will be made for outstanding poster presentations at the IUFRO World Congress, for quality of research design, presentation of data, organization and neatness of the poster. Special mention of the award winners will be made during the Closing Ceremony of the Congress on Saturday, August 28.
* The IUFRO World Congress Host Scientific Award will be presented for the second time at this Congress: It honours a truly outstanding and accomplished scientist from the Congress host country who has elevated the profile of forest science and research.
The World Congress Host Scientific Award will be presented during the Opening Ceremony of the Congress on Monday, August 23.
* IUFRO Student Awards for Excellence in Forest Science (ISA) will also be presented for the second time: This award recognizes outstanding individual achievements in forest science made by Master’s degree students (or equivalent), and is to encourage their further work within the fields of research covered y the Union. The ISA will be presented at a special sub-plenary session “IUFRO Award Winners – the Next Generation” on Tuesday, August 24 where Awardees will participate in a special panel discussion.
Apart from the Best Poster Award winners, who will be chosen during the Congress, all award winners have already been selected and are presented in the IUFRO News Special Issue on Scientific Awards.
Maybe there’s something to that “hug a tree” idea.
“Many people,” says Dr. Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla, “feel relaxed and good when they are out in nature. But not many of us know that there is also scientific evidence about the healing effects of nature.”
Forests – and other natural, green settings – can reduce stress, improve moods, reduce anger and aggressiveness and increase overall happiness. Forest visits may also strengthen our immune system by increasing the activity and number of natural killer cells that destroy cancer cells.
Many studies show that after stressful or concentration-demanding situations, people recover faster and better in natural environments than in urban settings. Blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of “stress hormones” all decrease faster in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.
In addition to mental and emotional well-being, more than half of the most commonly prescribed drugs include compounds derived from nature – for example Taxol, used against ovarian and breast cancer, is derived from yew trees, while Xylitol, which can inhibit caries, is produced from hardwood bark.
Dr. Karjalainen will coordinate a session on the health benefits of forests at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Seoul. “Preserving green areas and trees in cities is very important to help people recover from stress, maintain health and cure diseases. There is also monetary value in improving people’s working ability and reducing health care costs.” she says.
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The assessment report is prepared by an Expert Panel on “international forest regime“, which consists of internationally recognized scientific experts in their field and is overall coordinated by the IUFRO-led initiative “Global Forest Expert Panels” (GFEP) of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).
As part of the assessment process, the second meeting of the Expert Panel on the International Forest Regime was held on 7-8 July 2010 at the Headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. 30 renowned experts in political science and international law gathered at this meeting to discuss the draft manuscripts of the assessment report and identify the conclusions emerging from the assessment.
Prior to the Nairobi meeting, all draft manuscripts of the report had been reviewed and commented in detail by 25 invited reviewers as well as this GFEP assessment was already initiated in October 2009 on the issue of the “international forest regime“.
The experts who gathered in Nairobi agreed on the idea of “embracing complexity” as the main storyline of the report and highlighted the potential for positive interactions between key elements of the international forest regime on issues such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, access and benefit sharing, and forest law enforcement, governance and trade.
The assessment will be completed in autumn 2010. It will provide concrete proposals for better coordination and better outcomes of the international forest regime and is expected to make a major contribution to the International Year of Forests 2011. Listen to the podcast: Interview with Alexander Buck (GFEP Coordinator) for more information:
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The world’s forests may provide some unexpected answers as to how mankind can create more value with less environmental impact – good news as we move toward a greener future.
Putting a tree – figuratively speaking – into your car’s gas tank may be the way of the future. Dr. In-Gyu Choi, associate professor in the department of forest science at Seoul National University, will coordinate a session at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress that will look at the future of forest biomass as raw materials for the development of green biofuels and chemicals.
Forest biomass is renewable, abundant and carbon-neutral. Its importance as a future source of green energy and green chemicals should not be ignored, he says.
The session will involve itself with “look-ahead” science – things such as innovative technologies to convert forest biomass into bioalcohol, synthetic gasoline and diesel as well as the future market possibilities for forest-based green chemicals to be used as the raw materials for biodegradable bioplastics. (Plastics from biomass are made the same way as petroleum-based plastics, but are actually cheaper to manufacture and meet or exceed most performance standards with the exception of water resistance and longevity.)
Eco-efficiency – and this session falls under that broad category – aims at the delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and improve quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource use intensity to a level compatible with the earth’s estimated carrying capacity.
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