The IUFRO/FORNESSA Congress brought together over 300 participants from 50 plus countries – 40 of those African. For many of the participants it was the largest gathering focused on forest issues they have ever attended. With a wealth of sessions to choose from, participants were able to interact with others doing research not only in their own area but complimentary ones as well.
With the rooms full of expertise the sessions never seemed long enough, as questions, comments and discussion were bountiful. During the panel discussion of the ITTO/AFF Forest Policy Day that ran all day June 28th, a very insightful observation was stated – the knowledge sharing which happens during these events brings the level of expertise up for individuals quicker than any other means and not only does it raise the expertise level of the individual it positively affects the collective regions level. It is only in these open forums where one gains a clear picture of what and how research is being done in neighbouring countries.
Many of the younger attendees were awed at being able to meet and share their research with foremost leaders in topics and gain valuable critique and insight that is an opportunity they would not have been granted otherwise.
Congress goers have one day remaining before they head back to their respective countries and they will be bring back a souvenir which will last a lifetime – shared knowledge and improved understanding of the issues Africa’s forests, trees and people face.