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Academics stand for future of forests

More than 115 delegates from 23 countries across Asia, the Pacific Islands, Europe, Africa and North and South America will attend an international forestry conference hosted by University of the Sunshine Coast researchers from Sunday 11 October to Thursday 15 October.

The conference, to outline latest research into small-scale and community forestry and the changing nature of forest landscapes worldwide, is presented by USC’s recently formed Tropical Forests and People Research Centre.

The USC Research Centre, directed by Professor John Herbohn, was formed to focus on interactions between people and tropical forests, in particular the management of forests in the Asia-Pacific region which are critical for millions of people’s livelihoods as well as for the environment.

This will be the first time USC has hosted a conference of the Research Group 3.08 of the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organisations), a non-profit network of forest scientists promoting global understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees.

Professor Herbohn, who will be among the 90 presenters, said USC was delighted to have internationally-recognised speakers at the event, based at Novotel Twin Waters Resort, USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium and Mantra Mooloolaba.

The three keynote speakers are:

Monday 12 October: Professor Robin Chazdon, a professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut, USA. Her presentation will be: ‘Promoting natural regeneration in forest landscape restoration: overcoming the tree-planting bias’;

Tuesday 13 October: Professor David Lamb, an honorary professor in the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Queensland and Adjunct Professor with USC’s Tropical Forests and People Research Centre. His presentation will be: ‘Constraints and opportunities: some context for future small-scale reforestation’;

Wednesday 14 October: Dr Don Gilmour, an honorary fellow with The Center for People and Forests in Bangkok, Thailand, who has worked extensively in Asia and Africa. His presentation will be: ’40 Years of community based forestry: a review of extent and effectiveness’. This will be based on a review Dr Gilmour is completing for the Food and Agriculture Organisation on the extent and effectiveness of community-based forestry worldwide. Delegates will be among the first to hear the results of this work.

The conference will be opened by USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill on Monday 12 October at Novotel Twin Waters, Mudjimba.

Wednesday’s morning program will be held at USC at Sippy Downs. For further program details go to

— Julie Schomberg

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