Media release 17.08.2005
The world’s forest area is decreasing at an alarming rate, affecting biodiversity and human living conditions. In spite of this, funds directed to forest research have diminished everywhere in the world. The Congress organized by IUFRO (the International Union of Forest Research Organizations), held in Brisbane, Australia, announced a resolution on August 13 th that lists new goals to improve the status of forest research.
Forest researchers should increase cooperation not only with each another but also with other disciplines to produce information that meets the needs of those who are financing the research. A more active approach should be taken to communicate the research results to decision-makers and the general public. An advisory organ for forest affairs should be considered, with operations along the same lines as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IUFRO will make an effort to increase research resources in the developing countries and to enhance participation of women and younger researchers in its activities.
In his opening speech at the Congress, President of IUFRO, Professor Risto Seppälä from the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), drew attention to the need for forest researchers to respond more quickly to the challenges of the future. While some manufacturing of forest industry products is being moved from West Europe and North America to Asia, East Europe and Russia, the development of information and communication technology has reduced the consumption of paper products. This means that the leading forest industrial countries must come up with new products in order to survive. Important research targets include bioenergy, wood chemistry and wood-derived pharmaceuticals and functional food ingredients.
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations IUFRO, founded in 1892, is one of the world’s oldest consortia of research organizations, with more than 15,000 researchers and almost 700 member organizations in 114 different countries.