FWPA joins Aussie researchers representing local R&D on global stage Launch of WoodChat Episode 13
The latest episode of the Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) WoodChat series of podcasts has launched today. It focuses on the exciting takeaways of FWPA and other Australian representatives who were amongst the 2,500 scientists from 92 countries at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress.
Listeners will hear directly from attendees who travelled to Brazil for the congress in October. Conversations cover key themes including deforestation and climate change, as well as the willingness amongst attendees to collaborate on a global scale for the benefit of forests everywhere.
Hosts Sam and Georgia spoke to Jodie Mason, Forest Research Manager at FWPA, who was in attendance at this year’s congress, alongside many Australian researchers who presented details of their projects to delegates, many of which were co-funded by FWPA.
“It was great to see our home-grown researchers networking in this way, promoting Australian projects, and updating themselves with international best practice. It was apparent that Australian researchers are well-regarded and well-networked in the global arena,” Ms Mason said.
Sharing some of her key takeaways from the event, Ms Mason noted that research on the impact and mitigation of climate risk was of high priority, both for supporting ecosystem function and commercial forestry.
“The climate adaptation measures presented were assisted migration of natural forest species, and boosting the drought tolerance of plantation species through various measures,” she explained. Continuing on the topic of the climate, Ms Mason said silvicultural practices to improve site conditions were another major area of focus. These included trials of stump removal to increase moisture retention, and tree spacing when it comes to planting.
In addition, Ms Mason highlighted the soil microbiome as another interesting theme. This area of study looks at how complex microbial activity in soils interacts with tree roots, prompting the transfer of carbon and nutrients from soil to tree, and also between multiple trees.
“Research in this field has great potential applications for nurseries, plantations, natural forests and in laboratories where plantlets are grown, with increased productivity and healthier and more resilient forests being the ultimate goal.”
In the episode, the hosts also interview Professor Rodney Keenan, from the University of Melbourne’s school of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, who attended the event for the seventh time. They discuss how the congress has evolved over the years, key insights on forest restoration and the need for sustainable intensification to meet future demand for timber.
Dr Angus Carnegie, Principal Research Scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Science & Research Division, also discusses his presentation of research on the impact of myrtle rust in Australia, as well as new collaborations on invasive pest research with key international experts, which were made possible by his attendance at the congress.
Every four-to-five years, the IUFRO World Congress provides unique opportunities to share evidence-based knowledge across disciplines and continents, to discuss the state of the world’s forests, the challenges and consequences, as well as possible solutions.
This episode is part of the second series of the WoodChat podcast, following topics including how FWPA has joined forces with Australia’s other agriculture and horticulture industries to develop new pest diagnostic technology, how virtual reality is being used to drive forestry into the future, and initiatives to engage the future leaders of the industry.
WoodChat represents FWPA’s ongoing commitment to engaging ways of communicating news and innovations to the industry and beyond. Each episode includes in-depth conversations with experts on recent discoveries and current initiatives.
Eileen Newbury, National Marketing and Communications Manager, FWPA
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