Conference opens centenary for forestry education celebrations

October 10 / 46

The Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science began its Centenary celebrations by hosting a national conference on the Future of Forestry and Forest Science from 30 September – 2 October.

2010 marks the centenary of the establishment of professional forestry education in Australia with the establishment of the School of Forestry at Creswick.

"The aim of the conference is to set a platform for development of forest education and science to meet the future needs of Australian society," he said.

Forest ecosystem scientist at the Melbourne School of Land and Environment Professor Rodney Keenan said forest science, education and practice underwent considerable change during its 100 year history.

“Forest science has transformed from a field predominantly focused on the management of timber production to a field focused on maintaining ecosystem services, such as fresh air, clean water, medicine and food, that our forests provide us with,” he said.

“As we face environmental and social challenges, we need to adapt our forest research and education to meet the needs of future generations in a rapidly changing world.” he said.

The conference brought together some of Australia’s leading thinkers, forest scientists, forest industry specialists and community leaders to present views on the prospects for forest science and professional forest education in the 21st Century.

Among the speakers were several University researchers including Professor Janet McCalman, Mr Rowan Reid,  A/Prof. Ruth Beilin, Dr Kathryn Williams, Dr Kevin Tolhurst and Emeritus Professor Ian Ferguson.

The conference opened with a lecture and panel discussion which featured world-famous conservationist and 2007 Australian of the year, Professor Tim Flannery, who discussed the intricacies of human dependence on forests.

The Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science (DFES) is Australia’s largest combined research, development and education provider dedicated to forests, forest products and forested landscapes.

Research activities are driven by more than 50 scientists and support staff and a similar number of postgraduate research students. Topics range from basic fundamental research to molecular/cell biology and stress physiology, over ecophysiology and studies of ecosystem processes, impacts of climate change, wildfire, water availability and quality as well as biosecurity issues and forest health, to directly applicable investigations into sustainable forest management, forest operations as well as research into forest and wood products.

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