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|Michael Wingfield (South Africa)|
|Website||IUFRO Official website|
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) (French: Union Internationale des Instituts de Recherches Forestières, German: Internationaler Verband Forstlicher Forschungsanstalten, Spanish: Unión Internacional de Institutos de Investigación Forestal) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists, headquartered in Austria.
The IUFRO unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries. Scientists cooperate in IUFRO on a voluntary basis.
It promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. It disseminates scientific knowledge to stakeholders and decision-makers and contributes to forest policy and on-the-ground forest management. IUFRO's vision is of science-based sustainable management of the world's forest resources for economic, environmental and social benefits.
With the Strategy 2015–2019, IUFRO addresses five research themes and associated emphasis areas, and three institutional goals. The following five themes aim to guide the science collaboration within IUFRO's global network in the current Strategy period:
The three institutional goals are:
Goal 1 – Research Excellence: Strive for quality, relevance and synergies
Goal 2 – Network Cooperation: Increase communication, visibility and outreach
Goal 3 – Policy Impact: Provide analysis, insights and options
IUFRO generates knowledge on research needs and priorities of scientists, policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders; provides access to and disseminates scientific knowledge to policy-makers, practitioners and stakeholders; and assists scientists and institutions to strengthen their research capacity. All activities are based on volunteer collaboration among scientists.
Every five years IUFRO organizes a World Congress with about 2000 participants. The most recent was in Salt Lake City, United States, in 2014; the next will be in Curitiba, Brazil, in 2019. Between congresses, there are some 70-80 regional conferences and meetings organized by the individual IUFRO research units (i.e. Divisions, Research Groups and Working Parties, Task Forces, Special Programmes, Projects and Chapters) every year all over the world.
Many joint activities and partnership agreements occur with national governments, regional and global organizations and NGOs. For example, IUFRO is a Scientific Union Member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), a member of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and an observer organization in the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other forest-related international processes and conventions. It has established memoranda of understanding with, for instance, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and International Forestry Students' Association (IFSA).
IUFRO disseminates knowledge via its website
iufro.org, the expertise of its officeholders, and a range of publications such as IUFRO News, IUFRO Spotlight, calendar of events, information leaflets, annual reports, Occasional Papers, IUFRO World Series, IUFRO Research Series, and conference proceedings.
GFEP GFEP produces interdisciplinary scientific assessment reports on key issues emerging from international policy debates. The reports are prepared by thematic Global Forest Expert Panels, each consisting of leading scientific experts in their field. All reports undergo rigorous peer review. The number and frequency of reports is determined by the information needs and requests coming from the intergovernmental processes. To date, five global assessment reports and corresponding policy briefs as well as one regional assessment have been completed. GFEP is an IUFRO-led initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).
GFIS is an internet gateway that allows sharing of forest-related information through a single entry point. These resources are freely searchable online and provide direct access to the original information. All information made available through GFIS is supplied by partner institutions from around the world that host forest information. Today GFIS is an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).
IUFRO's Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC) was established in 1983. In order to enhance the ability of research institutions to generate and deliver scientific information and advisory services on forest and trees and their sustainable utilisation IUFRO-SPDC implements the following programme components: training of scientists; collaborative research networking, scientist assistance programme.
The Special Project “World Forests, Society and Environment” (IUFRO-WFSE) is a global, open, collaborative network of scientists and experts from different parts of the world. It supports sustainable forest-related development, livelihoods and inclusive growth as well as related policy processes through international collaboration in knowledge generation and exchange. IUFRO-WFSE focuses on topics recognized by the scientific community as important and having significant policy implications but appear not to be receiving adequate attention from the policy community. The WFSE network collates and critically analyses existing scientific knowledge on topics of international relevance, and undertakes new research to fill in crucial gaps in existing knowledge. IUFRO-WFSE is coordinated in the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
IUFRO administration is broken down into: a Congress; International Council; Board and Committees; Management Committee; Advisory Council; President and the Vice-Presidents; Executive Director; Finance Officer.
The structure of the Union comprises the following IUFRO Units: Divisions; Research Groups and Working Parties; Task Forces, Special Programmes (IUFRO-SPDC), Projects (IUFRO-WFSE) and IUFRO-led Initiatives (GFEP, GFIS).
The main function of Divisions is to support researchers in collaborative work and provide an organizational link among Research Groups and their associated Working Parties and also between these Groups and the IUFRO Board. Currently there are nine permanent Divisions: (Division 1 – Silviculture; Division 2 – Physiology and Genetics; Division 3 – Forest Operations Engineering and Management; Division 4 – Forest Assessment, Modelling and Management; Division 5 – Forest Products; Division 6 – Social Aspects of Forests and Forestry; Division 7 – Forest Health; Division 8 – Forest Environment; Division 9 - Forest Policy and Economics) sub-divided into Research Groups and Working Parties.
IUFRO Task Forces are established on a temporary basis during each 5-year IUFRO Board term to advance inter‐disciplinary cooperation in forest research fields that span two or more IUFRO Divisions. Their focus is on emerging key issues that are of great interest to policy makers and groups inside and outside the forest sector, and contribute to international processes and activities. IUFRO Task Forces are dealing with the following topics: Contribution of Biodiversity to Ecosystem Services in Managed Forests; Sustainable Planted Forests for a Greener Future; Sustainable Forest Biomass Network; Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change; Climate Change and Forest Health Forests and Biological Invasions; Forests, Soil and Water Interactions; Resources for the Future: Transformation in Forest Use; Foresight for Forest Sector Planning; Forest Education.
IUFRO was founded as the “International Union of Forest Experiment Stations” in 1892 by three members: the Association of German Forest Experiment Stations, and the experiment stations of Austria and Switzerland. After World War I, the number of members increased considerably as universities, forestry education centers and other forestry institutions not only from Europe but also from other continents joined. The name of IUFRO was changed to “International Union of Forestry Research Organizations”. World War II interrupted the activities of the Union. Until the 1970s IUFRO grew rapidly with many of the new members coming from developing countries. From the 1980s onwards, IUFRO has been increasingly addressing forest-related social, economic, and ecological problems of global importance. In 2000 the name of IUFRO was changed to “International Union of Forest Research Organizations.”