South Africa, a country on the southern-most tip of the African continent is home to seven biomes, from grassland to Fynbos and afro-temperate forests, the diversity in landscapes and humanity defines this country. South Africa is also the destination forthe 45th International Forestry Students’ Symposium ( IFSS). From the 2nd to the 17th of July 2017 South African forestry students will host the globe and showcase the South African forestry industry in its excellence and diversity.
The IFSS (International Forestry Students’ Symposium) has been organised since 1973, each year in a different country. In recent years, the Symposium has been hosted by universities from countries such as Austria, The Philippines and Canada. Participants of the symposium are forestry students that hail from all over the world and they get to have the opportunity to experience forestry as it is defined by the particular host country. Hosted under the auspices of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), these symposiums aim to further international forest education while developing forestry professionals that are cognisant of the fact that forest ecosystems thrive beyond political boundaries.
Often organised by one university chapter, the 2017 symposium is being organised as a collaborative effort of all five tertiary institutions that offer forestry and related courses in South Africa. These universities are , Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Stellenbosch University, Fort Cox Agriculture and Forestry Training Institute, University of Venda and University of Pretoria. The symposium will therefore be extensive and offer a great insight for South African forestry while advancing and African forestry agenda as well.
The symposium will take place over two weeks in addition to a Cape region pre-symposium tour and a scientific conference post-symposium event. The symposium will cover five of the nine geographic provinces in the country following a coastal route from the afrotemperate forest region right through to the Savannah landscapes in the north of the country. The theme FORESTRY IN A DIVERSE ENVIRONMENT: “SIYAPHI” WHERE TO FROM HERE will dissect the diversity of the environment that defines forestry in South Africa, from the limited natural forests to plantation forests which play a massive role in the South African economy and the woodlands that house the famous big five mammals.
The programme is currently being planned and among the highlights are the opening ceremony in George in the southern Cape region , proposed visits to leading pulp and wood-processing companies, the Department of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries as well learning much about the Southern African nation cultures and 11 official languages. During the IFSS the General Assembly of the International Forestry Students Association will take place, it involves going through legal procedures such as approving statutes of the organisation as well as electing a new IFSA board.
As the IFSS is a meeting organised by students for students and participation fees are kept as low as possible to give people from all over the world the chance to attend, generous sponsors are needed to make the event possible. Forestry South Africa, The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and the universities hosting the event have thankfully already agreed to support the IFSS and more sponsors are still required. At the same time, such an event would not be possible without a motivated organising team. Right now, the Organising Committee consisting of students from all the universities are already working hard to organise an amazing event.
We are all looking forward to welcoming you at IFSS 2017!