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Commission V: The researchers




D. IYAMABO (Nigeria)

D.A.N. CROMER (Australia)

P. BOUVAREL (France)

Secretariat note


F. WADSWORTH (United States)

Technical secretaries:


L. MENDOZA (Argentina)

The secretariat is in receipt of 22 general papers which respond to requests for documentation on worldwide issues of forestry research. In addition 11 special papers have been received.

The papers received represent viewpoints from all parts of the world, from both hemispheres, from the temperate zone and the tropics, and from both developed and developing countries. They deal with both broad concepts and with the specifics of research. They bear witness to the fact that those responsible for or concerned with forestry research are aware of the challenges of the future, the limitations of recent progress, some of the causes of deficiencies in current research efforts, and some the steps which lie ahead. All in all, the papers present a highly creditable assessment of those aspects of forestry research which deserve consideration by the commission. However, they raise more issues than can be discussed in the session scheduled. It will be the task of the commission to focus on those issues of most widespread concern. It is hoped that the dissemination and publication of these papers will lead regional, national and local agencies to supplement our efforts with the consideration of the many additional new ideas which they contain.

The general papers treat four major aspects of forestry research: (1) programming, (2) technology, (3) use of results, and (4) the situation in the developing regions. Under each of these headings' the papers will be considered in order, from those most general to those most specific.

1. Programme planning and budgeting of forestry research

Possibly the broadest treatment of this aspect of research is that of Youngs' paper on setting priorities in forest research. He presents a set of guides for the research administrator. For each he elaborates on their importance and use. They are: to anticipate the demands for forests and their products and services; to reach policy makers with the results of research; to recognize whole problems and thus reduce the complexity of dealing with their component parts; to search for ways to emulate rather than oppose nature; to relate research intimately to social values and interests; to judge results by their practical value; and to search out public response to the programme as a source of guidance.

Ebeling's paper points to the inescapability of an accelerating technical revolution as a feature of contemporary life and its significance in research planning. He sees in it opportunities as well as problems. He points to increasing demand relative to the supply of forest products and services, increasing mechanization and environmental hazards. He asks how far we should go to meet each of these challenges, and how far we can go. He foresees changes toward monoculture, heavier but less frequent thinning. greater forest homogeneity. and larger felling areas. He sees, in these, increasing conflicts with the highly diversified lives we want. He comes to two conclusions which appear to present a dilemma: that on one hand forestry personnel must become more specialized, and on the other they must greatly increase their degree of contact with the surrounding world.

Addo-Ashong's paper, concerned with the relation of research programmes to the needs of management, concentrates on the formulation of research programmes. He points out that forestry research must always be directed toward ultimate economic benefits, and that it must be consistent with national forest policies. He further notes that where facilities, resources and staff are insufficient to support the programme, the objective becomes one of keeping busy the people and facilities at hand, rather than national goals. In any event, he points out that the goals of management change, so the researchers' programme must be a compromise between today's problem areas and those of the future, notwithstanding the dominance of short-term considerations in the mind of management. In many developing countries even the planning goals are difficult to identify. He suggests the use of research management boards, advisory committees, and linkage between research programming and national development planning as techniques for better research orientation.

Bouvarel's paper relates research programming with the conservation of the environment. He first points to the fact that forestry research has always had a direct role in environmental management. In the first place, we are dealing with a renewable rather than a nonrenewable resource and one which protects much of the face of the globe. He cites research to protect forests from pests and diseases as also for the protection of the environment. He sees in forest watershed management research clearly a form of environmental management. He suggests several lines of forestry research which could be strengthened to enhance its significance to environmental conservation, such as expanded ecosystem studies, forest protection by biological means and the social role of forests, including the potential significance of trees in the control of pollution. He sees a need for much more team research, and special emphasis in the developing countries. He concludes that the development of more concern for the environment offers new sources for the financing and the strengthening of forestry research institutes.

The paper by Mlinsek points out that the practice of silviculture has long been an honourable exception to man's normal practice of destructive exploitation of natural resources without thought for their renewal. In the past the silvicultural objectives of natural regeneration and sustained yield have been pursued in relation to wood production. Now they must be extended to the environmental values of the forest. As a first step. it is important to identify those portions of the forest which have greatest influence on the environment, such as the ecotones between forest and nonforest vegetation, and to concentrate research and management on these portions.

Marshall's paper gives prominence to the need for more defensible and systematic programming and appraisal of forestry research alternatives. His concern is chiefly with objective selection among choices as to priorities in research programme orientation. He appeals for the use of intuitive thinking as a part of the process. He describes the Planning Programming Budgeting System as it applies to research. He points to its utility in evaluating research results as well as costs. He points out that its use of the opinions of experts to evaluate noneconomic goods makes the system especially of interest in forestry research.

Keresztesi's paper presents a case study of forestry research programmes in Hungary and compares it with that in certain other countries in Europe. He follows the changes in research programming policies in Hungary since 1920, resulting from increasing need to import timber and advances in national economic planning. Two recent improvements have been the recognition of broad research missions assigned to scientific teams and the financing of research on a five- to ten-year basis. He describes some of the current research missions and the role of different institutions in conducting the work. He emphasizes the importance of international liaison.

2. The use of modern technologies in forestry research

Donaubauer's paper deals with the technology for communications as a means of conducting research. He points to the increasing number of sources of scientific information, the flood of publications and the broadening scope of forestry. He sees in the current need for more research also a need for greater research effectiveness. A preliminary to this, he believes, is greater clarification of objectives and resultant long-term programme stability. For this, knowledge as to what has been and is being done elsewhere is critical. Technological improvements he recommends include a worldwide system of information retrieval as available to developing countries as to those developed, a common language for abstracts of published information, better abstracting, a reduction in the number of basic technical journals, and directories of institutions and research programmes. He also calls for more informal contacts among research personnel, more flexibility in research institute organizations, more effective flow of information to practitioners, and research on how to do research itself.

Holdridge and Tosi deal with the technology for systematically classifying the world's forest vegetation, a need basic to coordinated research of significance to the management and productivity of forest ecosystems. They point to the fact that the need for broad geographic comparability in classification is growing. The primary unit of the system described is termed a life zone and it is defined by precipitation, biotemperature and potential evapotranspiration. Within these are distinctive natural communities or ecosystems termed associations, and for each of those a number of successional stages may be identified. The system has proven helpful in the organization and understanding of field data, in the selection and comparison of scientific reserves, in applied forestry research, and in the classification of land as to its productive or agricultural cropping capability. The system is reportedly well correlated with social as well as physical attributes of different sites.

Strand's paper presents a strong case for more use of modelling and simulation as forestry research technologies. He points out that research is concerned with changes and that these changes are usually the response of an entire system to stimuli. The development of models makes possible a simplified simulation of responses of the system. He describes simulation as basically a numerical technique for conducting experiments with models which describe the behaviour of a system. It can be adapted to almost all fields of forestry research. It permits distinction of important and unimportant variables, testing of hypotheses, and forecasting of economic situations. As a simplified experimental technique it pinpoints data needs. He cautions. however, that it requires the use of computers and corresponding high costs, and thus should be centralized in large institutions. He also points out that it is not a substitute for good data.

The paper by Heller and his associates describes another technology of great promise. Remote sensing can satisfy a current need for increasingly effective and timely management information systems for policy makers, planners and land managers. Included are the collecting and processing and analysing of survey data, some of which are of types not yet well understood. He describes a number of sensing techniques, beginning with conventional photography and including use of infra-red techniques, radiometers, radar and spectrometers. From such sensing techniques land features, infrastructure, soil characteristics, forest condition, and changes with time can all be derived. He predicts much more use of these techniques in the future because of their potential precision, simplicity, and low cost.

The general paper by Vorobiov tabled under Commision VI stresses the importance of infra-red techniques in the U.S.S.R. for the detection of forest fires. This is coupled with modern methods of fire suppression through artificial production of rain.

3. Getting the results of forestry research known and applied

Blatchford's paper presents considerations of universal application in the dissemination and application of research results. He points out that those responsible for forest management are working against time. They read little technical information and may consider their education completed. As a result the field man often fails to recognize new problems. The problem is also a result of delayed appearance of research reports and their theoretical rather than practical context. He refers to a four-phase progression in the transmission of information: conversation, demonstration, participation, and publication. The virtue of conversation between research personnel and practitioners is that it leads to greater mutual appreciation. Demonstration of research results on an impressive scale is an excellent means to explain results. The potential user of the results must actually try to use them as a part of the dissemination process. Publications should be simply presented and directed toward the user. They should be distinct from annual reports and technical bulletins. He concludes that communication of results will fail without positive thought, time allocation and the expenditure of money on this activity.

Jindra's paper defines three objectives of research: increased productivity, increased labour effectiveness, and improved management. He considers as ready for application present knowledge of improved trees, new production technology, better mechanical means of forest operations and transport, and biological and chemical means of forest protection. He favours both direct (without mediators) and indirect (through other institutions) methods of dissemination of research information. Techniques for direct communication recommended include technical releases focused on the practioner, training courses, demonstrations (areas or models) and development programmes which, in effect, may be long-range demonstrations. He calls for more conclusive assessment of these techniques and the international distribution of the results of such studies.

Smith's paper, written from the viewpoint of an " operational" forester, is critical of the current effectiveness of research communication. He reports almost universal agreement among field foresters that the information they need is seldom available in understandable form when problems arise. He concludes that research scientists, inadequately informed as to what is needed or wanted by the operational forester, work and write to satisfy elite peers removed from the field world and thus do not often include practical suggestions. He calls for selective abstracting of research papers for the field man and, possibly. other interpretation of research results by middlemen. He sees a need for seminars, short courses, meetings and personal contacts providing for face-to-face communication among the two groups. This, he believes, will increase mutual understanding and tolerance. He also suggests that research institutions develop more demonstrations, increase the proportion of their budgets for information services, and direct their literature separately for field foresters and for other researchers.

The importance of coordinating research and application in tree breeding is stressed in the general paper by Vorobiov tabled under Commission VI. In the U.S.S.R. this is achieved through the Central Scientific Research Institute of forest tree breeding in Voronezj which is responsible both for research and for practice in large-scale production of improved seed.

Plochmann and von Droste zu Hülshoff present a very convincing analysis in favour of better research communications. They point out that the forest is now looked to for many services as well as products, thought of as a total ecosystem important to our survival, and a resource managed with an ever greater degree of technology and mechanization. They consider the application of knowledge a part of research. They see the function of their forestry faculty as production, storage, filtering, transformation, and transmission of information. They define the elements of communication as the facts or news, the transmitters, the form or code, the medium and the recipient. They point to the need for collaboration between scientists and journalists to encode the information. They call for international collaboration in compiling records of information available, their arrangement for international use and a progressive technical data bank as part of an information system. They see the responsibility of a faculty to use available information to (a) attract a capable rising generation to the profession, (b) further develop appropriate courses of study, (c) organize advanced courses for those already in the profession, and (d) apply optimal instruction techniques.

Gurgel Filho's paper refers to three aspects of research results in communication: (a) communication among investigators, (b) cooperation among investigators, and (c) transmission of research results to the public. He sees a need for more communication among investigators as a way to increase cooperation and eliminate stagnancy in many institutions. He considers innovation as the final product of research. He cites Brazilian examples of successful diffusion of results: reforestation with pines (Instituto Forestal de São Paulo) and eucalyptus (Compñia Paulista.) He considers a prototype of good practice the present programme of the Instituto Forestal de São Paulo, including four features: (a) prompt demonstrations of results, (b) technical meetings with landowners and industrialists in demonstration areas, (c) continuous liaison with interested parties, and (d) extension through other agencies to other scientific and technical personnel.

4. The forestry research situation in the developing regions and the possibilities of international cooperation

Seth's paper in dealing with research in Asia has brought together information from an extremely diverse section of the world. In some areas research has been in progress since the beginning of the century. Elsewhere it has not yet been undertaken. He describes early research as concerned principally with the management of natural forests and recent tendencies toward afforestation with fast-growing species, tree improvement and the production of pulp and panel products. He sees in past programmes neglect of forest protection, hydrology, soils, environmental relationships, photogrammetry, sampling techniques, and economics. He considered financial support a common problem, resulting from the linking of research to other phases of forestry rather than to revenue or other development expenditures. He sees a need for strong regional research centres and dissemination of information in a common language.

Groulez's paper describes African conditions as also extremely diverse, ecologically, politically and socially. He points to the special importance of forestry research because of the imperative need for economic development. Studies of African woods and African forests have been carried out for many years by local forest services and, in the case of the woods, by laboratories in importing countries. Forest services soon realized the importance of studying the protection of their forests and the means of regulating exploitation of regenerating forests and of creating new man-made forests. He sees a growing recognition among African countries of the importance of forestry to development. The availability of research equipment, facilities and trained personnel is increasing, and a number of countries has established separate research sections within their forest services. Nevertheless, the percentage of forest revenue provided for research is deficient. Funds are assigned to what appear to be more immediate needs. He reports a great diversity in the organization of research due to the many different governments involved and variations in local development and in the degree of outside assistance. He considers international aid to research important as a supplement to local programmes. He sees a great need for more cooperation and coordination at the regional level.

Wadsworth's paper concentrates on the status of ten of the larger research institutions in Latin America. He finds that in general they are expanding in resources and personnel. Nevertheless facilities at most of them are still deficient, libraries need strengthening, as do communications with other institutions and the training of scientific personnel. He considers voluntary coordination at the regional level imperative and sees a favourable environment for progress toward this goal. He recommends a regional programme of training for institute directors, research project leaders and for beginning scientists.

Cozzo's paper reports on personal investigation of the problems of regional coordination of forestry research in Latin America. He refers to a sequence of forestry progress common to all developing countries as beginning with inventory and leading to industrialization of products, silvicultural betterment of stands, the introduction of exotic species, national statistics, public education and forest genetics. He considers regional centralization of investigations as unobtainable because of nationalism. Nevertheless he sees as important accomplishments the development in the past decade of some 15 large research institutions. He believes that forestry as a whole, with the assistance of FAO) has made a good showing in the region during that period. He considers as important obstacles the lack of public appreciation of the investigator, the lack of financial support and the lack of intra-regional interchange of scientific information. Most forestry journals are distributed only to paying subscribers, libraries are new and small and are located only in the major urban centres, and reproduction services are rare. He sees a need for more meetings among research personnel, a stronger regional centre for documentation, a coordinating centre for scientific meetings and a regional association of forestry scientists.

Kemp and his colleagues show the immediate need for action to conserve the world's gene resources, particularly those of the tropics. In justification they point to increasing dependence on tropical wood supplies, the need for high-yielding trees such as those of the tropics, and the lack of means to conserve the corresponding genes within the region. They propose a cooperative programme among existing research institutes, including expansion of existing international tests of provenance. They propose a UNDP/FAO-supported staff to assist in developing gene pools, conservation stands, provenance trials and clone banks.

Commission V papers


Addo-Ashong, F.W.

Problems in relating "search programs to the needs of management

Blatchford, O.N.

The dissemination and application of research information in the field

Bouvarel, P.

Contribution de la recherche forestière a la conservation de l'environnement

Cozzo, D.

Necesidad de una mayor vinculación y cooperación de los investigadores forestales en las regiones en vies de desarrollo: el ejemplo de América Latina

Do Amaral Gurgel Filho

La diffusión y aplicación de los resultados de la investigación forestal

Donaubauer, E.

Problems and possibilities of rationalization of forestry research

Ebeling, F.

The technological revolution in forestry and its challenge to foresters working in research and in the field

Groulez, J.

L'état de la recherche forestière en Afrique

Heller, R.C., Spada, B. & Woll, A.M

Remote sensing in resource evaluation

Holdridge, L.R. & Tosi, J.A.

The world life zone classification system and its significance to forestry research

Jindra, J.

Getting forest research results known and applied

Kemp, R.H. et, al.

International cooperation in the exploration, conservation and development of tropical and sub-tropical forest gene resources

Keresztesi, B.

Planning financing in forest research and the utilization of results achieved

Marshall, J.B.

Evaluating research programs

Mlinsek, D.

Progrès de la recherche sur les effets des traitements sylviculturaux de l'environnement

Oseni, A.M.

Budgeting and planning of forest research in a federal country

Plochmann, R. & von Droste zu Hülshoff, B.

The forestry faculty and the researcher in an integrated information system

Seth, S.K.

Status of forestry activity in Asia

Smith, J.H.G.

The communication of research to the operational forester

Strand, L.

The possibilities and limitations of simulation techniques and modelling in forestry research

Vorobiov, C.I.

Main trends in forest utilization and forest management in the U.S.S.R.

Wadsworth, F.H.

Status of forestry research in Latin America

Youngs, R.L.

Setting priorities in forest research


Bitterlich, W.

The Tele-Relaskop

Burgess, R.L. & Swank, W.T.

Analysis of ecosystems in the eastern deciduous forest biome - U.S. International Biological Program

Howard, J. & Barton, I.J.

Mapping the albedo of forest from light aircraft

Little, E.L.

The status of tree identification in Latin America

Mittak, W.L.


Newnham, R.M.

Simulation models as an aid to the design, development and innovation of logging machinery

Ruan Ruan, F.

Un plan nacional de investigaciones forestales para Colombia

Snobohm, A.J.

Empleo de sensores remotos- radar en la inventariación de la selva amazónica y levantamiento de los recursos naturales

Tagudar, E.T.

Forest research in the food industry in the Philippines

Vega Condori, R.

Las formas fisiográficas en el mapeamiento y evaluación de los " cerrados"

Vyskot, M.

New trends in the science of silviculture


1. Planning is a prerequisite for efficient forest research, but it is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Its purpose is to direct research toward the most useful objectives and to direct resources to support the most important lines of research. Since resources are invariably limited, the establishment of priorities is imperative. These priorities flow from the needs of the forest policy of the country.

2. Flexibility is an essential part of any research programme. Unexpected problems may arise which need urgent ad hoc solutions, and research plans must allow for immediate initiation of research on these problems, if necessary at the expense of the lower priority items of long-term research.

3. Imaginative presentation of research programmes can be effective in obtaining the necessary supporting funds whether from governments, industry, aid agencies or foundations. The benefits to be expected from research, both economic and social, should be clearly stated. Economic benefits may be evaluated in quantitative terms. Social benefits are difficult to quantify, but some attempt must be made to evaluate them in nonmonetary terms, since they are often the predominant consideration.

A logical system of programming and budgeting, which attempts to integrate both economic and social benefits, such as the Planning Programming Budgeting System, is a valuable tool in this respect.

4. Many aspects of research administration are of a universal nature. International seminars are required for research administrators to provide training in the identification of research objectives, the determination of project priorities, programme planning and budgeting, the use of interdisciplinary research teams, and the development of improved communication between research and both the forest manager and the general public.

5. Modern research technologies, such as systems analysis, simulation and modelling, remote sensing, biochemistry and automated, nondestructive measurement of wood properties, provide powerful tools for forestry research. Special measures are needed to communicate to forestry scientists the nature, utility and limitations of these technologies; these could include seminars and the organization of working groups.

6. It is essential to continue and intensify the studies of forest ecosystems for better understanding of the environment and the biological basis for management. To this end, it is urged that forest research organizations, in cooperation with the other research agencies, ensure that internationally coordinated and multidisciplinary research on forest ecosystems continue when the International Biological Programme comes to an end.

7. The retrieval of a constantly increasing volume of forest research information presents a growing problem for research workers throughout the world. The contribution of the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau, through the regular publication of Forestry abstracts, is widely acknowledged, and the commission noted that, from January 1973, Forestry abstracts will become a fully mechanized monthly publication, the information from which will be stored in machine-readable form.

8. There is, nevertheless, an urgent need for an acceleration of progress in the development of a forestry information storage and retrieval system, which would be readily available to developing as well as developed countries. This is a formidable task, requiring as a first step the development of a universally accepted forestry thesaurus. The creation of a special subject group on information systems within the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a welcome step forward in this respect. FAO) is also working on this matter through its research centre.

9. A substantial part of forest research is applied research. It should be directed as much as possible to solving the practical problems of the operational forester, and to expressing results in a form which is readily understandable by him. The liaison between the research worker and the operational forester needs to be improved. The spoken is no less important than the written word, and increased opportunities for discussion, demonstration and participation in research should be afforded to the operational forester, in order to involve the research and the operational forester mutually in each other's work.

10. One means of ensuring that research programmes are directed toward practical field problems is for operational foresters to take part in the preparation of the programme. Operational foresters should be included in any research coordinating committee.

11. There is a risk that extreme specialization results in an over-narrow viewpoint in the research worker. All research workers should be encouraged to develop an interdisciplinary team spirit and to carry on a regular exchange of views between individuals on the broader aspects of research.

12. Regular meetings of research workers on a regional basis can be extremely valuable in assisting the exchange of information between neighbouring countries. They are particularly effective in regions, such as Latin America, in which there is a common language spoken by the great majority of the participants.

13. The establishment of regional centres for the collection and dissemination of research information is also seen as a valuable means of strengthening regional research.

14. The resources available for forest research in most developing countries are gravely inadequate, in relation to the magnitude of the problems. National governments should give priority to strengthening their forest research programmes, in order that research can fulfil its potential role in increasing the rate and the quality of forest development. National support for a forest research programme is a prerequisite for its success.

15. At the same time, international and bilateral aid agencies should take immediate steps to increase their contribution to the strengthening of forest research in the developing countries, through substantial and extended technical aid. The long-term nature of much of forest research implies the need, in many cases, of long-term aid.

16. There is an urgent need for increased facilities for training in research techniques for forest researchers from developing countries. International sponsorship of training courses and seminars, covering subjects such as problem analysis, preparation of research projects and experimental plans, including design and analysis, computer programming and the preparation of research reports and publications, should be expanded in frequency and scope.

17. Short-term exchange of scientists between developing and developed countries can be mutually beneficial. The provision of international funds to enable forest research workers to receive both theoretical and practical training in developed countries should be increased. At the same time. scientists from developed countries should be encouraged to accept short-term ret search and teaching secondments in developing countries.

18. The main emphasis in research in developing countries has been traditionally on natural forest management and regeneration and the utilization of indigenous species. More recently, exotic species and provenance trials and the establishment of man-made forests have assumed increasing importance. Research sectors which demand urgent attention in a number of developing countries include hydrology, soils study, sampling techniques, forest economics, harvesting and the effect of man-made forests on the environment.

19. Specialized facilities for laboratory and forest products research, e.g. on wood properties and timber engineering, are available in developed countries and could sometimes be utilized more intensively, whereas many of the developing countries do not have any of these facilities. The compilation of a directory of research institutes, both in forestry and in related subjects such as building engineering, showing the topics studied and the capacity to undertake research submitted from outside countries, is recommended as a valuable service to developing countries.

20. A task of primary importance for future forestry the world over is the conservation and utilization of forest gene resources. This is especially urgent in the tropics and subtropics, where in certain cases valuable gene resources are in imminent danger of extinction. The value of the global research and development project in gene resources now under consideration by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) cannot be overestimated.

21. Most rapid progress is likely to be made if intensified research, such as this, is concentrated on a few important species. as has been demonstrated at several international institutes of agricultural research.

22. Current efforts in collection and distribution of provenance seed samples cannot be fully utilized unless all countries are aware of the species and provenances available. The publication of information on forest gene resources. as proposed by FAO) would go far to fill the present gap.


23. Noting that research resources in developing countries are gravely inadequate for the many problems encountered, the commission recommended an immediate and substantial intensification of international assistance to strengthen forest research in the developing countries.

24. In view of the frequent failures in communication between the research worker and the operational forester in the past, the commission recommended that research programmes be geared to meet the needs of operational foresters and that frequent dialogue be held between research workers and operational foresters, so that each may appreciate the achievements and problems of the other.

25. The commission recommended that research planners establish a clear series of priorities in their programmes, while maintaining the maximum degree of flexibility to allow for unexpected problems which require an immediate ad hoc solution.

26. Acknowledging the value of training courses and seminars, both in research administration and in research techniques, the commission recommended an increase in the frequency with which these are held.

27. The commission strongly supported the proposal for a global research and development project on forest gene resources now under consideration by UNDP. It further recommended that FAO) proceed as soon as possible to publish periodic up-to-date information on available forest gene resources.

28. The commission recommended that special measures, such as the organization of working groups and seminars, be taken to communicate to forestry scientists the nature, utility and limitations of modern research technologies, such as systems analysis, modelling and simulation, remote sensing and biochemistry. This recommendation has been endorsed by IUFRO.

29. The commission recommended an accelerated international effort to develop a world-wide system for the storage and retrieval of scientific information. In this respect, it welcomed the creation within IUFRO of a special subject group on information systems.

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