Technical panel on wood chemistry
A seventh of meetings of the FAO Technical Panel on Wood Chemistry took place in Israel from 8 to 11 April. Timed to follow the International Symposium on Macromolecular Chemistry (under the auspices of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot), the session was opened at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. K. Luz. The opening meeting, during which Professor H. Mark, Chairman of the Panel, presented a paper on Nuclear Radiation and its Application to the Chemistry of Wood, was attended by over 300 people.
Closed business meetings to discuss FAO's future work in the field of wood chemistry were held at the Institute for Fibers and Forest Products Research (Director, Dr. Menachem Lewin) in Jerusalem, as the result of which it was decided to create two permanent working parties within the Panel: one on wood hydrolysis and the other on pulp and paper. Particular consideration was given to a summary statement on wood saccharification specially prepared for FAO by Drs. Hall, Saeman and Harris of the United States Forest Products Laboratory at Madison and for submission for review by the working party established on wood hydrolysis. (See Unasylva, Vol. 10, No. 1.)
The Technion in Haifa was chosen for the open meetings which followed, at which five guest lectures by noted specialists were presented, dealing with the fundamental and practical aspects of wood fibre morphology and on the bonding of these fibres to each other and to other solid building materials. These were:
K. Freudenberg: The problem of carbohydrate-lignin bonding in wood
H. W. Giertz: Chemistry, morphology and mechanical properties of the compound middle lamella
E. C. Jahn: Expanding wood utilization through the use of resins
H. Mark: Molecular aspects of adhesion
E. Ott and C. A. Heiberger: New developments in synthetic resins for wood adhesives1.
1 Also included with this paper was a "Review of Recent Literature on Synthetic Adhesives for Wood". All the papers will be published in one volume, which it is hoped will be available towards the end of this year.
A study tour, following the conclusion of the meeting and organized by Dr. Lewin, included visits to the Cargal boxboard factory at Bnei Braq, American Israeli Paper Mills Ltd. at Hadera, a large plywood factory at Affikim and the modern wallboard plant at Sefen, as well as to forest operations under the control of the Forest Research Centre (Director, Dr. A.Y. Goor) at Ilanoth, and of the Jewish National Fund.
Thirty-six representatives from 11 countries1 participated in the first meetings of the Teak Subcommission of the FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. Held at Bangkok from 9 to 18 February, the session was opened by Field-Marshal Phin Chunhavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, who explained the purpose of the new body. Teak had been known on world markets for many centuries. During the last decades, considerable interest had developed in growing this valuable species in many parts of the world quite outside its natural habitat. The Subcommission was intended to stimulate consideration at an international level of the many problems of silviculture and utilisation, as well as trade.
1 Burma, Cambodia. France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Pakistan, Thailand, United States of America and Viet-Nam.
Mr. C. R. Ranganathan, Inspector-General of Forests, India, had already been elected ex officio Chairman of the Subcommission by the full Commission at its last meeting in Tokyo. Mr. Y. S. Ahmad, Inspector-General of Forests, Pakistan, was elected Rapporteur for the session, for which the FAO Regional Forestry Officer, Mr. C. S. Purkayastha, acted as Secretary.
As background to the initial discussions, national reports had been received from Burma, India, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand, where teak is indigenous. Japan submitted a report on utilization aspects of teak, and from France there were two interesting papers on teak grown under exotic conditions at Togo and Dahomey in Africa.
A general exchange of views took place on the ecology of teak, seed problems, natural and artificial regeneration, thinning, protection, management of teak forests, and utilization. As a result, a considerable body of knowledge emerged that can be put to practical use. Particular points were to be further investigated by continuing working parties who would report to the next session in 1967.
Proposed standard grading rules for teak squares, conversions and logs were given a critical examination, and it was decided to circulate the agreed drafts widely in importing and exporting countries, inviting comments from various interests. It was stressed that there was no advantage in having elaborate grading rules unless there was a competent administrative machinery in a country to ensure their correct interpretation and application. Countries were urged to include in their technical assistance programs provision for the training of graders.
Altogether, this new FAO regional body made a good start, which should lead to a concerted attack on the salient problems connected with maintaining teak as one of the world's most sought-after timbers.