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International union of forest research organizations thirteenth congress - Vienna

THE: Thirteenth Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) was held in Vienna, Austria, from 10 to 16 September 1961, and some 360 foresters and research workers representing more than 36 countries and 120 research institutes, took part.

It was in Vienna in 1893 that the first IUFRO Congress was held, two years after the creation of the Union itself, and this homecoming, so to speak, was in itself a noteworthy occasion. The inaugural meeting of the Congress was held at the Palace of Industry, Vienna. In the chair was the President of the Union, Mr. James Macdonald of the United Kingdom, who has been in charge of the Union's affairs since the Twelfth Congress held at Oxford in 1956.

The first few days were taken up with the work of the International Council, of the IUFRO Permanent Committee, and of the various research sections. Numerous scientific and technical papers were presented and discussed in the three working languages: English, French and German. When the day's work was over, a highly varied and enjoyable program of social and cultural meetings and tours provided an excellent counterpoise and a note of relaxation, in the best Viennese tradition.

At the close of the Congress, Professor J. Speer of the School of Forestry of the University of Munich was elected incoming President of IUFRO and Mr. V. L. Harper of the United States Forest Service, Vice-president. A new Permanent Committee was elected with 25 members, two more than its predecessor, and 15 of them being fresh to the committee. There are now 15 members from research institutes in Europe; five from institutes in North America; one each from Latin America, the Near East and the U.S.S.R.; and two from the Asia and Pacific region.

Leaders of the various research sections were also appointed. One new section, to deal with forest histories, was set up with the study of the history of natural forest throughout the world and the influence of man thereon as its terms of reference. It will try to coordinate the compilation of forest histories most useful to the forestry profession.

After lengthy discussion, it was decided to rename the section responsible for utilization matters and to call it Forest Products Section with broad responsibilities. Its immediate fields of interest were agreed as: (a) the properties of wood, (b) reaction of timbers to fire, and (c) sawing and machining of wood.

Specialized working parties have in fact been set up in most of the research sections, and several of these are engaged on joint projects with FAO; for example, in regard to bibliographies and forest terminology, forest genetics, the protection of forests against pests and diseases, and forest work science.

Following the discussion sessions the participants dispersed on study tours. After a first day spent in a joint excursion to Burgenland (Neusiedlersee) and to the Vienna woods, three separate itineraries were followed, devoted to silviculture and related disciplines; forest protection; and working techniques, forest engineering, logging and utilization.

Practically all points of the country were covered in the course of the tours and opportunities were provided for holding technical meetings at various places en route.

Forestry plays an important role in Austria's economy - 40 percent of the country is under forest - so that the tours provided an opportunity to study on the spot a variety of problems whether technical, economic, social or even political. In regard to silviculture and forest management, many forest types were visited - beech and oak stands in the plains and foothills, then fir, larch, Pinus cembro and P. mughus, all interspersed with natural stands and plantations of Austrian pine (P. nigra) and the ubiquitous spruce. Particularly noteworthy were a number of original approaches to reforestation operations on difficult terrain both in the plains and high mountain areas. Participants displayed considerable interest in the modern high precision equipment and techniques used in connection with the national forest inventory, and in the mechanization of silviculture and extraction operations.

The improvement of forest productivity as a result of government intervention with local owners was particularly remarked in Styria: it was in this province that a study tour on applied silviculture had recently been organized on behalf of FAO's European Forestry Commission. The examples seen of agro-silvo pasture management, combined with selection felling, provided good object lessons. In high mountain areas were seen excellent examples of techniques and works for watershed management, torrent control and protection against avalanches. Visits to the forest guards' school at Ort near Gmunden, to the forest research station at Mariabrunn, and to the high altitude "phytotron" at Patscherkofel - all models of their kind - provided notable finishing touches to the tours.

The International Council of the Union, before recording the congratulations offered by all the participants to the Organizing Committee of the Vienna Congress (presided over by Dr. Rudolf Ender, Dr. Hubert Dürr and the late Dr. Horky), gratefully accepted the invitation of the Federal Republic of Germany to be host to the Fourteenth IUFRO Congress.

These Congresses are of special value to the furtherance of the forestry objectives of FAO. Some of the points in regard to which the Thirteenth Congress made useful contributions were:

1. Extending the application of existing knowledge to underdeveloped countries, to improve forest production and to make the advantages of the protection afforded by forest to soil and water felt in the shortest possible time.

2. How to co-ordinate forest research in regions where research institutes are few and far between, so that their activities may beet contribute to the economic development of all the countries of the area.

3. How to relate long-term fundamental research to the work of FAO so as to open up new horizons and create new resources.

These are the sort of questions that IUFRO and FAO must deal with together, and no solution will be possible unless there is close and systematic collaboration between the two organizations.

A. M.

FIGURE 1. - Participants studying torrent control at high altitude at Gerlitzen, Carinthia

FIGURE 2. - An example of biological fixation of a sliding hillside at Gallina Vorarlberg (Photo. Forstl. Bundesversuchsanstalt. Mariabrünn)

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