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General introduction

A WORD SYMPOSIUM on Man-Made Forests and their Industrial Importance was sponsored by FAO in 1967 in response to a recommendation of the Technical Committee on Forestry and Forest Products of the Thirteenth Session of the FAO Conference, held at Rome, November 1965. This recommendation reflected a wide recognition that forestry, no less than agriculture, must pursue the technological revolution where by great- production is obtained from smaller areas throught greater inputs. Thirty-four million hectares of mall-made forests in reporting countries, plus forty-seven million hectares as a rough estimate for nonreporting countries, already make or will soon be making a contribution to world timber economy very much in excess of' their proportionate area. Against removals from natural forests generally of the order of a few cubic meters per hectare/year, and all too often much less, the yields of plantation forestry can be many times higher if species and site conditions are chosen to suit each other. Against century-long rotations or the like, the fastest growing man-made forests can produce u wood for fuel or poles in 5 to 10 years, pulpwood in 10 years or even less, and sawlogs in about 15 to 20 years. Concentration of produce, its uniform size and homogeneous properties almost made to order, the possibility of selecting the plantation site in relation to the location of the wood-using mill, all these contribute to substantial cost saving in logging, transportation and utilization. Planting targets were announced by the reporting countries whereby the area of man-made forests should double by 1985. How best to tackle and bring to solution the numerous and varied problems involved in the attainment of this goal was one of the major objectives of the symposium.

The Commonwealth Government of Australia generously offered to act as host for the meeting, and both Australia and New Zealand arranged study tours. The Australian venue encouraged a fitting emphasis, during both the symposium and the study tours, on the importance of the genus Encalyptus in plantation forestry.

The symposium thus served to supplement the series of World Eucalyptus Conferences organized periodically by FAO.

The opening ceremony took place at the Canberra Playhouse on Friday, 14 April 1967. The opening address e was delivered by the Hon. David Fairbairn, Minister of National Development, and J.C. Westoby, Deputy Director of the Forestry and Forest Products Division, replied on behalf of FAO. The Minister, who is also Chairman of the Australian Forestry Council, said that by 1961 the annual growth of commercial eucalyptus wood heing produced in man-made forests outside Australia passed the Australian estimate of commercial wood being produced annually in the native eucalyptus forests within Australia. In less than half a century, human effort, frequently in the less developed and poorer nations of the middle and lower latitudes of the world, had improved on the gift of nature to a continent. It was gratifying to be able to report that he had been able to obtain financial support from the Commonwealth Government to double the man-made forests program of the Australian states.

Mr Westoby, after thanking the host countries, drew attention to the important contribution which man-made forests can make in man's ceaseless struggle to master his environment. The upsurge in the world's wood needs which had characterized the last two decades u as not a temporary phenomenon but, being strictly related to the postwar emphasis on economic growth and rising welfare, would undoubtedly continue in subsequent decades. It was estimated that about four fifths of the increase would be for industrial wood. The improvement of management in natural and in man-made forests were complementary aims; both forms of forestry were the stock-in-trade of every true forester. Yet there was no doubt that the world was going to draw more and more of its wood supplies from man-made forests. Not only because scores of countries can no longer afford to rely on other people's forests. Not only because of the physical and technical limits to raising yields in existing forests. But also because in many instances it will more economic to create new forests than to stretch yields in existing forests. This was true at the national level, where it posed the challenge of the new science of agrosylvics to updated classical silviculture. It was also true at the international level, where it posed problems of' global resource management, national forest policies and international trade. Nine times out of ten the decisive consideration would be the economic one. It was therefore imperative that more stress be laid on the accumulation and analysis of cost and return data, both in man-made and in natural forests, and on the integration of development plans for forestry and forest industry sectors into the framework of national development plans. FAO looked to delegates for guidance on such vexatious problems as the role of man-made forests in supplementing or replacing tropical forests, new techniques for planting arid lands, site potential and its maintenance, commercial profitability, overall social evaluation and many others.

The Hon. David Fairbairn was unanimously elected as honorary chairman of the symposium, and Dr. M.R. Jacobs, Director-General of the Forestry and Timber Bureau, as chairman. The following vice-chairmen were also elected to assist the chairman in conducting symposium business: E.M. Bacon (United States), C.H. Brown (New Zealand), J. de la Puente (Mexico), G. Giordano (Italy), D. Iyamabo (Nigeria) and Nguyen van Tan (Republic of Viet-Nam).

The business meetings started at the Canberra-Rex Hotel the same afternoon. There were about 170 participants from 41 countries, a larger number of countries than had ever previously been represented at an international meeting in Australia. International organizations represented were the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the South Pacific Commission (SPC).

A total of 104 solicited and voluntary papers were written for the symposium. The agenda was divided into five sections, with five senior rapporteurs to lead the discussions. These corresponded to the five chapters of the final report, of which a preliminary draft was written in advance for discussion and amendment by the symposium. The five sections were I. Policy (author and senior rapporteur, W.E.M. Logan, United Kingdom), II. Silviculture (author and senior rapporteur, A. Metro, FAO consultant), III. Management (author and senior rapporteur, D.A.N. Cromer, Australia), IV. Utilization (author and senior rapporteur, E.P. Stephens, United States), V. Integration of planning and financing (author, O.A. D'Adamo, Argentina; senior rapporteur, A.J. Leslie, Australia). A drafting committee was constituted for each section, which drew up recommendations and summarized amendments to the chapters of the final report arising from symposium discussions. The recommendations and amendments were endorsed by the symposium on the final day.

The symposium was officially closed by the honorary chairman on Monday, 24 April. He said that anyone examining the papers submitted to the symposium must be impressed by the wide range of types of manmade forests that exist in the world. They covered all Latitudes and localities where trees grew naturally and several places where no trees grew before. He had noted the vigorous discussions, during the symposium, on whether forests should have the single purpose of providing wood or have multiple use as an objective. Many delegates considered that, as standards of living improved, the acceptance of multiple use as an objective would become a necessity. He recalled that this was the theme of the Fifth World Forestry Congress in Seattle, Washington, in 1960. One could forecast with certainty that planted forests would not only provide the wood material we should need, but would in many places prove to be a starting point for the economic development which was so essential if our large world population as a whole was to rise above a mere subsistence level. The symposium had been a significant step along this road.

During the symposium, excursions were organized to Uriarra forest and to Yarralumla nursery. Forestry films from a number of countries were shown on two evenings and an illustrated talk on the conversion techniques for eucalypt logs was given by Mervyn Page of the Division of Forest Products, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia. On the final day delegates were shown round the recently completed buildings of the new Forest Research Institute at Yarralumla by the Director, Dr. D.A.N. Cromer, and his staff.

A feature of the symposium was the excellence of the organization and documentation of the study tours. There were three presymposium tours. That in New Zealand covered parts of both North and South Islands, with emphasis on large-scale afforestation and forest industries based on Pinus radiata. Tour 1A covered eucalypts and pine plantations in south and east Australia, from Mary Valley, Queensland, to Mount Gambier, South Australia. Tour 2 covered industries based on southern eucalypts in Victoria and Tasmania. Of the three postsymposium tours, tour 1B covered the same ground as 1A, tour 3 covered eucalypts and pine plantations in the southern drier areas and the southwest of Western Australia, and tour 4 dealt with tropical eucalypts and plantations in North Queensland and Papua, New Guinea.

The report which follows consists of the symposium recommendations, followed by the five chapters of the report and a number of appendixes. A list of the titles and authors of papers is given in Appendix 4 and of the symposium officers and other participants in Appendix 5.

In conclusion it may be said that meticulous organization by the Australian Committee and the high standard of contributions, both from authors and participants, ensured that the symposium was not only a valuable stocktaking of past and present but, still more important, a signpost to the future.

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