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CRC for Forestry News 11 - From the CEO

Gordon Duff

Professor Gordon Duff, CEO of the CRC for Forestry

The Board of the CRC for Forestry remains committed to a collaborative, strategic forestry R&D effort operating at a national scale, despite the CRC's unsuccessful bid to extend funding from mid-2012 to 2017.

Following feedback from the CRC Committee, it appears increasingly unlikely that a bid in the next selection round for a CRC focusing on production forestry would succeed, particularly in the current commercial environment. The view of the Board is that efforts should instead be focused on pulling together the concept and support for a national forestry research institute, which would help to keep Australia at the forefront of forestry research while ensuring industry continues to benefit from the resulting efficiency and productivity gains. Discussions are taking place with stakeholders in government, industry and research organisations about this option, and I hope to be able to tell you more early in the New Year.

For the first time this year, our Annual General Meeting was held in Canberra and co-convened with the AGMs of Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA). This allowed us to showcase some of the CRC and FWPA research project results to a wider audience, using the successful Ideas Fair format introduced a few years ago. You can read more in a separate article in this newsletter. This was one of several events over the past few months that have enabled us to demonstrate the value, quality and breadth of CRC for Forestry activities. Other examples include international events such as the October Silvilaser conference in Hobart (read more in a separate article in this newsletter), and the IUFRO Eucalyptus conference held last month in Porto Seguro, Brazil. Other events such as the FWPA R&D Roadshow and ForestTECH 2011 have also served as important technology transfer opportunities.

I have been lucky enough to attend a few of these events, and it has been gratifying to see time after time the prominent role that CRC for Forestry researchers continue to play on the national and international stages. There is no doubt that we punch well above our weight in terms of the quality and innovation of our research and technology transfer activities. Consider this: Australia grows less than five per cent of the world’s industrial eucalypt plantations, and yet more than 20 per cent of the hand-picked keynote speakers at the recent IUFRO Eucalyptus conference were affiliated with the CRC for Forestry.

Our own event, the CRC for Forestry Annual Science Meeting, is coming up soon and registrations are now open. The meeting is regarded by many as Australia’s most comprehensive and informative forestry research conference. As this will be the final science meeting in our 21-year history, we expect it to be a memorable occasion. Read more in a separate article in this newsletter.

With Christmas just around the corner, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our participants and stakeholders a happy, safe and relaxing holiday season, and a well-earned break after a challenging and productive year. Thank you all for your continuing effort and generous support.