Forestry students gather for regional meeting

June 19, 2019

The local organising committee of SARM are pulling out all the stops to ensure that all arrangements for this student-driven symposium are in place. Team members who have been working behind the scenes include - back, f.l.t.r. Entle Kwababa, Onesimo Sipiki, Sbonginkosi Hlatshwayo, Lomcebo Dlamini, Vuyile Dlamini; (front) Akhanani Baleka, Nomcebo Gama, Collen Baloi (Chairperson), Andile Nzimande and Lungile Phethata.

SARM to see continent’s Forestry students, stakeholders converge at Mandela University in George...

The Student Forestry Association from Mandela University George Campus is playing a pivotal role in hosting the Southern African Regional Meeting (SARM) of the International Student Forestry Association (IFSA). This exciting event - a collaborative venture involving more than 70 forestry students from SA Universities (Stellenbosch University, University of Venda, University of Pretoria, Fort Cox College and Nelson Mandela University) and a number of African countries such as Kenya and Uganda – is scheduled from 23 – 29 June 2019.

The week’s proceedings will include various industry stakeholders and is set to explore perspectives on various aspects of Sustainable Forest Management. SARM 2019 will also provide an opportunity to showcase Southern Cape Forestry.

The theme for SARM 2019 is “Future multiple land-use and alternative business models for the forestry industry of Southern Africa”. It seeks to explore the rapidly changing forestry industry, especially with the 4th industrial revolution, climate change and other factors in mind. Measures that the forestry industry will need to apply to ensure sustainability throughout this period, while also securing the well-being/interests of stakeholders in this industry will come under the spotlight.

The theme further aims to “explore the different values of forest stakeholders and the role of foresters in providing a social, economic and environmental balance between the interests of science, politics, and society while providing an important resource to the community”, explains Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee and Mandela University Forestry student, Collen Baloi.

The Regional Meeting is set to “deliver a robust, well-consolidated programme with a very strong academic component including a field tour of the Southern Cape ensuring that the delegates attending the regional meeting are well challenged with the knowledge relating to the theme of the SARM 2019”.

Delegates will arrive at the George Campus on Sunday, 23 June, with Monday, 24 June featuring the official opening in the morning, various dialogues and engagement with VIP guests and industry stakeholders. The keynote speaker on the first day is Prof Mike Wingfield from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO - a not-for-profit, nongovernmental international network of forest scientists that “…promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. It disseminates scientific knowledge to stakeholders and decision makers and contributes to forest policy and on-the-ground forest management”.

“Trends in Forestry Education in South Africa” is the theme for the presentation by Prof Jos Louw from Mandela University Forestry Department (Science Faculty) which is also scheduled for the morning, followed by a mini symposium facilitated by prominent industry stakeholders in the afternoon.

Critical dialogues, workshops and postgraduate presentations, as well as educational/field excursions form part of the interesting and though-provoking programme for the rest of the week.

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