The group attended the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) symposium on Silviculture and Management of Dryland Forests at the University of Stellenbosch. The symposium brought together academics, students, researchers and practitioners in the field of forest and natural resources management to discuss research findings and the latest trends in the field.
The symposium also shed light on focussed research on Silviculture, the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests. These issues are important because the development of new knowledge in these fields is critical to ensure sustainable management and to improve forest productivity in dry regions across the world.
Dr Dave Joubert, a Lecturer in the Department of Plant Studies, chaired a session on Management Systems for Dry Natural Forests. He was accompanied by Master’s student, Siphiwe Lutibezi. Vera De Cauwer, a Land Management Lecturer, delivered a presentation on the occurrence, abundance and growth of a particular dryland forest tree species. Dr Ibo Zimmerman, Associate Professor/Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences, and Master’s student, Kuniberth Shamathe, delivered a presentation on research that focuses on converting bush-encroached Namibian rangeland into a fruitful landscape.
“The IUFRO Symposium was an excellent experience. We went there to showcase some of the research conducted by the Poly in this field, and it was well received by the other participants,” Dr Zimmerman said. He added that postgraduate students were included in the delegation to expose them to leading research, academics and experts in their field of study, and to provide them with a rich learning experience.