Acacia conference receives overwhelming response

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KUCHING: The 3rd International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) Acacia Conference here has received an overwhelming response from both speakers and participants from various agencies and institutions of 24 countries.

Twenty-six oral papers and 14 poster papers will be presented during the three-day webinar.

There will be two keynote addresses by Dr Sadanandan Nambiar from Australia as well as Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) director Datuk Hamden Mohammad while the other 12 speakers are from Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, United States and Malaysia.

“The conference is jointly hosted by FDS together with IUFRO Working Party 2.08.07 on Acacia Genetics and Silviculture with the theme ‘Embracing transformation for sustainable management of forest plantation’.

“This is set to answer the state government’s calls on the application of technology and innovation in upstream and downstream research and development (R&D) to ensure productivity and viability in the forest plantation industry,” said Hamden.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony on Tuesday (Oct 26).

Hamden disclosed that the conference was initially planned to be held in October last year but was postponed following the Covid-19 outbreak.

He noted that the conference mode was also changed to virtual, with a physical launch to encourage more researchers, plantation managers and policymakers around the world to join.

“The programme is organised along five different sub-themes, namely industrial forest plantation policy, plantation management for sustainable wood production, risk management, high value-added timber products as well as genetics and breeding.

“As the conference is now conducted virtually, the organising committee has turned the post conference tours into virtual tours to introduce the development of industrial forest plantations in Sarawak and Sabah.

“We have arranged three different tours to GP Pusaka and Samling in Sarawak and to Brumas in Sabah.”

He also expressed hopes for the webinar to bring greater understanding on the current industrial forest development across disciplines, issues and challenges as well as promote discussion on the way forward among researchers, policymakers and plantation managers.

The first conference was held in Hue, Vietnam in 2014 with the theme ‘Sustaining the future of acacia plantation forestry’ while the second one was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2017 with the theme ‘Promoting sustainable resources from plantations for economic growth and community benefits.’

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