Press Release: The 45th International Forestry Students’ Symposium

Greetings, everyone!

IFSA just held its 45th International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) in South Africa on July 2nd-17th, 2017. International Forestry Students’ Association Local Committee Universitas Gadjah Mada (IFSA LC UGM) sent Serena Pynta Phenomenon as the delegate to attend the event, and it was an exciting opportunity to share the experiences during this memorable symposium. IFSS is the biggest annual event held by IFSA which occured in two weeks. Over hundred students from all over the world participated in this event. The symposium provided an opportunity to the students to exchange knowledge and share interests while participating in a range of forestry activities and discussions.

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Figure 1. IFSS 2017 Delegates (Credit: Shyam Lopchan)

IFSS 45th was held by five local committees in South Africa from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), University of Pretoria, University of Venda, Fort Cox College of Agriculture, and Stellenbosch University. The first four days took place in NMMU George Campus. Official opening speeches were given by Mr. Thami Douse as Programme Director from NMMU, Prof. Quinton Johnson as NMMU George Campus Principal, Councillor Melvin Naik as Executive Mayor of George, Ullrich Hecter as IFSS chairperson, and Jesse Mahoney as IFSA President.

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Figure 2. Prof. Quinton Johnson is giving opening speech (Credit: Serena Pynta)

There were mainly five main events in this symposium, those were General Assembly, IFSA workshops, field and cultural trip, paper and poster presentation, and international night. In this symposium, the 28th General Assembly of IFSA took place. It was the main agenda in IFSS consisted of five plenary sessions. Delegates must take participation in every plenary sessions. There were official reports and financial report from IFSA 2016-2017 officials, discussion of IFSA statutes, vetting of IFSA Official 2017-2018, election for IFSS 2019 host, election for Interim 2017-2018 host, presentation from host IFSS 2018 Mexico, and also election for the next IFSA Officials 2017-2018.

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Figure 3. IFSA Board 2016-2017 in General Assembly (Credit: Serena Pynta)

We are glad to announce Serena Pynta Phenomenon (IFSA LC UGM, Indonesia) as IFSA Liaison Officer for CIFOR 2017-2018.

There were also IFSA Workshop such as Commission Workshop  and Regional Workshop. In Commission  Workshop, delegates were given chance to choose commissions within their interest and have discussion with commission members to establish commission and Sub-commission, projects, advices, and choose the new Head of Commission and Head of Sub-commission for 2017-2018. The regional workshop was held to choose two new regional representative from each regions in IFSA 2017-2018 and collect opinions to strengthen communication and relation of local committees.

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Figure 4. Asia Pacific Regional Workshop in IFSS 2017 (Credit: IFSS OC 2017)

During the field trips, delegates were taken to various timber industry and plantation from high operation to middle-low opeartion such as Mondi South Africa, Sappi Limited, Merensky Sawmill, and SAFCOL. South Africa forest cover is only 1% of the total land areas, with only three major type of commercial plantation which are eucalyptus, pine, and acacia. Delegates were also experienced game drive safari in Kruger National Park and saw the “big five” mammals in South Africa.

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Figure 6. Delegates visit Kruger National Park (Credit: IFSS 2017)

Delegates were also taken to visit South Africa cultural heritages such as the Big Yellowwood Tree which aged approximately 800 hundred years, the Steve Biko Museum and Garden of Remembrance, and Cango Caves, the biggest cave in South Africa.

There were lots of opportunity to discuss about forest and environment during IFSS 2017. Several general lectures were given by ICFR about South African forest, and from Kruger National Park about management of African savannah. Delegates also participated in panel discussions about role of youth in forestry sector and the state of South African forest.

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Figure 8. Panel discussion about role of youth in forestry sector (Credit: Serena Pynta)

On the International Night, delegates displayed special performance from each country, such as traditional songs, dances, traditional foods, and traditional souvenirs. Delegates from IFSA LC UGM coordinated Indonesia stand with IFSA LC IPB delegates. In this opportunity, delegates from Indonesia wore traditional clothes from Central Java, Yogyakarta Special Province, and Betawi. There were various traditional food and snacks such crispy cow’s lungs, enting enting gepuk, jipang, alen-alen, Medan peanuts, and ampyang. Delegates from Indonesia also gave handmade souvenirs such as Sundanese wooden bracelets and batik keychain for other delegates. They also performed traditional song and dance from Betawi “Ondel-Ondel” in front of other delegates. Within this international night, delegates were able to introduce and respect other cultures and strengthening communication.

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Figure 10. Indonesian delegates in IFSS 2017 (Credit: Shyam Lopchan)

In IFSS 2017, delegates were also given chance to present their research or projects on oral and poster presentations. These activities engaged delegates to exchange information on forest management and technology used in each countries. Delegate from IFSA LC UGM presented the research about “City of Philosophy: Evaluation of Yogyakarta Philosophical Axis based on Tree Architecture and its Philosophy towards UNESCO World Heritage” in front of other participants. This research was conducted with fellow LC member Alnus Meinata.

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Figure 12. Research presentation from IFSA LC UGM delegate (Credit: Fitri Nadhira)

This research aimed to introduce and promote Yogyakarta Philosophical Axis that was built since 18th century by the first Sultan Hamengkubawana at its submission to UNESCO World Heritage on March 14th, 2017. This imaginary axis outstretched from Panggung Krapyak-Yogyakarta Palace-Tugu and formed an imaginary straight lines, which within this line special tree species were planted as they express philosophical meaning about the journey of human life.

There were some amazing facts in number within IFSS 2017. This symposium were attended by 121 delegates from 48 local committees and 32 countries from around the world. During this symposium, delegates were taken to sightseeing the vast land of South Africa in 3000 km, visited 5 provinces and 8 cities!

Another information: IFSS 2019 will be hosted in Estonia, and IFSS 2018 will be on August 6th-21st, 2017 in Mexico!

See you in another IFSA adventure!

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