It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the XXV IUFRO World Congress 2019. And as President of IUFRO, one of the oldest International Scientific Organisations with a remarkable 127 year-long history, I am equally pleased that this is the first IUFRO World Congress ever to be held in Latin America. Together with representatives of our 638 Member Organisations in 127 countries and linking more than 15 000 Forest Scientists globally, we will be meeting at Expo Unimed Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, from September 29 to October 5. At the outset, allow me to use this opportunity to thank our Congress hosts, the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB) and EMBRAPA Florestas for their hospitality and the great effort that they have made during the course of the last six years to ensure that we will have the best possible congress.
Curitiba was selected as the Congress venue by the IUFRO Board in 2013 following a robust and competitive international bidding process. I recall clearly the great joy and enthusiasm with which the participants of the 3rd IUFRO Latin American Congress in Costa Rica, received the decision that our XXV World Congress would be in Brazil. Holding our congress in Brazil offers IUFRO a great strategic opportunity to strengthen its membership base in that country and Latin America as a whole. But perhaps even more importantly, it will allow a much higher number of scientists and other stakeholders from Latin American forest research institutions and universities to take part in this major forest science gathering.
I cannot recall a more important time when forests and forestry have depended so strongly on robust scientific knowledge that must underpin evidence-based global policy and governance. The world’s forests are deeply threatened by an uncomfortable number of major issues. These include global climate change, deforestation and degradation, invasions of alien organisms and more. These are already impacting on food security, water availability, poverty, human health and other key issues that ultimately impact on peace and security of the human race. Forests are commonly under-appreciated for their role and importance relating to these macro-economic issues. And in this respect, the activities of IUFRO including the outcomes of this 25th World Congress are so important to our future.
The Congress Scientific Committee (CSC) in close collaboration with the Congress Organizing Committee (COC) have assembled a most attractive and extensive programme for our Congress. This is a major accomplishment that has required substantial effort over numerous years and I must compliment them on this great achievement. The scientific sessions with approximately 1700 oral and 1000 poster presentations will offer ample opportunities for IUFRO and its stakeholders to showcase the state-of-the-art in forest science. Importantly, they will also contribute significantly to strengthening “Forest Research and Cooperation for Sustainable Development”, which appropriately is also the Congress theme.
Our 25th World Congress will feature a series of topical plenary lectures by internationally renowned speakers, high-level panel discussions with stakeholders, colorful ceremonies, training workshops, networking events, social gatherings, fascinating study tours and much more. Perhaps most importantly, this is an opportunity for forest scientist from many different parts of the world to meet, to establish new collaborations and make new friends. I am confident that we will all enjoy a rewarding experience that truly lives up to IUFRO’s motto of “interconnecting forests, science and people”.
Professor Mike Wingfield
President of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations