“Forestry in the 21st century is underpinned by innovation, research and development. This enables our industry to remain competitive in a global market and adaptive in the face of environmental, social and economic challenges,” explains FSA Director of Research and Protection Dr Ronald Heath. “This year FSA plans to host a series of research webinars showcasing some of the incredible science that is shaping our sector.”
The first of these, entitled Science in a Forestry Context – diverse, innovative and driving the sector forward – attracted almost 300 attendees. Attendees ranged from industry representatives to forestry students, as well as individuals from forestry research institutes, forestry associations, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as well as several international ones.
“We are incredibly pleased with the attendance levels and the range of attendee the webinar attracted,” Heath continues. The importance of knowledge transfer and the communication of science can not be overstated, it plays a critical role along the lifespan of any research project, from securing funding to implementing research findings. Webinars, such as this, offer us an opportunity to really showcase the world class calibre of research being conducted by the South African Forestry Sector.”
Held on Friday 11February 2022, the United Nation’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the webinar had a dual purpose: to illustrate the broad array of scientific applications driving the forestry sector forwards; and, to promote the integral role women play both within forestry science and the sector.
“Forestry is often mistakenly assumed to be a male-orientated career path,”explains FSA Communication Consultant Dr Katy Johnson. “While this is not true, it has the potential to create a barrier that may prevent women from considering the industry as a possible career option. It is therefore our responsibility as an industry to address this, by highlighting the many women who are making huge contributions across all aspects of forestry – including research, an area where globally, women are under-represented.”
The webinar with its all-female line up illustrated the integral role women have in driving the sector forward through scientific endeavour. It also positions them as role models for future generations of women and girls to aspire to.
Going forwards, FSA intends to host a series of research webinars. Each showcasing an area of forestry research that is changing the face of forestry and enabling the industry to adapt and evolve to stay competitive in an ever-changing world.
Social handles – @forestry_explained on Instagram.