Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rotorua to host international forestry tech conference

Rotorua will next year play host to an international conference on advancing vegetative propagation technologies in the forestry sector.

Rotorua and company, Scion – a leader in tissue culture techniques for plant propagation for forestry – will welcome one of the oldest and largest international organisations to the city in March 2024 for a conference dedicated to propagation technologies for forestry.

Founded in 1892, the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental network of forest scientists and researchers committed to voluntary global cooperation and knowledge sharing in forest-related research.

The upcoming sixth international conference of IUFRO 2.09.02 unit, titled “The might of vegetative propagation for healthy and productive forests to face climate challenges,” will take place over five days, starting 3 March 2024. Previous conferences have been held since 2010 in several countries, including the Republic of Korea, the Czech Republic, Spain, Argentina, and Portugal.

Dr Jana Krajňáková, a senior researcher for tissue culture and project leader at Scion, is an integral part of the IUFRO 2.09.02 unit organising committee. She said the event will bring together researchers, university professors, and PhD students from around the world to collaborate, exchange knowledge, and address specific research topics in forestry, and more generally woody plants.

“The programme sessions proposed will cover all fields of application of vegetative propagation to preserve, assess, improve, adapt, and deploy tree genetic resources in resilient and productive forests,” said Dr Krajňáková.

Vegetative propagation technologies encompass various methods to reproduce plants without seeds. Examples of vegetative propagation technologies include cutting, grafting, layering, and tissue culture (micropropagation, including somatic embryogenesis).

Dr Krajňáková explains that in the context of climate change, there is a need for cost-effective, efficient tree vegetative propagation (bio)technologies for supporting the development of precision forestry and delivery of forest products and services.

“IUFRO serves as a platform for scientists and experts from around the world to collaborate on various aspects of forest research by facilitating communication and promoting the exchange of knowledge and expertise,” she says.

“A level of prestige comes with being the host organisation. It demonstrates our leadership, expertise, and commitment to evolving knowledge in vegetative propagation technologies, while providing the opportunity to highlight our recent advancements in this area.”

Scion has done significant work in vegetative propagation technologies, with notable achievements, including developing and refining various vegetative propagation techniques (especially the promising somatic embryogenesis), developing and applying elite clonal forestry, and extensive research on tissue culture techniques for plant propagation.

Henri Baillères, Scion’s general manager for forests to timber products, says that there is a marked societal dimension in forestry through the historically strong and practical involvement of Te Ao Māori.

“As part of this, there is going to be a dedicated space for Māori researchers to present their research and knowledge experience in indigenous propagation.”

He adds that indigenous knowledge and practices are crucial in New Zealand’s forestry.

“This inclusion recognises the deep-rooted connection between Māori culture and the whenua and highlights the intersection of indigenous knowledge, sustainable forest management, and global collaboration, all of which are crucial aspects of the conference’s goals and objectives.”

RotoruaNZ business events manager, Vanessa Wallace said that hosting IUFRO in Rotorua highlights Scion’s scientific excellence and promotes Rotorua as a premier tourist destination.

“Delegates coming into the country will often stay for an extended period and have a higher average spend, sometimes bringing family with them to make the most of their time away,” she said.

“As the home of tourism, Rotorua enhances the visiting delegates experience through the unique manaakitanga and world class activities only available here. It’s a real win-win for all of our visitor economy and part of what makes Rotorua so special.”

The conference organisers are now accepting submissions related to the vegetative propagation of trees as a primary strategy or in synergy with seed technologies to cope with climate change. Young researchers, particularly PhD students, are encouraged to submit proposals for a chance to present their work and receive all-expenses-paid trips.

For further information on IUFRO, its activities, and the various possibilities of getting involved, see here. The next IUFRO World Congress is scheduled for June 2024 in Stockholm, Sweden.

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