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IUFRO World Congress 2000
Group Session 6.03.02/SilvaVoc
Wednesday, 9 August 2000, 16.30 – 18.15
The excellent experience we made with organizing the Workshop on Multilingualism and Expert Co-operation (MEXFT'98) in 1998 and the encouraging interest in forest terminology led Michèle Kaennel Dobbertin, 6.03.02 and Renate Prüller, SilvaVoc, to join efforts again for a Group Session at the IUFRO World Congress.
The title of the Group Session is:
"Forest Terminology: Living Expert Knowledge.
How to Get Society to Understand Forest Terminology."
We would like to invite you cordially to come to this Group Session, to listen to the papers and see the poster, and possibly to participate actively in the subsequent panel discussion. To give you a first idea of what you can expect from the session, we print here the summaries of the scientific contributions together with a short curriculum vitae of the presenters:
Please contact us for questions or suggestions at: prueller(at)iufro.org or kaennel(at)wsl.ch
Forest Terminology in relation to Societal Change and Decision Making
The last decade has seen dramatic, world-wide changes in the diversity of societal perceptions of the uses, needs, and values of forests. Many societal groups, particularly in the conservation area, are strongly influencing the management and conservation of forests on both publicly- and privately-owned forests.
Forest management is also becoming increasingly diverse. In the United States it encompasses a variety of objectives represented by owners that include private (industrial and non-industrial), public (federal and state), native tribes, and organizations interested in forests as long-term financial investments. One could argue that this diverse set of ownerships represents a broader cross-section of societal needs and values than do the conservation groups.
Given this diversity in needs, uses, and ownership of forests, it is not surprising to find that forest terminology is used inconsistently. Sometimes, as in the case of such terms as sustainability, forest health, and clearcutting, this is probably deliberate to further the objectives of the user. Until recently, existing terminologies were commonly dominated by traditional focus on timber management. To fill the need generated by more diverse objectives and values, current documents are typically accompanied by independently-developed glossaries. Consequently, in the development of public policy and regulation it is common to find that terms are defined differently.
A standard, accepted, on-line dictionary is needed that is used as a basis for all documents, debate, general communication, and policy development. Such a dictionary should probably be developed and maintained by a group of forest terminology specialists representing diverse elements of the broad field of forestry. These experts whould manage the peer review of definitions before incorporation. IUFRO should expand its leadership role in developing a standardized terminology, probably with regional variation of definitions, both nationally and internationally. The great advantage of an electronic dictionary is that it would be readily available and could be constantly updated and revised as terms are introduced or modified. Current issues needing to be resolved include the use of copyrighted definitions that are currently limited to use in the print medium, defining the extent of the field of forestry, and determining the extent of coverage of terms in each of the forest science disciplines.
John A. Helms
is Emeritus Professor of Silviculture at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
He obtained his BS in Forestry in Australia and his MF and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle. He joined the Berkeley Faculty in 1964 and served as Chair of the Department of Forestry and Resource Management from 1989 to 1993. His research covered tree physiology, forest stand dynamics, and regeneration.
He is the author of 90 research publications and technical reports. He coauthored McGraw-Hill's 1979 text "Principles of Silviculture", wrote chapters on California in Wiley and Sons "Regional Silviculture of the United States", 1980 and 1994, and was editor of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) "The Dictionary of Forestry", 1998.
From 1995-1998 he was Chair of SAF's "Forest Science and Technology Board", was elected Fellow of SAF in 1997, and is currently active in research, professional service, and consulting.
Proposal of A Multilingual Forest Terminology Database Designed for Western
and Non-Western Languages
SilvaVoc, IUFRO’s clearing house for multilingual forest terminology, is working to establish a forest terminology database to be published on the Internet. Non-Western languages such as Japanese, however, have some problems in multilingual databases, and current web browsers have a limited capacity to manage multilingual functions. For example, western computers cannot display Japanese characters correctly on the monitors, because they cannot manage two-byte code and have no Japanese font data.
SilvaVoc-J, which is a partner of SilvaVoc in Japan, developed an experimental system of a multilingual forest terminology database. This system was based on one of the solutions proposed by the author at the IUFRO international workshop "Multilingualism and Expert Cooperation in Forest Terminology" (MEXFT’98). It consists of three functions. The first function is a World Wide Web server, the second a database server, and the third one is a function to convert Japanese characters’ fonts to raster images automatically.
The system works as follows. First, a user queries about a term to the Web server from a client computer. Then, the Web server requests to search the term to the database server via Common Gateway Interface (CGI). The database server carries out the search and sends the result to the Web server via CGI. If the result term contains Japanese two-byte characters, it is converted to a raster image on the way to the Web server from the database server. Finally, the Japanese term is displayed as an image in a Web browser on the client computer.
The system does not require Japanese font data and special browsers on client computers. In other words, Japanese characters can be displayed in popular Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer on any countries’ computers. Furthermore, the method is available not only for Japanese characters, but also for characters of other non-Western languages. Therefore, the system also makes it possible to add other non-western languages to the multilingual forest terminology database.
The experimental system of a multilingual forest terminology database will be demonstrated in the presentation.
graduated in 1982 from Nagoya University, Japan, and received his Doctorat of Agriculture in March 2000.
Since 1998 he is Chief of Systems analysis Laboratory at the Forestry and Products Research Institute (FFPRI) in Japan. His fields of expertise include yield prediction, resource estimation, GIS and forest grazing.
He also acts as a technical observer in SilvaVoc-J.
N. E. Puentes Alvarez
Terminology as a Way to Communicate Values.
Sustainable Forest Development: Vision of the World in the 21st Century
[La terminología como vía de transmisión de valores. Desarrollo forestal sostenible:
visión del mundo del siglo XXI]
Language is a working instrument common to all subject specialists, a working tool and a means for communicating scientific findings.
The objective of the Programme of Foreign Language of the Technical Center of Higher Education is to elaborate versions and summaries of expert materials in Spanish with an adequate usage of the Spanish mother tongue.
The educative project as main working document in the three dimensions, the instructive, sociopolitical and extension aspects, serves as a basis for integrating English as a foreign language programme with the other expert programmes.
Facing the challenge of the globalization, the correct usage of the language as a distinctive feature of the national identity and the valorization of linguistic variants are of major concern to the project leaders. The strategy was set to use Terminology as a way to integrate English into other teaching programmes in the University of Pinar del Rio. This strategy consists of several phases, resulting in the integration of the students in research work, sistematic terminology work and in the organization and elaboration of concept systems of the contents of the several subjects. With this strategy the transdisciplinary approach of the English technical language course leads, via sistematic terminology work, to the formation and strenghening of general and professional values which the students need to have as members of a society that has to face the challenges of a new century.
Sustainable forest development as a paradigm to reach sustainability is the perfect conceptual world. Terminology work takes into account the scientific perception of the world through knowledge-generating processes in the construction and permanent reconstruction of the student's "vision of the world". It aims at providing an education which allows to perceive semantic and conceptual features of sustainable forest development. These combined language and subject field teaching programmes are intended to prepare the students to the challenges that they will have to face as future subject specialists.
Nérida E. Puentes Alvarez
is professor for English language at the University of Pinar del Rio. She specialized in terminology sciences and technical translation for English and Russian.
She is the author of scientific articles on terminological issues, especially relating to sustainable forest development.
G. H. Lund
Coming to Terms With Politicians and Definitions
Recently there has been a large number of international agreements, conventions and protocols dealing with forest and forestry – especially since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992. Politicians and high-level government officials, eager to do the right thing regarding the environment endorsed documents such as the Forestry Principles, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biodiversity (COB), and the recent Kyoto Protocol. Successful accomplishment of these agreements on a global basis requires common understanding and implementation at the national level. However, these agreements often contain terms that are not clearly defined or accepted on a national level. It could be that the endorsers either believed that they were commonly understood or they purposefully left the definitions and interpretations up to the implementing bodies.
To understand the magnitude of definitions in use at the national and international levels, IUFRO 6.03.02, in 1998, undertook studies of some terms associated with the Forestry Principles, Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions, and the Kyoto Protocol. The studies included a world-wide literature review and internet survey for definitions of such terms as tree, forest, land cover, land use, deforestation, afforestation, reforestation, old growth and ancient forest, protected areas, and low forest cover, that appeared to be ambiguous in many of the agreements. For example, the term "forest", key for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, may be defined as an administrative unit by one country, a type of land cover by another or a type of land use by yet another. With such diversity in definitions at the national level, it would be very difficult to develop any meaningful statistics at the global level.
This slide-illustrated, ironical paper summarizes the findings and definitions compiled for the above mentioned activities. We present some of the extremes as to how the key words may be interpreted or misinterpreted nationally and globally and make some suggestions for resolution. The paper concludes with recommendations on how scientists and resource managers may avoid confusion and global ambiguity in the future by working with the politicians and policy-makers now.
Gyde H. Lund
runs a small international consulting firm "Forest Information Services" specializing in networking, web and library searches, literature synthesis and report writing plus technical support in resources inventories and assessments. Prior to becoming a consultant, G. Lund worked for nearly 40 years with the U.S. Federal Government in the field of forest resource inventories and assessments.
He has nearly 200 published papers and reports on resource inventory and assessment. He holds forestry degrees from Utah States University and the University of Washington. He is a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters and a member of the International Society of Tropical Foresters, the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, and the Global Association of On-line Foresters.
He resides in Manassas, Virginia, USA with his wife and daughter.
M. Kaennel Dobbertin,
How to Do Terminology Work in Forestry
Services offered by IUFRO
Efficient communication among scientists and with decision makers needs a precise and clear technical language. The network of IUFRO experts in forest science is an immense pool of living expert knowledge. Experts create the terms we use to communicate and thus constitute an ideal partner for IUFRO’s services in their attempt to define and make accessible the forest technical language to a wider public.
At a time when English has become the lingua franca of science, it is crucial that other languages – and IUFRO has four official languages – keep playing an active role. This broadens the horizon of scientific thinking and knowledge, but also makes unequivocal communication more difficult to achieve.
Vocabularies, glossaries and terminological databases present the technical vocabularies and, if relevant, interpret them for the interested public. The role of forestry experts is to help and assist in this process of explication and definition of their own specialised language, in order to guarantee the high quality and liability of these communication tools.
IUFRO offers services with regard to terminological problems through its Working Party 6.03.02 „Trends in Forest Terminology" and its terminology project SilvaVoc based in the IUFRO Secretariat, which are interrelated and pro-active. Additionally we will show how 6.03.02 and SilvaVoc incorporate IUFRO officeholders in terminology work and illustrate the most important services that are provided by 6.03.02:
electronic discussion groups
terminological hotline for telematic-based terminological assistance;
and by SilvaVoc:
on-line Bibliography of terminological publications in forestry
terminological database SilvaTerm.
Traditionally IUFRO’s role in terminology has been to make people aware of terminological differences. Our approach is therefore based more on descriptive than prescriptive principles, e.g. instead of aiming primarily at recommending definitions, it is our concern to point out differences in the use of the terms. Guidelines for quality forestry terminology projects will be distributed at the IUFRO World Congress.
As globally co-ordinated forest research becomes a priority in the context of sustainable management and global change, the need for concerted action in terminology will increase. Partners from various geographical and institutional backgrounds will have to base their collaboration on common definitions. They will also need to avoid duplicating terminological efforts. Together, WP 6.03.02 and SilvaVoc can significantly contribute to this collective effort by consolidating the network, resources and expertise they have built since 1995.
Michèle Kaennel Dobbertin
is French and works in the division "Forest Ecosystems and Ecological Risks" of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmensdorf. She is in charge with managing terminological resources as well as the multilingual Web site of the division and of the research department "Forests". Within IUFRO, she coordinates Working Party 6.03.02 "Trends in forest terminology".
is Austrian, a professional translator for French and Spanish. She joined the IUFRO Secretariat in 1990 and got more and more interested in the technical language of forestry. She received a training in terminology science and practice at the University of Vienna, and in Ottawa, Canada, where she worked with Termium, the official term database of the Canadian Government. Since 1993, she has been coordinating SilvaVoc, IUFRO's service unit for multilingual forest terminology.
The panel discussion subsequent to the presentation of the papers will possibly take up some of ideas and themes presented in the papers. But there will also be the opportunity to address new challenges, to express new ideas or to discuss suggestions to the forest terminology community. Let us know if you want to participate in the session or if you would like to suggest any ideas before the session, at prueller(at)iufro.org or kaennel(at)wsl.ch.