Annual Report 1997
This past year has proven to be extremely productive, with IUFRO’s SPDC being re-examined and restructured. The current Programme (1997 - 2000) builds on some of the strengths from former programmes but adds a number of new elements and approaches to the delivery of IUFRO-SPDC activities and products. It was approved at the EB meeting in Rome and will be implemented as funding permits.
An important step in tracking the expectations of those that we wish to support was that IUFRO-SPDC sent out a questionnaire re the Information Bulletin for Developing Countries. Because of the low response rate from our questionnaire to subscribers, the high costs of printing and mailing, uncertainties over the future of FAO’s International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology (AGRIS) and the increasing availability of the abstracts electronically or in CD-ROM formats from FAO, it was decided that the publication of the Information Bulletin should be terminated following the mailing of the 1997 summer issue and that an SPDC insert in IUFRO News should be produced in its place. Funds saved by discontinuing the Bulletin will be reallocated to increase funding available for scientist assistance. In addition to current Programme information provided in the SPDC insert of IUFRO News, IUFRO-SPDC will produce an annual Special Paper that includes overarching introductory articles and targeted bibliographies on selected themes of particular interest to developing-country scientists.
Information dissemination - Two issues of the Information Bulletin for Developing Countries were produced in 1997. These contained news of research projects, publications, training courses, funding sources, and the SPDC. Both issues also included selected references to forestry literature from the AGRIS database, coordinated by FAO, and were distributed free of charge to some 1250 individuals who requested it. The first new insert in IUFRO News (no. 4, 1997) was distributed using the IUFRO mailing list and the revised IUFRO-SPDC mailing list. In the future, SPDC news will be distributed only to IUFRO members.
Strengthening national capacities in forestry research in sub-Saharan Africa - In summer 1996, a draft Project Formulation Framework (PFF) and a project document were prepared by FAO and IUFRO-SPDC and sent for comments to countries and organizations concerned and to potential donors. The project document incorporates comments received on the PFF and was prepared in mid-July 1997 at FAO (Rome) by Bob Szaro, Pape Sall and Oudara Souvannavong. Partners and potential donors were then invited to participate in a regional consultation on forestry research at the FAO Regional Office, Accra, Ghana, scheduled for 30 September to 2 October 1997 (Summary Report from Expert Consultation available in IUFRO News, vol. 26, 1997). Many of the issues and needs identified at the Accra Meeting are common to all regions, while others are specific to sub-Saharan Africa. Through the consultation process, the final project document as well as parallel proposals by IUFRO-SPDC will be finalized and sponsorship sought. The cooperative spirit of all those involved, their frankness in discussing problems, and their willingness to offer solutions have been encouraging. We look forward to working closely with the African Academy of Sciences and the existing sub-regional networks in our common goal of building forestry research capacity and networking.
Search for Deputy Coordinator for Africa (DCA) - This past summer we intensified the search process for DCA candidates and re-issued our advertisement in both English and French. Numerous notices were sent throughout Africa, especially to IUFRO member institutes in the Region. The FAO Forestry Department was instrumental in helping us distribute this information. We received many highly qualified applicants and the top two were invited for interviews at the EB meeting in Rome. At that meeting, Dr. Yapi from Côte d’Ivoire was offered the DCA position.
BIO-REFOR workshops - IUFRO-SPDC sponsored its 6th annual BIO-REFOR workshop organized with the support of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Official Development Assistance Program and AusAID. This workshop, entitled „Overcoming Impediments to Reforestation: International Workshop on Tropical Forest Rehabilitation in the Asia-Pacific Region", was held 2-9 December 1997 and hosted by the University of Queensland, Australia.
Carpathian Mountains Project. Forest health and biodiversity - Coordinator Szaro travelled to Washington, D.C. to develop a proposal to enhance research capacity in Eastern Europe. He was successful in securing a commitment from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for a three-year period. Under the terms of this grant, a cooperative research programme has been initiated to address the effects of air pollutants on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management and sustainability criteria relating to forest management in the Carpathian Mountains. The primary outputs of the project will be stronger scientific expertise and capability in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine and a network of scientists in Eastern Europe. A planning workshop was held 3-7 November 1997 in Smolenice, Slovakia.
Coordinated research project on agroforestry - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) / FAO / IUFRO-SPDC - IUFRO-SPDC contributed to the development of an IAEA Agroforestry Cooperative Research Programme (CRP). IUFRO’s Agroforestry Coordinator, Dr. Fergus Sinclair (1.15.00), was invited to participate in a CRP workshop held 8-10 September 1997 in Vienna, Austria. IUFRO-SPDC will have the opportunity to recommend scientists from IUFRO member institutes for FAO/IAEA training courses on 15N techniques for studying nutrient cycling and on the use of neutron probes for determining water flows. SPDC will consult with IUFRO agroforestry experts in the development of the coordinated research project and will recommend developing-country institutions that may wish to participate in the five-year project.
Research capacity building in Latin America - IUFRO-SPDC continued its efforts to enhance research capacity in Latin America by providing scientist assistance, by promoting existing research networks, and by contributing to project formulation. Discussions were held with BOLFOR (Bolivia), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Agency - National Program for Forestry Research (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, EMBRAPA), the University of Viçosa (Universidade Federal de Viçosa, UFV), Instituto de Pesquisas Technologicas (IPT), and Instituto Florestal (Brazil) to enhance networking and to develop projects that IUFRO-SPDC can take to potential donors. With some or all of these partners, IUFRO-SPDC proposes to act as a catalyst to foster several joint-venture initiatives including those on sustainable forest harvesting, forest-health decision support systems, and agroforestry in Latin America and the Caribbean described in further detail in the following three sections.
Sustainable forest harvesting - SPDC has initiated discussion with FAO and BOLFOR to address forest harvesting at varying intensities in Bolivia. IUFRO-SPDC drafted a framework document, assisted with project formulation, and plans to submit a proposal to funding agencies. FAO has agreed to participate by funding a forest harvesting case study. This project could provide an opportunity to enhance networking and research capacity in the Region and offers a vehicle for training.
Forest-health decision support systems: a primer for Latin America - IUFRO-SPDC is assisting in the development of a forest health training course designed for forest managers in Latin America. The course will be lead by Dr. Rene I. Alfaro, Natural Resources Canada - Canadian Forestry Service, in close collaboration with partners from Latin America. The aim of the proposed proposal is to address regional needs and foster twinning, capacity-building, inter-institute collaboration and networking among organizations and between North-South countries. The objectives of the training course are (i) to provide practicing foresters and resource managers with knowledge to make informed decisions on how to manage forests affected by insects, diseases and pollutants; (ii) to provide new tools and training to scientists in developing countries. Subject to funding, a range of generic modules (chapters) will be developed for the course and IUFRO-SPDC proposes to begin the practical training with a workshop (field course) in Chile. Later, cooperative work with interested partners in Mexico and the Caribbean is planned. IUFRO-SPDC seeks to place the training course on the IUFRO web site and to consider it for a pre-Congress workshop for IUFRO’s Congress 2000 in Malaysia.
Agroforestry in Latin America and the Caribbean - IUFRO-SPDC proposed a cooperative agroforestry project in Brazil lead by Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV) and Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisas Agropecuária (EMBRAPA). This initiative has support from the Latin American Information Network (Red de Información Forestal para América Latina y Caribe). Interface with the Latin American Technical Cooperation Network on Agroforestry sponsored by the FAO Regional Office has occurred and cooperation from this regional network will be further developed. In July 1997, a working group was established to begin project formulation and IUFRO-SPDC has promoted a detailed formulation of this interdisciplinary proposal. A background paper completed by Dr. Laércio Couto et al. from UFV that summarizes the role of Eucalyptus spp. in Brazilian agroforestry is under review. The paper will be published in Portuguese and in English.
Travel assistance and grants - This year we received over 100 requests for travel grants to attend over 40 separate meetings. We supported 34 individuals and 9 meeting organizers to a total of US$ 54,303. Cost-sharing by applicants or their employers will cover an additional several thousand dollars of expenses. Winners of SPDC grants travelled to IUFRO-sponsored meetings in all five continents.
Personnel - News
Dr. Wade Bowers from the Canadian Forest Service started as Deputy Coordinator for Programme on 1 April 1997.
Martina Melville, Administrative Assistant, departed IUFRO-SPDC to pursue new career challenges. We thank Martina for her long and outstanding contribution to SPDC and we are sorry to see her depart IUFRO-SPDC. Currently, we are working with the Secretariat to re-evaluate staffing needs and methods of operation in Vienna.
The balance on hand at the end of the year was US$ 883,470. The Government of Japan was again the primary source of receipts with their seventh grant for the series of BIO-REFOR workshops and core support to SPDC. SPDC is indebted to the Japanese Foreign Ministry for their long-term support. Without their assistance SPDC would be unable to continue many of its programmes. IUFRO-SPDC is also indebted to the Danish Foreign Ministry (DANIDA), the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and, the USDA Forest Service.
With the arrival of Wade Bowers and the selection of the Deputy Coordinator for Africa, the IUFRO-SPDC 1997 budget was adjusted to reflect both these changes. Projections for total expenses given at the EB meeting in South Africa of US$ 443,500 have been revised downward to 417,020. This includes both projected reductions from suspending the publication of the Bulletin, the delay in hiring the Deputy Coordinator from Africa, the unexpected departure of our Administrative Assistant, and increases for personnel maintenance and travel. IUFRO-SPDC’s budget will end with a small surplus in 1997.
IUFRO-SPDC remains co-located with the Secretariat in Vienna, sharing facilities, services and staff as per mutual agreement and within the framework of IUFRO’s Statutes and Internal Regulations and the provisions of Austrian law and regulations to which IUFRO is subject. It continues to use the services of the Treasurer’s Office for receiving and depositing payments, investing and managing funds, making disbursements, keeping track of transactions and fund balances, suggesting changes in accounting system and financial practices. This year IUFRO-SPDC and the Secretariat agreed to several changes. The budgeting procedures have been standardized and all financial expenditures in Vienna are now part of a common accounting system. The Secretariat and IUFRO-SPDC continue to explore ways to integrate activities to make better use of our limited resources.
In 1997, the IUFRO-SPDC Coordinator travelled to Rome three times, in January, February, and July, to work on the development of the FORNESSA proposal. In February he also travelled to Washington to develop the proposal to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for work in Eastern Europe and to attend the Forestry Advisors Group Meeting in New York at the request of the IUFRO President. The Coordinator participated in the APAFRI, FORSPA & Heads of Forestry Research Meetings in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, 24-29 March; consulted with colleagues at CIFOR in Bogor, Indonesia, 29 March – 2 April; met with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives from IUFRO/Japan and BIO-REFOR, 11-19 April; and concluded work on the USDA Forest Service’s Ecological Stewardship Workshop in Portland, Oregon, 24 April to 9 May (paid for by the USDA Forest Service). After attending the EB meeting in Rome, he attended the Heads of Forestry Research Meeting in Accra, Ghana, 30 September – 2 October, which was co-sponsored by IUFRO-SPDC and FAO.
Both Coordinator Szaro and Deputy Coordinator Bowers attended the World Forestry Congress in Antalya, Turkey, 14-19 October, and the Carpathian Mountains Workshop, held in Zvolen, Slovakia, 3-7 November. Szaro returned to Washington, D.C., 19-25 November, for meetings with the USDA Forest Service; participated in the BIO-REFOR Workshop, Queensland, Australia, 2-9 December; and met with AusAID in Canberra on 10 December.
The IUFRO-SPDC Deputy Coordinator travelled to Bolivia and Brazil in July to solicit input from the region for development of the IUFRO-SPDC programme in Latin America. During this visit, workers in the region were informed about IUFRO-SPDC’s direction and discussions were held with regional forestry networks and personnel.
We would like to thank Dr. Oscar Fugalli, former IUFRO-SPDC Coordinator, and Drs. Helga Schmidt and Christine Krieger of FAO’s AGRIS Processing Unit in Vienna for all their help in selecting and printing the abstracts we used over the years in the publication of the Bulletin. Without their assistance the Information Bulletin for Developing Countries would not have been possible.
Robert C. Szaro, Coordinator
Wade W. Bowers, Deputy Coordinator