Annual Report 1999

This year marked some important milestones and changes for IUFRO’s Special Programme for Developing Countries (IUFRO-SPDC). We were successful in our efforts to secure funding from the European Commission for a project designed to support the establishment of the Global Forest Information Service in Africa. We were also able to support a number of workshops and training sessions but were unable to generate general purpose funds to maintain our discretionary scientists assistance programme. A few highlights of our activities are given below:

Capacity Building in Africa
IUFRO-SPDC continues to play a leading role in creating the enabling environment for national forestry research institutions to upgrade the skills of professional foresters in Africa and to sustainably manage African forests and their resources. Our Deputy Coordinator for Africa, Dr. Atse Yapi, has continued his efforts in this regard and has further strengthened our links to the Forestry Group of FAO, at their Regional Office for Africa in Accra, Ghana. IUFRO-SPDC focused its efforts on the following areas: (1) further developing partnerships within Sub-Saharan Africa, (2) organizing a grant writing training workshop in cooperation with AAS (African Academy of Sciences) and IFS (International Foundation for Science) in October, 1999 in Zimbabwe, (3) organizing a training workshop on resource and personnel management held in January in Pretoria, South Africa, and (4) participating in AFORNET Eco-Regional Workshops in Accra, Ghana (May) and Zomba, Malawi (June).

Capacity Building in Asia
BIOTechnology Assisted REFORestation Project (BIO-REFOR): Early in December 1999, the 8th Annual International Conference of the BIOtechnology assisted REFORestation project was held in Kathmandu, Nepal. This conference was hosted by the Department of Plant Resources and the Department of Forest Research and Survey from the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation of Nepal and sponsored by BIO-REFOR, and IUFRO-SPDC. The local organizing committee headed by Mr. M.S. Bista, Mr. R.B. Bista, and Mr. R.B. Joshi did a superb job of organizing the conference and its post-workshop excursion to Daman and Royal Chitwan National Park.

Capacity Building in Eastern Europe
Effects of Forest health on Biodiversity in the Carpathian Mountains: The project built on last year’s efforts by examining in greater depth several additional aspects of the potential impact of stress on forests. The dendrochronology core sampling was finished on all sites and analyses will start next year. The bark beetle sites were sampled in all countries for the second year. The quantity and quality of data improved significantly in 1999 because (1) measures were taken to assure that all cooperators had the necessary supplies and equipment earlier in the season and (2) a standardized data form was provided to investigators. Preliminary observations on two year’s data suggests that the more polluted sites are characterized by higher beetle captures in pheromone traps over time and higher beetle densities/dm2 in sections dissected from infested trees. The genetics team selected the trees, collected samples, and has started isozyme analyses of all samples. Preliminary spruce results suggest that sensitive trees have a greater number of rare alleles than do tolerant trees. Foliage and humus sampling was done at all 26 sites and the samples are currently being analyzed.

Capacity Building in Latin America
With the arrival of the new IUFRO-SPDC Deputy Coordinator, Dr. David Langor, there has been a renewal of efforts to develop forest research capacity building activities and projects in Latin America. Proposals have been developed and submitted to develop new training courses and workshops on the topics of Evaluation and Maintenance of Forest Health and Forest Valuation. Furthermore, resources are being sought to support organization of conferences on these topics in Latin America. In an effort to meet the demand for affordable textbooks in Spanish, we have solicited funding to support publication of several books on regional topics. Considerable effort has been made to liaison with Latin American colleagues to foster collaborative capacity building activities.

Scientist Assistance Programme
IUFRO-SPDC provided over US$270,000 to scientist support in 1999 including $30,000 to individual scientists and working party organizers, $45,000 for the Division 6 Meeting and Workshop in South Africa, $5,000 for the grant writing workshop in Zimbabwe, $5,000 for a strategic planning workshop, Zimbabwe, $5,000 for the off forest tree resources meeting in Tanzania, $2,500 for a FORAFRI meeting in Gabon, $2,500 for the "Women in Forestry" Symposium in Norway, $25,000 for the IUFRO Latin American Congress in Chile, $10,000 for the meeting "Advances in the Production of Forest Tree Seed in Latin America" in Santo Domingo, and $139,184 for BIO-REFOR including the workshop in Nepal.

Although these figures appear promising, there will be a marked change in the future of our scientists’ assistance programme brought about by changes in how donors wish to distribute their support. We are no longer able to find resources to maintain our small discretionary travel grants. All future assistance for IUFRO workshops and meetings will be restricted to those meetings where we can successfully compete for additional support from other sources. This means that any support secured will be given directly to those workshop organizers who work closely with us in developing funding proposals. We will no longer be able to accept applications or requests from individual scientists. All scientist assistance funding for the year 2000 has already been committed and we will be unable to assist in securing funds for any other events.

Information Services
Training Manuals: Dr. Pat Reid (Director, School of Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ) has worked hard on finishing a draft of our latest training manual entitled "Handbook for Preparing and Writing Proposals." We are now in the process of finalizing the manual and developing a set of Microsoft Powerpoint slides as a companion to the manual.

IUFRO-SPDC on the Web: The IUFRO-SPDC web-site continues to expand its content which includes SPDC inserts in the IUFRO news, topical papers, and timely announcements of activities and changes to the programme.

Global Forest Information Service
IUFRO-SPDC is happy to announce that our 3 year project proposal submitted to the European Commission DG VIII "Mobilizing scientific information on forests to promote their sustainable management in ACP countries" has been approved. The project will establish regional nodes within ACP countries that will facilitate access to and dissemination of scientific and technical information on forests and their utilization. These nodes will be located in the Pacific (Fiji), Western Africa (Ghana and Senegal), Eastern Africa (Kenya), and Southern Africa (Zimbabwe). We have expanded our partnership with FAO to ensure that these efforts are coordinated and fit within an overall global system. As a result two project staff members will be co-located at FAO in Rome. As we implement the project we will include a wide variety of other partners to help us develop the network. Our objectives are: (1) to improve access to reliable scientifically based information on forests in ACP countries and their utilization, (2) to build capacity in selected regional research institutions to develop and manage internet-based systems to facilitate broad access to research information on forests in the ACP countries, (3) to share experience and good practice in information management between ACP countries, and (4) to enhance integration and comparability between national data on forests throughout the ACP countries

Personnel - News
Dr. David Langor from the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) arrived in June, 1999 and started as Deputy Coordinator for Programme and will concentrate on capacity building in Latin America.

Robert C. Szaro, Coordinator
David Langor, Deputy Coordinator for Programme
Atse M. Yapi, Deputy Coordinator for Africa