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Southern Cross University hosts innovative forestry workshop


Brigid Veale
3 August 2005
Southern Cross University is hosting top foresters from around Australia and the world with the Improving Productivity in Mixed-Species Plantations workshop in Ballina from August 5 to 7.

The workshop of about 40 brings together some of the key researchers from four Australian states, and around the world, including Africa, Vietnam, South America and the USA, for an intensive focus on latest research on one of forestry's most vexed questions —how the productivity of mixed-species forestry plantations can be improved.

Mixed-species plantations are often seen as environmentally preferable to "monocultures". However, they are also often seen as less commercially viable. The Ballina workshop will focus on the latest research, including research attempting to quantify mixtures in plantations to improve both environmental and economic outcomes, including growth, soil fertility, tree health and wood quality.

International speakers include Associate Professor Shibu Jose from the University of Florida and Professor Florencia Montagnini from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, both speaking on experimental work done in Central and Southern America.

Other speakers include Dr Paul P. Bosu from the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana and Dr Mark Hunt, Senior Principal Research Scientist, Forestry Research, Department of Primary Industries and Forestry, Queensland.

Key SCU speakers include PhD student Mila Bristow on mixed-species plantations in subtropical environments; Doland Nichols, reporting on his forestry research in Costa Rica; and Professor Jerry Vanclay who will give the workshop an overview of the current outlook of mixed-species plantation research today.

Key topics tackled will be productivity in mixed and pure plantations; insect and disease problems; and making mixed-species plantations operational.

The workshop was organised by SCU postgraduate student Mila Bristow as a forerunner to a major international forestry conference in Brisbane. The International Union of Forest Research Organisations is holding its work congress in Brisbane from August 8 to 13.

The Improving Productivity in Mixed-Species Plantations workshop will be held at the Ballina Beach Resort from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7. Further information can be obtained by phoning the organiser Mila Bristow on 0409 724013.