Over 2,500 delegates from 92 countries and regions gathered in Curitiba, Brazil from September 29 to October 5, 2019 to participate in the 25th IUFRO World Congress, which is held every five years. This is the world's highest level of international academic exchanges in the forest sector, and was held for its first time in Latin American countries.
Themed with “Forest Research and Cooperation for Sustainable Development”, the first plenary session highlighted the potential of forests, trees and forest products to mitigate climate change. In the following five keynote plenary and 350 sub-plenary and technical sessions and more than 900 posters, researchers, scholars and stakeholders in the forest sector from around the world have explored and shared the latest findings in forest research, policy management and all areas related to forests and trees. The congress has effectively promoted the exchange of related knowledge as to current forest situation, challenges, consequences, and possible solutions, and made researchers in various disciplines around the world think about what researchers should do to contribute more effectively to the world's most pressing forest and environmental issues.
Forests and wood make great contributions to mankind in terms of resources, environment and livelihoods, and the associated cultural heritage not only has a long history but is rich and colorful. Focusing on “Wood and Forest Culture: Addressing a Sustainable Future”, International Wood Culture Society （IWCS）） and the World Wood Day Foundation（WWDF） organized one sub-plenary session and one technical sessionat the IUFRO World Congress. These sessions provided a better understanding of the historical, religious, artistic and other social values of wood and forest culture both for wood and non-wood forest products.
In addition, at the concurrent exhibition, two booths were specially presented by IWCS and WWDF showcasing of southern Brazilian music instrument, indigenous artifacts, northeastern Brazilian woodcut, woodcarving, and tea ceremony from the cultural perspective of forest products utilization. The lively interaction and the warm humanistic atmosphere give the participants a chance to witness the unique traditional technique, and enjoy the charm brought by this culture activity, adding a splendid brilliance to the whole event and a deeper understanding of how forest product combined with our life..
During Curitiba City Mayor’s tour to the exhibition, he was deeply impressed by the form and content of the IWCS & WWDF booth. He enthusiastically communicated with the craftsmen at the booth until the members of the tour group reminded him to leave again and again.
At the closing ceremony, Professor Wingfield, the chairman of IUFRO gave a special thanks to IWCS & WWDF for the successful joint effort of conducting the "IUFRO Outstanding Service Award" design competition earlier this year, and the trophies produced by the winning entry of the event were presented at the closing ceremony, highlighting the aim of raising public's awareness to do some change for a sustainable future.
The research of the IUFRO Division 5 includes the varied factors affecting the way forest plants grow and produce woody biomass and other products and the various ways the materials are used by industries and communities. With the initiative of IWCS in 2007, IUFRO Division 5 established the 05.10.01 Wood Culture Working Party. In 2018, the working party was upgraded to the Research Unit of Forest Products Culture (05.15.00), and Mr. Howard Rosen, Researcher of the US Forest Service take the lead as coordinator. Under the unit, two Working Party-- Wood culture and Non-wood forest culture were set up, coordinated by Su Jinling, Secretary General of IWCS, and Charlotte Chia Hua Lee, IWCS Project Manager. In recent years, the Unit Forest Product Culture has become one of the most active units of IUFRO D5, making forestry product culture an indispensable part of forest products. It not only opens up IUFRO to explore forest products, nature and life by using a multicultural and multi-faced approach, but provides a new platform to strengthen the theme of the efficient and sustainable use of forests for the good of mankind.