Lenzing and Closing Ceremony

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Monday, the 22nd of August, 2016, was the last official day of the IFSS2016. In the morning we got to choose one last tour out of two options before we traveled to the Closing Ceremony at Castle Aggstein.

Tour number one was a trip to Lenzing Group, producer of  botanic fibers for the textile and hygiene industries from the renewable raw material wood. On a guided tour we learned about the extremely ecofriendly production process from wood chips to pulp to fibre. In this unique closed loop process nearly 100% of the used solvent is recycled to produce three generations of man-made fibre: Tencel, Modal and Lenzing FR.

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The second tour included a visit of the Laakirchen paper museum, a former paper mill. Here we learned about the paper making process and were also allowed to try to make our very own piece of paper! Thanks to Lenzing Group and Laakirchen paper museum for having us!

After lunch we travelled to Aggstein Castle where we enjoyed our last panel discussion. According to the slogan of the IFSS 2016 “Regional forests, global perspectives”, the speakers addressed the future of the forest based sector.

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After a brief introduction by moderator Peter Mayer (Director of BFW, Austrian Research Centre for Forests), Gerhard Mannsberger (Director General, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management), Mike Wingfield (IUFRO President), Thomas Schenker Forstverwaltung Mariensee (Forest owner), Gerald Steindlegger (ISS Integrated Sustainability Solutions) and the newly elected IFSA-President Jesse Mahoney explained their points of view on the topic and answered our questions. Thank you for this insightful discussion!

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As this was the Closing Ceremony, Lisa Lehner, head of organizing committee (OC), gave an inspiring speech about the whole IFSS 2016. The organizing comittee had also prepared a last surprise for us: they all got up on the stage and performed an Austrian song!

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After a great dinner, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the farewell party began in the amazing knight´s hall of the castle.

Entertained by the band Bradln&Bier and later on by the DJs Jens and Max we celebrated the end of the exceptional experience of the IFSS 2016!

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Thanks to everyone who participated at the IFSS 2016 and helped to make this event special!

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IUFRO Workshop and Last Plenary Session

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On Sunday, the 21st of August, 2016, the fifth and last plenary session of the General Assembly of the IFSA took place.

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Later on we enjoyed an inspiring workshop by Mike Wingfield, president of IUFRO. He hosted a discussion on the future of forestry.

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Together we explored during this discussion what forestry will look like in the future, and how forestry education can best prepare students for the challenges ahead. The participants were also asked to work in small groups on the topic.

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In the afternoon we enjoyed the landscape close to National Park Kalkalpen during a raft trip on the river Enns. This adventure was completed with traditional Austrian music and snacks.

Thanks to IUFRO for this insightful experience!

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Husqvarna, ANRICA and TU Munich

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On August the 20th, 2016, we began the day with interesting presentations by the Technical University Munich which thought us about their study programmes but also forestry research in Germany.

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Afterwards we left Freising for the next item on the agenda: At the lake Almsee we joined two workshops. The first one was provided by Husqvarna Group. We got a quick introduction on Husqvarna and the required safety clothing of a forester. They had prepared three stations for us where we could test all kinds of Husqvarna products and equipment, like chainsaws and trimmers.

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The second workshop led us on a guided tour on the ecology of the region with Markus Sommerauer, managing director from ANRICA (Austrian Natural Resources Management and International Cooperation Agency).

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After dinner we attended another captivating presentation by Markus Sommerauer about ANRICA and on the topic of semi-natural forest management and its influence on the development of the rural area of Almtal.

Thanks to TU Munich, Husqvarna Group and ANRICA for this eventful and informative day!

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Excursion to Bavarian State Forest Enterprise

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On August 19th, 2016, we were invited to Kelheim by the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (BaySF). After having heard a lot about Austrian forestry beforehand, we were excited to get an introduction to German and especially Bavarian forestry as well.

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BaySF manages over 800 000 ha and is the largest forest enterprise in Germany. While visiting the forest district Kelheim, we learned about the organisation of the enterprise, its efforts at close-to-nature silviculture and its nature conservation projects. We even got to see an operating harvester and forwarder!

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After a delicious lunch, we talked about beech forest management. We were especially fascinated by Ludwigshain, an oak forest with an area of 3 ha. It was turned into a protection zone 100 years ago, because king Ludwig was amazed by the old, impressive oaks. However, as beech is the most competitve tree species in the area, oaks are disappearing and the stand is slowly changing into a beech stand.

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Thank you for presenting forestry in Bavaria to us, we thoroughly enjoyed the day at the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise!

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Austrian mountain torrent and avalanche control service

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The morning of August 18th, 2016, was spent at an excursion with the Austrian mountain torrent and avalanche control service in Tyrol. They had prepared three different stops where they taught us about various preventive protection measures and technical means to minimize risk and danger to human settlements.

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We got to take a cable car to the top of a mountain where we were shown protection fences that prevent avalanches in extremely steep terrain. We found that very interesting and were also really impressed by the beautiful scenery on the mountain.

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At another stop, we were shown a regulated waterway to prevent floods that can be caused by accumulation of heavy rainfall in the basin.

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The third stop was a presentation about various past projects and structures of the Austrian mountain torrent and avalanche control service that protect settlements in the region.

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Thank you to the Austrian mountain torrent and avalanche control service for these insightful excursions!

Hallstatt and EGGER

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On Monday, August 15th, 2016, we traveled to Hallstatt, a town famous for its salt deposits. A rack railway took us up the hill to the entrance of the old salt mine. A long tunnel led us inside the mine and then we used a slide to decend even deeper down into the mountain.

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There we saw a fascinating light show inside the cave, the oldest wooden staircase and learned about the history of the “white gold”.

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After lunch we continued our trip to EGGER particle board manufacturing where we had a guided tour and could experience the process of producing wood products. Afterwards EGGER provided us a typical Austrian dinner with Wiener Schnitzel.

Thank you for having us!

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National Park Gesäuse with the Styrian Provincial Forests

On this beautiful Sunday, August 14th, 2016, we started the day with the third plenary session of the IFSA General Assembly. It was followed by a presentation on “Stakeholder involvement and conflict solving” by Wilhelm Graiss, teacher at the Agricultural School Raumberg-Gumpenstein.

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In the afternoon we were invited by the Styrian Provincial Forests to visit the National Park Gesäuse. Andreas Holzinger, director of the Styrian Provincial Forests welcomed us in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery. During the excursion we heard a lot about the Gesäuse and national parks in general.

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Afterwards we were divided into smaller groups and covered a range of important topics including visitor management, forest conversion to regenerating secondary forests and the handling of the bark beetle inside a national park.

To learn more about game management we then continued to visit a feeding place for game. We discussed for example why it is necessary to feed the game during winter in the National Park.

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Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious dinner of game goulash from the Styrian Provincial Forests. Thank you for this amazing day!

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