Lenzing and Closing Ceremony


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.



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.



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!


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!


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!


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


IUFRO Workshop and Last Plenary Session


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


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




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.


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!



Husqvarna, ANRICA and TU Munich


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


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.



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).



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!


Excursion to Bavarian State Forest Enterprise


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.


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!


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.



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


Austrian mountain torrent and avalanche control service


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.


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.


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


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.


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

Eventful day at Binderholz


On the 17th of August, 2016, we arrived in Fügen, where we got the chance to visit the company site of Binderholz GmbH.

But first the fourth plenary session of the General Assembly took place including elections.


This was followed by a Panel discussion with Minister Andrä Rupprechter (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management), CEO Reinhard Binder (Binderholz GmbH), CEO Herbert Jöbstl (Stora Enso Wood Products Central Europe) and Prof. Michael Flach (University of Innsbruck).
The main topics included the possible opportunities and limits of timber construction and  Austria’s timber industry’s contribution to climate challenges. The participants were also involved and permitted to ask questions.



After lunch we had guided tours through the saw mill and the FeuerWerk (pellet production – a power plant) of Binderholz.


At Binderholz they follow the no-waste-principle, which means that they use the entire log so that nothing is wasted – even the bark is used. They showed us the range of their products that are produced in Austria and Germany including dimension lumber, surfaced lumber, solid wood panels edge glued and 3-ply, glulam beams, binderholz CLT BBS, pellets, briquettes, green electricity and district heating.


Many thanks to Binderholz GmbH for this wonderful day!


The presentations can be downloaded here:
Stora Enso – CEO Herbert Jöbstl
University of Innsbruck – Prof. Flach

A Day with the Tyrolean Forestry Board


On Tuesday, August 16th, 2016, the Tyrolean Forestry Board (Landesforstdirektion Tirol) gave us the possibility to choose between two exciting and challenging excursions.

One group went hiking on Absamer Vorberg in Tyrol where a major forest fire had burned down 70 ha- thereof 50 ha of forests and destroyed their protection structures. During our hike we learned about the challenges and consequences of this: avalanches, snow gliding, game browsing and erosion. Our guides were extremely well prepared and even managed to show us posters with graphs and data on the mountain!



The second group gathered in a cabin after a short hike and got to enjoy a presentation about Bergwelt Tirol and their perspective on tourism, visitor flow and sports in the forest near Innsbruck. After a delicious lunch we went to a single trail which is a narrow trail for mountain bikers. While still talking about it we even saw a few mountain bikers racing down the trail.


Then we entered a tunnel that was part of the water supply storages of the city of Innsbruck. What an exciting experience!
Before we left we also learned about avalanche barriers which protect the city of Innsbruck and its inhabitants from avalanches.

Huge thanks to the Tyrolean Forestry Board for this amazing day!