Accolades flow for Gottstein forest science course days

“THE quality of the course would not have been possible without the calibre of speakers across all facets of forest sciences and the forestry industry.”

This was one of many accolades given to the organisers of the third biennial Gottstein forest science course held at the University of Melbourne’s Creswick campus last month.
Continuing, Rohan Jacobsen, GIS analyst at ABARES in Canberra, said the format and the scheduling of the course was well planned and executed.

“Although the days were on the long side I found myself just as absorbed at 5 pm as I was at 9 am,” Rohan said.

“In particular, I found the two panel discussions of great value. The presentations and seminars are effective at providing much of the theory and principles of forestry, but the panel groups enabled participants to get real insights into industry leaders’ thoughts and opinions.’

Rohan said he hoped the courses would continue and saw value in them being run more frequently.

“I will make a strong recommendation to my work area on the suitability of this course for staff who are new or recently joined within the forest-related sections in ABARES and don’t have forestry qualifications,” he said.

“Again, my only qualm is that the next one is two years away.”

The third biennial Gottstein Forest Science Course was a huge success according to the attendees.

Other comments at the end of the course, held from February 13 to 17, included: “brilliant”, “worthwhile and time well spent”, and “awesome”.

“We are concerned that our week-long course takes participants away from their work for the whole week,” course director Dr Silvia Pongracic, a former CSIRO scientist, said.

“But we can immerse them in the forestry supply chain and when they depart five days later they are inspired.”

The course takes participants on a journey from understanding the forest and plantation resource, how to manage that resource for timber and other non-timber values

The challenges include measuring the quantity and quality of the resource, what the non-timber forest products of water, biodiversity, carbon add to the management of forests, how fire can be the greatest tool or the fiercest foe, and how important the forestry industry is to regional economies.

“The culmination is an expose of wood as the building material of the 21st century,” Dr Pongracic said.

“It’s a lot to cover in one week, but the ‘forestry degree in a week’ seems to be gaining popularity.

“With a 50% increase in numbers over previous years, Gottstein trustee and course speaker Ric Sinclair was thrilled. “It’s great to see so many young people, and especially young women, attending this course,” he said.