FABI was well represented at the IUFRO expanded Board Meeting held in Vienna, Austria, on 15-16 April where Director and current IUFRO President, Prof. Mike Wingfield, officiated in his first year as President of the world’s largest network of forest scientists. Prof. Wingfield was joined by Prof. Jolanda Roux, deputy co-ordinator for IUFRO Division 7: Forest Health, and Morné Booij-Liewes, IUFRO communications co-ordinator reporting to Prof. Wingfield. 

Prior to the Board meeting IUFRO, in partnership with the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), hosted the Bio-Economy Symposium with the theme “Sowing Innovation – Reaping Sustainability: Forests’ Crucial Role in a Green Economy”. The symposium also formed part of the Austrian Forest Dialogue (Walddialog). This saw some 100 participants from more than 20 countries attend this event.

In his opening address to the delegates, Prof. Wingfield said that forests as a renewable resource have the potential to play an increasing role in the sustainability of the global economy as well as in local and regional economies, and a key role in the emerging bio-based economy. However, he noted that the main challenge will be how to maximise the forests’ contributions while ensuring their sustainability.