Eastern Cape forestry practices in global spotlight
More than 120 international forestry students have been given unique access and exposure to critical conservation and sustainable forest management initiatives in the Eastern Cape.
The students visited various sites in the Eastern Cape, including Hogsback and King William’s Town, to gain first-hand knowledge of local forestry practices and to gain a global perspective on South African traditions, developments and cultural contexts impacting on forestry.
The students, representing 56 countries globally, are all members of the International Forestry Students’ Association. They were participating in the annual International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS), an annual event which serves to introduce students to a wide range of research centres and forestry companies.
The two-week symposium was jointly organised by Nelson Mandela University, University of Venda, Stellenbosch University, Fort Cox College of Agricultural and Forestry and the University of Pretoria.
The Fort Cox leg of the symposium, which included field visits to Hogsback and a cultural tour of the Steve Biko Centre, was sponsored by Rance Timber.
“This symposium is a great opportunity for South Africa to showcase its conservation and forestry management practices, and to get global engagement with our industry,” Rance Timber’s Stakeholder Relations Manager, Harold Mrashula, said.
“Rance Timber has a long-standing partnership with Fort Cox, and we were happy to assist them with the resources and logistical support they needed to host the Fort Cox leg of this important international event.”
One of the highlights of the Fort Cox leg of the symposium was a discussion led by Amathole Forestry Company (AFC) official Lukhs Mabongo on silvicultural commercial forestry practices being used at AFC’s Hogsback plantation.
Students visited the three main waterfalls in Hogsback and were given a detailed briefing on the region’s rich background by local resident Ian Weir.
“IFSS provided an invaluable opportunity to showcase South African forestry practices to the rest of the world,” Mrashula said. “Rance Timber is proud to have played a role in facilitating this important initiative.”
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