Thanks to financial support from BSW, the Welsh Government, Bangor University and the Henry C Hoare Charitable Trust, the Northern European Regional Meeting (NERM) of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) was able to visit some fine examples of multi-purpose forestry in North Wales in mid-April.
This year’s week-long ‘NERM’ was organised by Bangor Forestry Students’ Association (BFSA), reflecting the pioneering spirit of Bangor University that began it all in 1973 with an annual meeting of forestry students: the International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS). The event was held in Britain for thirteen years but this year’s European gathering, run on behalf of IFSA and with help from Woodland Heritage, was the first time that an annual meeting had returned to the UK.
“It was wonderful to welcome almost thirty delegates from a dozen European nations to North Wales and to visit a wide variety of sites, each with its own opportunities and challenges”, said event organiser and Chair of the IFSA Northern European Regional Meeting 2019, Peter Roe. “Every nation faces threats such as Climate Change and a growing list of pests and diseases, but equally a growing interest in using timber for a widening range of uses, leading to a healthy demand for forest products”.
The ‘NERM’ was able to view a broad range of species of trees grown at a variety of locations, but also to learn about the other services each site delivered, such as how Corsican pine has helped to protect the local village from coastal erosion at Newborough on Anglesey, and how Gwydir Forest has helped both the landscape and the rural visitor economy at Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia.
“On behalf of BFSA, I want to thank all the organisations that helped us stage this landmark event”, said Mr Roe. “The delegates, including our home-grown talent, represent the future of forestry in Northern Europe and it was fascinating to take part in so many debates about the different ways to keep our industry productive both today and tomorrow. There were some major differences in approach, such as with clear-fell where the situation in the Czech Republic was so different to that in Ireland, but we learned a great deal from each other and look forward to next year’s event in Germany”.