International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS) visiting Austrian Federal Forests
120 forestry students from all over the world attended the International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS), which took place in Austria this summer. Österreichische Bundesforste (ÖBf), the Austrian Federal Forests, were not only one of the main sponsors of the conference, but also organized two field trips for the students.
The International Forestry Students Association holds a symposium each year in a different country in order to network and to exchange knowledge and ideas on forestry in different economical, ecological and cultural surroundings. This year’s symposium was hosted by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. In the course of the two-week-program the students from 50 countries, among them Canada, Australia, India, Ghana and Japan, visited different companies in forest industry, research and authorities as well as a national park.
Österreichische Bundesforste provided the students an inside view into the regional characteristics and challenges of forestry in an alpine country. They were hosted by CEO Rudolf Freidhager in the company headquarter and then visited the deciduous forest close to Vienna, where they learned about the biosphere park “Wienerwald” and the challenges of managing a forest close to a capital city with 2 million inhabitants.
A second excursion led them to the “Salzkammergut” in the center of Austria, which spans the federal states of Upper Austria, Salzburg, and Styria. In this area Österreichische Bundesforste not only manages most of the woodlands, but also some of the most beautiful lakes of the country, where they do commercial fishing. The students were very interested in this business segment as well as in the culinary aspect of the visit. In a final trip into an alpine forest they gained insight into bark beetle management and a program for the protection of capercaillie and black grouses.