5th International Congress on Planted Forests: 7-10 November 2023

Conference tagline: Planted forests, an essential nature-based solution to meet growing needs in wood products, restore forest ecosystems, and mitigate climate change.

Venue: CIFOR-ICRAF Campus, Nairobi, Kenya.

Organising committee: IUFRO Planted Forests Task Force and EFI Research Network.

Opening statement from FAO (Representative, Kenya): Planted forests must produce more, be diverse and socially acceptable, as well as protect those who cannot speak for themselves.

Attendees: Representatives from 27 countries.

The conference commenced with an address by Gitonga Mugambi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya. He outlined Kenya’s plan to plant 13.7 billion trees in the next 20 years, along with research and training for various sectors.

Picture: ICPF2023, Nairobi, Kenya (PC: ICPF team)

It was a great experience for me as a young scientist. I had the opportunity to meet and discuss my work with world-leading scientists in forest growth modelling and management. Besides, I was enlightened by new prospects of mixed-species plantation and diversification of demands and supply chains. Overall, I came back home with a mindful approach to new thoughts on tackling problems such as climate smart forestry.

As part of the conference’s field visit, I had the opportunity to visit the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) and a couple of successful case studies of co-management sites. I witnessed agro-silvo-pastoral practices on the ground. Interestingly, we were welcomed by the locals in a traditional way. The background stories and direct engagement with beneficiaries were new experiences for me.

Picture: Agro-silvo-pastoral site of cypress plantation.

Picture: Plantation forestry while producing potatoes.

Picture: Local welcoming ceremony by the young beneficiaries.

I also presented a case study on "Carbon sequestration potential of plantation forests in New Zealand" during the session on planted forests' role in decarbonized bioeconomy and sustainable management practices. My presentation was well received by the audience. The session focused on the journey from soil to tree harvesting, highlighting sequestered carbon as the final product. There were many thought-provoking presentations, and I learned about various global movements in this field.

A few key takeaways for me and may be the New Zealand forestry sector as well were:

  • Plantation/planted forests are poised to play a significant role in mitigating a diverse array of demands in the future.
  • The future of plantation forests will likely be characterized by greater diversity, both in terms of species and products.
  • Consequently, our current business models may need to be revised and adapted to accommodate these changes.

Overall, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to visit a new country on a continent I had never been to before. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the NZIF Foundation for the Chavasse travel award, which enabled me to have this enriching experience.

Picture: With the Scion team (Serajis Salekin, Henri Bailleres, Grace Villamor).

ANZIF conference 2023 - Student experiences
(School of Forestry, University of Canterbury)

 At the ANZIF conference, I gave my first oral presentation at an international conference. As my PhD topic and general research interest are in forest health and biosecurity, I was most interested in these sessions. The various speakers and presentations gave me an update on research in Australia and New Zealand and provided me with ideas on where to look for jobs after my PhD. The conference committee allowed for plenty of networking opportunities during coffee and lunch breaks. This gave me the chance to personally meet people who I had corresponded with previously via email and Zoom, people who have done research that is relevant to me, and network with other people from the forestry industry. I could also spend personal time with my co-supervisor Toni Withers, who is based at Scion in Rotorua. This conference was an extremely valuable experience, and I am very grateful to the NZIF Foundation for supporting my attendance.

Carolin Weser, PhD in Forest Health and Biosecurity


 I had a very insightful and eye-opening week at the ANZIF conference. The talks focused on social licence to operate, and agroforestry were particularly interesting to me as social licence is a very topical subject here in NZ and agroforestry isn’t something we’ve delved into at university. It was great to attend the Women in Forestry breakfast and panel where I was able to meet likeminded women from the industry. The week was finished with a first-place award shared with Nathan for my poster and a great field trip on Forest Health and Fire which was all quite new to me as a kiwi. Thank you NZIF Foundation for the opportunity to attend!

Emma Walters, Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons)



The ANZIF conference was a fantastic experience where I was fortunate enough to attend a variety of presentations and meet a number of different people. Some of my favourite presentations were those relating to biosecurity, I enjoyed this topic as I am currently studying a biosecurity paper at university. I also attended a field trip where I learned about forest health, fire, resilience, and conservation. During this field trip I was surprised to discover that controlled fires are used to return forests to their natural state. I also had the chance to connect with other students, some of whom happened to work for the Australian branch of the company that I currently work for in New Zealand. Overall, the conference was an enriching experience that broadened my view on forestry, and where it may take me in the future.

Ryan Doyle, Bachelor of Forestry Science



My attendance at the ANZIF Conference was very enjoyable, a great learning experience and provided many networking opportunities. During the conference, I attended many presentations on different topics, including biosecurity, agroforestry, remote sensing, and carbon forestry. These presentations opened my eyes to many aspects of forestry I had not considered and taught me about how the forestry industry operates in Australia and the challenges they are facing. One of the highlights was the Future Foresters networking function, where I met other young foresters from Australia and New Zealand. We discussed the challenges young foresters face in both countries and how to deal with these challenges. Thank you NZIF Foundation, for the support attending the conference!

Liam Walker, Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons)



Thanks to the New Zealand Institute of Forestry Foundation, I was able to attend the 2023 ANZIF Conference. I was fortunate to present my 4th year honours dissertation poster on the "Assessment of wood stiffness by species and aging: a Nelder experiment". Through many valuable conversations with delegates about my project, I learnt new things about the topic, and I was also able to share my knowledge with others too. My highlights of the conference itself were listening to the automation and predictive forestry presentations. The field trip to a nearby rainforest was a very cool experience too, learning how fire is used to enhance biodiversity (bit different to New Zealand!).

Nathan Wright, Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons)



Last month, I had the privilege of attending the ANZIF Conference 2023, and my experience was truly enlightening. Throughout the few days, the definite highlight was learning from the great scientists, researchers, foresters, and farmers who shared their knowledge and passion. The sessions were thought-provoking, and I gained valuable knowledge, especially from the “Future hardwood plantations” and “Genetics and predictive forestry” sessions. The networking opportunities were also exceptional, and I had the opportunity to engage with leading experts in my field and network with many inspiring professionals. I would like to thank ANZIF for organising such an extraordinary event and the NZIF Foundation for supporting my registration fee to attend this conference.

Vikash Ghildiyal, PhD in Forestry

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