Forestry in South Africa
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September : Report back to industry from the chair of the department of Forest & Wood Science - Prof Pierre Ackerman

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25 September, 2017

Report back to industry from the chair of the department of Forest & Wood Science - Prof Pierre Ackerman

We as an Industry are indebted to Pierre's enormous contribution, since 2000, in providing the Industry with relevant research outputs & just as importantly, providing the Industry with the highly trained forestry professionals needed to ensure the continued ecological & financial sustainability of the Industry.  As reported by Pierre, it would appear that future of forestry education at US is very positive. It is also pleasing to note that Pierre has been given the opportunity to extend his service to the Department by the University. This will, in our view, assist in ensuring that an orderly succession takes place.

Roger Godsmark
Operations Director
Forestry South Africa

Dr Pierre Ackerman and the Department of Forest and Wood Science, Stellenbosch University

This serves as official confirmation that my employment at Stellenbosch University and position as chairman of the Department of Forest and Wood Science (DFWS) has been extended until the end of 2018. My role in the University therefore remains unchanged.  I will continue to be responsible for forest operations research and teaching, the supervision of postgraduate students and leadership of DFWS.

I would like to acknowledge the Dean of AgriSciences, Prof Danie Brink, for his support and initiative in facilitating my continued service to Stellenbosch University and DFWS and to the broader forestry industry.  In the context of a great deal of change, adjustment and even uncertainty in the forestry research and professional training environment, this decision will provide continuity within DFWS, build on current strengths and position DFWS to become even stronger in the future.

As you are aware, with regards forest operations, significant amount of research is still required in the field of supply chain management where decision-making should be focussed on maximising value/benefit of the resource by optimising wood yield, wood quality and production costs from a knowledge based approach.  Productivity development and benchmarking and data driven solutions within South Africa and in collaboration with international partners remains high on the agenda.

In addition I would like to mention that, by all indications, our 2018 intake of first year students will exceed expectations.  With the increase in the level of mathematics requirements for first year registrations as from 2016, we are already experiencing a positive impact of better students, lowered attrition rates and hence the potential of a greatly improved final year throughput.  High caliber students, increased student numbers and a healthy through-put rate bodes well for attracting high quality students into our postgraduate programme. I must, once again, thank the forest industry at large for supporting both in kind and financially our research activities.