Forestry & Wood Science
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Dept of Forestry and Wood Science welcomes Dr Spong of Forestry and Wood Science welcomes Dr Spong Dr Ben Spong<p>Dr. Ben Spong, a Forest Engineering/Forest Operations Faculty member from West Virginia University in the United States has arrived for an extended research visit to Stellenbosch University’s Department of Forest and Wood Science.  </p><p>During his sabbatical from the USA, he would like to collaborate with faculty, students, and industrial partners working in the area of forest operations – specifically on logging capacity and productivity topics.  While he has a good introduction to Southern African forests from previous short visits, he is excited to have the opportunity to better understand details of the systems, industry culture, and broader social and economic context of South Africa's forest industry. </p><p>Dr. Spong has worked in and with the logging industry since 1993 in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in west and eastern Africa, and in the Mid-Atlantic United States.  Through his current work as the Forest Operations Extension Specialist with the Appalachian Hardwood Center at West Virginia University, he has supplied trainings and outreach education programs to loggers, foresters, and many other players in the Eastern United States timber industry.</p><p>Dr. Spong's specific programming and research has focused on forest roads, logging best management practices, harvesting systems, logging safety, and logging business management.   Dr. Spong participates on many regional committees engaged in improving logging activities, including the West Virginia Forestry Association's Safety Committee, the Mountain Loggers' Safety Initiative, the WV Division of Forestry's Best Management Practices Committee, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative State Implementation Committee.  </p><p>His work with these and other networking provides access to small logging contractors, large industrial forestry companies, and state and regional agencies and organizations to help develop and deliver educational and development programming to benefit the wide range of players in the forest products industry.  Since joining West Virginia University, Dr. Spong has helped secured close to $1.2 million in external funds to support his research and outreach programs.  </p>
Wood Choppers Ball 2017 Choppers Ball 2017Leeshan Mahadeo<p>​It was a magical night with roughly 75 attendees, including undergraduates, postgraduates and lecturers. This year we celebrated our guests of honor, Pierre Ackerman and Tim Rypstra's 20+ year attendance. The caterers made sure that every possible dietary requirement was catered for, since this year we have had the most diverse group of different cultures and backgrounds up to date, even some international students from Belgium! Towards the end of the evening, the new SFSA committee was announced, making history as we are proud to announce our first female Chairman of color, Ashlee Prins. We all sokkie'd and danced together to kwaito music, celebrating another successful year slowly coming to an end. We'd like to thank our generous sponsors, in no particular order, Rammies Fresh Produce, Soobhugs Coaches and SAWPA (South African Wood Preservation Association). Without you, this night would not have been possible. <br></p>
QS Rankings: SU agriculture and forestry experts the most influential in SA Rankings: SU agriculture and forestry experts the most influential in SAEngela Duvenhage<p>​​<span style="line-height:1.6;">​​Where studies and research in agriculture and forestry are concerned, Stellenbosch University (SU) ranks as the most sought after and influential institution in South Africa. It is also ranked among the top 100 institutions worldwide in these fields, according to the </span><em style="line-height:1.6;">QS World University Rankings by Subject</em><span style="line-height:1.6;"> for 2015.</span></p><p>SU is considered one of the world's elite institutions in 10 of the 36 subjects featured on the list. This authoritative annual ranking serves as a useful guide for prospective international students. It indicates which universities are the most sought after and influential in specific fields of study. Institutions are measured based on their academic reputation, how highly regarded they are by employers, and their research impact.</p><p>According to Prof Danie Brink, acting dean for the Faculty of AgriSciences at Stellenbosch University, the results indicate the quality and applicability of the research undertaken in the faculty.</p><p>He thanked staff, co-workers, industry partners and postgraduate students for their contributions towards making Stellenbosch University a leader in agricultural research.</p><p>"We want to be increasingly involved in agricultural endeavours both in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Through our research and training we wish to contribute to the development of applicable technology, human resources and policy, in order to unlock the available potential in a sustainable manner for the benefit of society," explains Prof Brink.</p><p>Most studies and research in agriculture at SU are conducted within the eleven departments of the Faculty of AgriSciences. These include the Departments of Agronomy, Forest and Wood Science, Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Genetics, Soil Science, Horticultural Sciences, Agricultural Economics, Plant Pathology, Animal Sciences, Food Science, and Viticulture and Oenology. The faculty is furthermore also home to the Institute for Wine Biotechnology and the Institute for Plant Biotechnology, as well as four SARChl Chairs – in meat science, wine biotechnology, plant biotechnology and postharvest technology.</p><p>The Department of Forest and Wood Science in the Faculty of AgriSciences is the only tertiary institution in South Africa to offer both graduate and postgraduate courses in wood product sciences, forestry and natural resource management. It attracts many postgraduate students from other African countries.</p><p>According to Dr Pierre Ackermann, chairperson of Forest and Wood Sciences, the Department's success is due to the fact that activities are focused on the full value chain within forest and wood sciences, and not merely parts thereof.</p><p>"The Department is also in the unique position to effectively service forestry and processing industries locally and in the rest of Africa. This is done through capacity development programmes and research conducted by a small but talented team of lecturers and researchers," he says. "Our continued cooperation with European and North American institutions further underlines the Department's credibility."</p><p>Seven South African institutions (UCT, Wits, UP, UKZN, Rhodes, SU and UJ) took part in the latest QS ranking. The SU consistently appears in the top five positions nationally. It scored top honours in Agriculture and Forestry; second in Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Mathematics, third in Medicine, Environmental Sciences, Development Studies and Geography and fourth in English Language & Literature as well as Law.</p><p>On an overall international level, SU is ranked in the following positions, performing best in Development Studies at #46; followed by Agriculture & Forestry - #51-100; English Language & Literature - #151-200; Geography - #151-200; Law - #151-200; Biological Sciences - #251-300; Medicine - #251-300; Environmental Sciences - #251-300; Chemistry - #301-350; and Mathematics - #301-350.</p><p>"Rankings can be problematic in certain respects, but they are the global academic currency of our time. The achievement is however a clear indication that Stellenbosch University is indeed a world-class institution that can compete with the best in the international arena. I would go as far as saying that the SU brand is still undervalued. The achievement is also an endorsement of the academic and research excellence of an institution that has distinguished itself as an active and relevant role player in a global context," SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers said.</p><p><strong>Extra information:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="/english/Documents/Stellenbosch%20University_QS.pdf?Web=1"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Click here</strong></span></a><strong> </strong><strong>for an overview of SU's scores.</strong></li><li><strong>For more information on the QS World University Rankings visit:</strong><strong> </strong><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></span></a><br><br><strong>Media enquiries:</strong><br><br>Prof Danie Brink<br><br>Acting dean: Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University<br><br><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></a> or <a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></a><br><br>+27 21 808 4792</li></ul>
Calorosas boas-vindas a José! boas-vindas a José!Albe van Niekerk<p style="text-align:justify;">José HT Rocha (MSc), a Forest Engineer at the Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering  (FAEF) and a PhD student at São Paulo University - Brazil under the supervision of Professor José L. M. Gonçalves is currently a guest at Stellenbosch University's Department of Forest and Wood Science for a research visit. He will work as an affiliate student researcher under the supervision of Dr. Ben du Toit until February 2017.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Since his MSc study, José has been working with forest residue management, forest nutrition and sustainability of wood production in Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil. His MSc work focused on long term effect of management practices after clear-cutting of eucalyptus plantation in short cycles. In his PhD work, he is investigating the effect of slash use (such as wood chips) and fertilizer application on sustainability of <em>Eucalyptus</em> in short rotation. His main focus in this study is the effect on soil properties and nutrient cycling.  José is a lecturer in Forest Soils at Faculty of FAEF, Brazil.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During his time at SU's Forest and Wood Science department, José will work on the development of sustainable tools for fuel load management to reduce the fire hazard in the forest. He will be focusing on the research project entitled "The effect of repeated use of prescribed burning under pines", coordinated by Dr. Ben du Toit. Besides, José will also work on the effect of fertilizer application and controlled release fertilizer application on the productivity of Eucalyptus plantations in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. </p>
Kick-off meeting for the Biohome Project meeting for the Biohome ProjectAlbe van Niekerk<p>​Front row: Yenealem Wubishet, Martina Meincken, Tenele Dlamini, Andreas Krause<br></p><p>Back row: James Acheampong, Goran Schmidt, Tefera Endalamaw, Amsalu Mossissa, Bright Asante, Marco de Angelis</p><p>The project aims to produce building materials for affordable housing. </p><p>The target materials are wood plastic composites and wood-cement composites, utilising only waste materials (recycled plastic, fly ash from coal power plants) and wood from invasive trees.</p><p>These materials can be used for insulation, flooring, cupboards, as well as structural components.</p>
Forest and Wood Science student scoops second prize in Brazil and Wood Science student scoops second prize in BrazilCarin Bruce<p>​​​​Stephen Amiandamhen, a PhD student in the<br>Forest and Wood Science Department, was awarded<br>the second prize of 250 US dollars for oral and poster<br>presentations at the 59th Society of Wood Science and<br>Technology (SWST) Convention held in Curitiba, Brazil,<br>recently. Stephen also bagged a plaque in the student<br>poster session.<br>His study focuses on the use of phosphate based<br>binders, which have a lower carbon footprint compared<br>to cement based products. He used these binders to<br>produce wood composites from alien invasive tree species<br>and showed that it is possible to produce products of<br>acceptable quality even without bark removal, which is a<br>requirement for a majority of such products.<br>Stephen’s trip to Brazil was made possible with support<br>from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and an 800<br>US dollar sponsorship from the conference organisers.</p>
Gathering of Commonwealth foresters at Stellenbosch of Commonwealth foresters at StellenboschCori Ham<p>​Royal Forestry Society Education Manager, Ted Wilson, visited the Department of Forestry and Wood Science, at Stellenbosch, on 4 August 2016, during his summer vacation in South Africa. The primary purpose of the visit was to discuss forestry education in the UK and South Africa, and identify potential areas for future collaboration. As in the UK, forestry students at Stellenbosch are strongly encouraged to gain practical experience to support their formal academic studies and training. Several students in recent years have had successful placements and internships outside South Africa, and it is hoped that RFS can help promote opportunities with the UK and Europe as part of our Future Foresters programme. The visit established a basis for more strategic work in forestry education, and possible collaboration in the future. </p><p><strong>In the photo from left to right: Cori Ham and Pierre Ackerman from the Department of Forestry and Wood Science, Ted Wilson (RFS Education Manager) and Reino Pulkki (Lakehead University, Canada). </strong></p>