New Frontiers in Forecasting Forests 2018

Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS)

September 25, 2018 – September 28, 2018

With support from IUFRO Division 4 (Forest Assessment, Modelling and Management), particularly 4.01.00, 4.02.07, 4.03.00 & 4.04.02 and Division 5, particularly Working Group 5.01.04 (Wood Quality Modelling), the Department of Forest and Wood Science at the University of Stellenbosch is proud to host an international conference on future-focussed forest and wood properties modelling: New Frontiers in Forecasting Forests 2018.

About the meeting:

The ability to accurately predict future forest growth and structure, and the yields and quality of diverse products from these forests, is an essential part of forest management.  With changes in global climate patterns, rapid genetic gains in commercial forest sectors around the world and the serious risks posed internationally by pests and diseases, forecasting how forests will develop is increasingly challenging.  New innovations in statistical modelling techniques, as well as significant advances in process-based modelling approaches are leading, however, to major improvements in modelling success.  In the context of challenges facing forestry professionals around the world, this conference will provide an opportunity to bring together scientists, modelers and managers in a focused forum to present and discuss advances in models predicting future attributes of forests.  The conference will be organised as plenary sessions to bring stakeholders together around four key themes that pertain to the broader topic.  To give each session strong context and provide delegates with a clear view of the current trends and scientific cutting edge, five 40 minute presentations will be delivered by our invited keynote speakers.  After finalisation of all submissions, the four themes have been identified for the meeting as:

  • Understanding and evaluating uncertainties in models predicting future growth, yield and wood properties
  • The nexus between models of tree growth, wood formation and product properties
  • Model application, integration and accessibility for forest management, planning and product development
  • The cutting edge in forest measurements and models

The conference has in scope a range of research into and applications of forecasting models (i.e. models predicting future attributes, including yield, structural aspects or wood properties) in forests, with a focus on work being done in managed forests, including plantations. Research taking empirical, process-based or mixed approaches to modelling at any scale is acceptable, and research looking into methods of deriving data to support and develop models is also in scope.

The three main objectives of the meeting are to

  • benchmark the state-of-the-art,
  • identify emerging frontiers and
  • explore new innovations and technologies

in models predicting future forest growth, yield and wood properties.

An important aspect of the meeting will be to explore and discuss how new frontiers in forest modelling research can be implemented to empower decision makers and deliver impact, particularly in the context of changing international climate and market conditions.

Registering for the meeting:

Even if you're not planning to present a paper at the meeting, don't forget to register.  The registration fee will include

  • Access to all presentations and discussions at the meeting
  • Regular refreshments and an excellent lunch on full conference days
  • Attendance at the conference banquet (incl. limited beverages)
  • Cocktails and refreshments at poster session/s
  • Conference bag and materials

Delegates can also sign up for an optional welcoming function, including cocktails and snacks, and at which early registration will be available.  This is scheduled for the evening of Monday 24th September.


The conference will be held at the acclaimed Wallenberg Centre at the Stellenbosch Insitute for Advanced study (STIAS) in the beautiful university town of Stellenbosch.  Find out more about the venue and accomodation and travel options here.



General info: 26th Sept


It has been a very interesting first day at NFFF!  Thank you to everyone for your contribution to the success of the day.  For tomorrow please note/remember:

  1. The photo will take place at 12:15 just outside STIAS below the veranda.  Please gather there promptly BEFORE lunch.
  2. Please get your talks to Justin, or Claudio, or on the Google Drive well in advance of your slot.
  3. For those who need to sort out financial things with Poppie Gordon, she will be available at teh registration desk at 8 am, or otherwise at morning tea time.
  4. The conference dinner will be on Wednesday (tomorrow) starting at 18:30 at Lanzerac  Some delegates did not register for it, and I'm afraid there are no free seats.  If you're not sure if you're registered for the dinner, see the list at the main desk.
Posted: 2018-09-25
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