Twenty-six registered participants coming from various private and government institutions and companies across Bogor attended BIOTROP’s second quarterly public seminar for 2017 on 17 April 2017 at the Centre’s headquarter. Prof Dr Ralph Mitlohner, forestry professor from University of Gottingen, was given an honor to deliver his lecture with the topic “Possibilities and Limits of Sustainable Forestry in the Tropics and Subtropics”. This event was coordinated by Dr Dewi Wulandari, BIOTROP Program Thrust Coordinator for Tropical Biology for Environmental Integrity.
In his session, Prof Mitlohner told the audiences about the historical and recent development of forest and landscape restoration on its different views and on would-be ways to implement restoration within the tropics and subtropics. He said that human impacts on forest and landscape have long traditions. In Central Europe, over-exploitation for centuries led to the depletion of the (former) sole energy source and the forests. Forest degradation in Germany becomes a critical issue because timber is mainly used as a building material for traditional houses and as a fuelwood. The high economical value of several kinds of woods or plants such as beech and teak makes people open a new land over the forest for plantation. Regarding to these matters, forestry planning and wise management of natural forests as well as planted forests were the solutions and since then sustainability became the maxim of forestry. The sustainable use of natural forest resources for suitable means should consider the welfare of the next generation of living organism. Prior to 1914, many Germany forestry scientists had conducted various researches related to forest management outside their homeland, including in Java, Indonesia, and the books containing the results still exist. These literatures can be used as a guideline and reference in managing the nowadays forests.
Prof Mitlohner also explained the first two important matters that should be considered when planning a forest management project in a specific area, i.e. the limiting factors of the project area and how to reduce the negative impact of those factors. The limiting factors can be different from one area to another because it depends on the environmental condition. He also said that the triangle of dependencies (climate, soil and vegetation) are the most significant factors for forest vegetation.
At the end of the seminar, Prof Mitlohner summarized that the balance between nature and economy is a must and people cannot avoid and sacrifice one of those.
Prof Dr Ralph Mitlohner is a professor and researcher at the Department of Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-University Gottingen, Germany. His research interests include restoration of degraded drylands, ecology and management of tropical dry forests, planting techniques and plantation management, plant water relations as well as tree physiology. He was also a leader of ecophysiological, silvicultural and resource management projects in Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar and Vietnam from 1998 to 2004.