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    IFSA reports on the FOREST EUROPE webinar “Shaping tomorrow’s workforce: Novel Green Forest Jobs”

    On December 12th, 2023, Forest Europe organized a webinar on the topic “Shaping tomorrow’s workforce: Novel Green Forest Jobs and the transition from tradition,” where the full female panel discussed today’s state of green jobs in the forest sector. 5 speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their successful career stories, how they began working with forests in one way or another.

    The webinar started with the introduction of the Novel Green Forest Jobs topic, by Ilaria Doimo from ETIFOR. 

    She presented a survey carried out by Forest Europe, which focused on identifying the opportunities and challenges in Green Forest Jobs through feedback from different organizations and understanding the future development of Novel Green Forest Jobs. One of the key messages was that the number of jobs in traditional forestry has been decreasing over the past decade while new forestry (novel) jobs are emerging. This trend could be attributed to the development of bioeconomy, mechanization, digitalization, consulting, education, and cultural changes. 

    The survey highlighted interesting trends and will be further developed to provide accurate information on the Novel Green Forest Jobs. It will be published in the spring of 2024 by Forest Europe.

    The next speaker was Ewa Hermanowicz, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Communications Manager for Europe.

    With a background in languages and international relations, she developed her own career, starting at FAO and then working for Bioversity International, followed by making movies on gender equality in India and working with National Geographic to showcase the magnificence of  Icelandic forests. Currently, she is preparing a movie on the wood chain from Congo, describing the challenges of the increasing wood demand and the need to combat deforestation.

    Sharing her inspiring career, she highlighted that any kind of talent one has can be used in forestry; one only needs to know what they like, pursue it, and it will work out great!

    The next panelist, Silvia Melegari, developed her career path in another branch of the forestry sector, specifically in the wood industry.

    Having a background in law, she “accidentally” found herself in the wood industry. One of the decisive factors was her relocation to Brussels, where the main policy negotiations were happening. During her career, she worked with a Wood-based Panel Foundation, and now she is working with the EU organization of Sawmill and Wood Processing Industry and CEI-Bois. The main goal is to advocate for the family business in the EU parliament, work with other lobbying organizations, evaluate the changes that new legislation will bring to the industry, and advise their members accordingly. This is quite a challenging but exciting job, as the parliament is frequently changing, and they have to make sure that new politicians have the importance of the forest industry in mind.

    Silvia provided a great example that forest jobs also require an understanding of human relations, and they support businesses in the wood industry.

    The next speaker was Lioba Rath, who holds the position at State Forest Enterprise in Switzerland. She shared her experience of working in that part of the forestry sector, which is often called the “most conservative” one, and showed that even there, you can find innovative jobs as the sector is transforming. Same as the previous speakers, she ended up in the forestry sector accidentally, but this time in the digital support for the Enterprise. This includes her in all stages of work, starting from small tasks such as training on how to use measurement tools to high-level strategies such as planning the transportation of wood. 

    She has been working just for one year but finds a lot of joy in the work she does. Lioba concluded her presentation with the call that there is a place for everyone, and the field needs it!

    The last speaker was the current IFSA President – Isabelle Claire. She shared her path of education and development as a successful story of how the IFSA experience contributes well to the formal education received at the university. A striking example is her recently received position in CIFOR, where her forestry background and soft skills developed in IFSA are extremely useful. 

    In addition to this, Isabelle used the opportunity to share youth perspectives on the current state of the forestry sector. It is visible that the sector is aging, and youth are less involved because of the low profitability and lack of training; thus, capacity building is needed. Some of the IFSA’s major projects in that area include the “TreE-Learning” platform and “Gender Open Letter.” 

    Isabelle ended her presentation by pointing out that we need to invest in youth and women for the stability of forests and society!

    For those who missed the webinar, you can watch the recording on the FOREST EUROPE YouTube channel here.

    If you are interested in learning more about the forestry sector, Forest Europe is organizing another webinar on the 14th of March on the topic: “The roots of innovation – setting the course for innovation and sustainable growth in the forest sector.” For more information and registration please follow the link here.