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Willie Louw and Tiaan Pool, both lecturers in Forestry at NMMU’s George Campus at Saasveld, recently attended two forestry symposiums in Australia.

The symposiums, 'Precision Forestry in Advance' and ‘Austimber 2012 Forestworks’ which had a practical precision forestry theme ('Precision Forestry in Action'), covered the various aspects and techniques of the industry.

Making good use of the international trip, they also visited three forestry training institutions in Australia and New Zealand; as well as a trip to Tasmania – an important cog in the Australian forest industry.

To foster the relationships between professional colleagues, Louw and Pool visited the Creswick School of Forestry – a satellite campus of the University of Melbourne, the Timber Training Creswick Centre – a private training institution; as well as the Waiariki Polytechnic in New Zealand.

According to Pool, “Australia does not have a formal tertiary technical diploma qualification focusing on applied forestry science or wood technology that is comparable to the National Diploma programmes at NMMU George; this is one of the reasons why they so frequently and readily recruit foresters from NMMU/SA forestry industry.”

Both Pool and Louw were impressed with the setup at New Zealand’s Waiariki Polytechnic.

Pool explained, “The Polytechnic receives excellent support from both the New Zealand Government and private industry.”

Waiariki has recently upgraded their facilities by building a well-designed modern forestry centre with class rooms and offices; as well as a new modern wood technology training centre with state of the art equipment and machinery.

“They have their own saw mill, kilns, saw doctor rooms with equipment, planers, CNC machines; as well as a modern separate office block,” said Pool.

The two rounded off their trip by visiting Tasmania where approximately 33% (1.5 million ha) of natural forests are managed for commercial use.

The natural forest is a huge tourist attraction and eco-tourism receives priority attention with the authorities managing the area.

According to Pool, “The Tahune ‘AirWalk’ is one of the special attractions in the Hobart area and leads visitors into the crowns of gigantic trees towering higher than 80m above the ground.”


Mini-reunion… Willie Louw and Tiaan Pool surrounded by former Forestry students from Saasveld now working in Tasmania, (from left) Gary Button, Jacky Kirkwood, Murray Kirkwood, Louw, Pool and Wayne Shaw-Johnston.

Tahune AirWalk

Special attraction… the Tahune ‘AirWalk’ is a spectacular treetops walkway providing a birds-eye view of riverside rainforest and surrounding Tasmanian mountain ranges.