International Forestry Students' Association

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International Forestry Students' Association
Abbreviation IFSA
Formation 1973
Type Non-profit
Legal status Foundation
Headquarters Freiburg im Brisgau, Germany
Jesse Mahoney (Australia)
Isabel Engel (Germany)
Alexander Pinkwart (Germany)
Alexandre Veilleux (Canada)
Key people
Council: Jan Joseph Dida (Philippines),
Amanda Löfdahl (Sweden),
Sarah Sansa (Ghana)

International Forestry Students’ Association or IFSA is a non-political, not for profit organisation of tertiary-level forestry students around the world. Approximately 10,000 forestry and related forest science students are either directly or indirectly represented, with about 75 Local Committees in over 40 countries.[1]

IFSA promotes global cooperation among students of forest sciences in order to broaden knowledge and understanding to achieve a sustainable future for forests, and provides a voice for youth in international forest policy processes. For this, IFSA provides a platform for students of forest sciences to enrich their formal education, promote cultural understanding by encouraging collaboration with international partner organisations and to gain practical experiences with a wider and more global perspective. Through its social network, IFSA encourages student meetings, enables participation in scientific debates, and supports the involvement of youth in decision making processes and international forest and environmental policy.

IFSA is officially registered as a charity organisation, with its seat in Freiburg, Germany.


Youth representative during international decision making processes regarding environmental and forest policy[edit]

As a Youth Non-Governmental Organization (YNGO), IFSA has the status of youth representative for the following events:

The organisation promotes the involvement of professional foresters in decision making. In the organisation's opinion, forest scientists are, as a matter of principle, better qualified to evaluate questions of sustainable forest management than specialists from other sciences.[4] For that reason, forestry students are offered the opportunity to understand and actively take part in these international forest policy processes.


IFSA has various working groups (commissions) which allow students the chance to develop new skills, contribute to the running of the organisation and work to achieve the aims of IFSA.[5]

The International Processes Commission (IPC) coordinates and prepares the participation of IFSA in the policy processes outlined above. It is also a forum to discuss differing points of view on forest policy. The Exchange Program Commission (EP) facilitates student work placements and exchanges between forestry companies, NGOs, research institutions and universities around the world. The Publication and Communication Commission (P&C) develops other promotional material for the association such as posters and brochures, and is in charge of the maintenance and development of the IFSA website and the online forum. The IFSA News Commission is in charge of the publication of the IFSA News, IFSA's official newsletter. The Fundraising Commission is responsible for raising money for running the association and its activities, as well as providing fundraising packages and advice for members to travel to IFSA events.

International Forestry Students’ Meetings[edit]

The International Forestry Students’ Association forms a wide network of forestry students throughout the world, on which the Association bases its main activities — meetings of students at the regional and international levels.[6] These meetings allow better communication between members and facilitate cultural exchange and the making of new friendships.

Hosted by a different country each year, the International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) is the venue for the IFSA General Assembly, during which work from the previous year is reported, decisions are made regarding IFSA activities and new officials for the next year are elected and appointed.[7] During the IFSS, numerous activities are planned to showcase the host country's culture and natural environment, in particular the forests. Lectures from guest speakers and field trips attempt to make the IFSS educational as well as fun.

IFSA also holds very important regional meetings gathering students from the different regions where it is active. These meetings are the opportunity to discuss the problems in a geographical area.

The interim meeting is attended by IFSA Officials and is held midway through the IFSA year. It allows officials to discuss their progress and whether they are meeting their aims set at the IFSS, discuss any problematic situations and work together to learn from each other and improve the work being carried out. IFSA 7 is attended by the Direction and Council, the main aim of preparing for the General Assembly at the IFSS.

Partnerships with professional organizations[edit]

IFSA has very strong partnerships with the International Union of Forest Research organizations (IUFRO) and the European Forest Institute (EFI), which permit student to join international scientific congresses, to have the opportunity to present their work during them and to meet some specialist in the different fields of forestry. Between 2005 and 2006, EFI and IFSA cooperated in the framework of the FOPER programme (Forest Policy and Economics Education and Research)[8][9]

IFSA has also recent partnership with the Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA) which always offers new opportunities. Finally, IFSA is member of the International Partnership for Forestry Education (IPFE) and helps actively to improve the forestry education around the world. Such partnerships are very important in the preparation of students for their professional life.


The main team responsible for running IFSA is known as the IFSA 7.[10] This consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, and a three-person Council. Below these positions are the Heads and Sub-Heads of the Commissions and Regional Representatives. Members fall within one of seven regions, defined by geographical area. These regions are Asia-Pacific, Northern America, Latin America, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Northern Africa and Southern Africa.[11]


The first annual meeting of forestry students, the International Forestry Students Symposium was held in London in 1973. The aim was to provide forestry students the opportunity to meet their counterparts from other countries, discuss ideas and views and create an atmosphere of solidarity and inspiration.

The first accomplishment of these meetings was the creation of INFOCENTER; an office established to co-ordinate the exchange of information among forestry students. During the 18th IFSS in Lisbon, Portugal in 1988,[12] the participants decided to expand the co-operation between forestry students beyond the annual symposium. At the constitutional assembly of IFSA, the founding member associations approved provisional statutes and elected the first representative organs. INFOCENTER was relocated and took on the official role as IFSA's communicative and informational organ. The following year, the 19th IFSS was organised in the Netherlands. This symposium turned out to be a great success with 112 participants from 38 countries; it was the first time that students from all continents were represented. The following symposium was organised in Italy (1992). Here the third General Assembly (GA) designated a central organ, the Secretariat, to be responsible for the association's bureaucratic tasks, internal communications and all INFOCENTER duties. The Secretariat, thus, fully assumed its role as IFSA headquarters.

IFSA became a truly worldwide organisation when the new statutes were finally approved in 1994 at the fifth GA during the 22nd IFSS in Switzerland. The association was officially registered as a charity organisation with its seat in Göttingen, Germany. Five years later, with the adoption of the revised Statutes, Decrees and By-laws, the general assembly moved the seat to Freiburg, Germany.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amtsgericht Freiburg im Breisgau. Registriergericht. Vereinsregisternummer (VR) 3432. Statutes Section A Article 1
  2. ^ United Nations Forum on Forests Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Summary. Quebec City, Quebec. Canada. 24 September 2003. On
  3. ^ Forest Europe. The MCPFE Newsletter of the Liaison Unit Warsaw. Issue 10,11 July/October 2005
  4. ^ MCPFE-5 Conference Proceedings
  5. ^ Amtsgericht Freiburg im Breisgau. Registriergericht. Vereinsregisternummer (VR) 3432. Statutes Section C Article 15
  6. ^ ECOSOC: discussion paper for UNFF-5
  7. ^ Amtsgericht Freiburg im Breisgau. Registriergericht. Vereinsregisternummer (VR) 3432. By-Laws Chapter 6
  8. ^ FOPER programme on
  9. ^ “Strengthening capacities of education and training for forest policy and economics development”. Interim report on the FOPER implementation by IFSA
  10. ^ The organisation's regional structure on
  11. ^ Amtsgericht Freiburg im Breisgau. Registriergericht. Vereinsregisternummer (VR) 3432. By-Laws Chapter 2
  12. ^ FAO forestry department
  13. ^ History on

External links[edit]