One way to strengthen international collaboration is to join global organizations. Another way? Lead them.

Woodam Chung, the Stewart professor of forest operations at the College of Forestry, was recently elected as the vice president for divisions of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). IUFRO is the most prestigious international forestry organization in the world, and since 2014, Chung has been the chair of IUFRO Division 3 Forest Operations Engineering and Management. He will begin his five-year term as vice president in June 2024 at the 26th World Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden.

“I am honored to do the work of guiding IUFRO’s nine divisions, and I firmly believe international collaboration and relationship-building are keys to success in our shared future,” said Chung. “Navigating the complexities of our world and finding innovative solutions to global challenges requires our collective effort.”

Established in 1892, IUFRO unites about 630 member organizations in more than 115 countries representing over 15,000 scientists. Structured by nine scientific divisions that encompass over 50 research groups, it also has 180 working parties based on research disciplines. IUFRO’s goal is to advance research excellence and knowledge-sharing and promote the development of science-based solutions to forest related challenges to benefit forests and people worldwide. The College of Forestry is a proud member.

IUFRO Management Committee members (including Woodam Chung, second from left) and leadership from University of Energy and Natural Resource in Ghana, September 2023.

Besides meeting every five years at Congress, the IUFRO management committee, an executive branch of the IUFRO board, meets twice a year, selecting a location or region where they can help establish or boost the IUFRO network. In the spring of 2023, the management committee met in Dehradun, India, and in the fall of 2023, they met in Accra, Ghana. While in Ghana, IUFRO members visited the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, the Forest Research Institute of Ghana in Kumasi, the Resource Management Support Center in Kumasi, and the Forestry Commission in Accra—all IUFRO member organizations. As a result of this work, the 27th IUFRO World Congress will be held in Africa for the
first time in 2029, in Nairobi, Kenya.

“It’s vitally important to meet local forest scientists, build a research and collaboration network, and encourage local scientists to participate in IUFRO activities,” said Chung. “Our international exchanges of knowledge, experiences and even mistakes improve our understanding and foster innovation.”

In fact, Chung says, new ideas often emerge from intersections of diverse industries, disciplines and cultures. And he knows this firsthand. Originally from South Korea, Chung has made a conscious decision to live and work far from his home country, learning, teaching and collaborating with a diverse group of international scholars, students and colleagues in the United States. He previously worked at the University of Montana and received his Ph.D. from Oregon State.

“Living and working in a global context has been my conscious choice,” Chung said. “In the past, I have had chances to find positions in Korea, but I chose to stay here because I believed it would offer more opportunities for global engagement despite the challenges of language and cultural barriers.”

Chung says global challenges such as climate change, deforestation, wildfires, illegal logging and the aging and diminishing workforce in the forest sector are issues not limited to local boundaries. As Chung looks to his new role leading IUFRO, he encourages others to build networks capable of collectively addressing challenges by combining their resources, expertise and experiences. And to those who’ve made the decision to come to Oregon State far from their home countries, Chung applauds their courage and enthusiasm for embracing global collaborations and navigating the challenges that come with it.

The College of Forestry will be at the IUFRO World Congress in June 2024. Find us at our booth in the Expo Hall. For more information, contact

Three members of the College of Forestry community will receive awards at the World Congress this June:

John Sessions
OSU Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Home country: USA
Award: IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award

Pipiet Larasatie
Ph.D. Wood Science and Engineering, ‘21
Home country: Indonesia
Award: IUFRO Outstanding Doctoral Research Award

Kamana Poudel
Ph.D. Forest Engineering,Resources & Management, ‘24
Home country: Nepal
Award: IUFRO Student Award for Excellence in Forest Science

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>