Welcome To Forestry South Africa
Thursday, March 23, 2017

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Research : CSIR

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Environmental problems are complex, and addressing them requires integrated approaches using a broad skills base. Researchers at CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) aim to provide integrated solutions, drawing on their own basic research as well as those of others, building on historical strengths and experience while at the same time working across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

A key focus of Forestry and Forest Products research in NRE is to ensure an optimal contribution from forests and plantations to be able to contribute to economic growth and to the sustainable development of South Africa and the region. This is achieved through research that contributes to increased productivity and profitability of forestry and forest products operations to enhance investment, employment and contribution to economic growth, while ensuring that social and environmental issues are addressed.

Research focus

The Forestry and Forest Products teams focus their research on developing new germplasm; understanding the condition of the plantation resource base, and how it is changing; the consequences of change; and options for the management and utilisation of plantation resources for optimal benefit, as well as for avoiding harmful consequences.

The contribution of the Forestry Research teams is towards ensuring the economic growth of the FTPP sector; sustainable plantation management; increased benefit to small-scale growers; strengthening research alliances and partnerships with local Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and research institutes, as well as with international researchers and research institutes; and the development of competent researchers and depth in research capability in the NRE operating unit, and in the country through mentorship by local and international researchers.  

The tree improvement team of the CSIR develops quality genetic material of advanced generations of subtropical eucalypt and pine species, building on four decades of experience and taking the understanding of these species and hybrids to new levels. As part of a broader forestry competence area within the CSIR, the tree improvement group is involved with integrative projects across the whole forestry value chain.

Forestry and Forest Products (FFP) Research Centre - an initiative of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the CSIR - focuses on the afforestation and planning component of the value chain, aimed at creating an impact on the processing component.  Research is directed at understanding the fibre characteristics of timber, the properties of the raw material, how this knowledge can add value in processing operations, and how processing can be improved.

This research builds on existing worldclass capability, and the primary focus lies in the optimisation of plantation forest resources grown for the pulp and paper industry, aimed at maximising fibre quality, value and uniformity of wood fibre entering pulp and paper mills. The key value addition lies in supporting companies to better understand the quality of the fibre resources that they own, or buy, and to support them in extracting maximum value from that resource. Key competencies are in wood chemical and physical properties, wood anatomy, pulp and paper manufacture, remote sensing, geographic information services (GIS), and tree physiology.  In addition, the team conducts research into Increased Efficiency and Green Cleaner Production Technologies for the Future of the South African Pulp and Paper Industry through Integrated Forest Products Biorefinery.  Access to state-of-the-art equipment at the Centre ensures that relevant quality research is conducted.

Some current projects

  • Integrated Forest Products Biorefinery
  • Research for the pulp and paper industry - Deepening the understanding of all aspects of wood properties of the South African plantation resource, in particular that of eucalypt timber
  • Basic Research in cellulose chemistry - Investigating the relationship between cellulose structure, fibril aggregation and reactivity of dissolving pulp
  • Remote Sensing in Forestry - Evaluation of RS technology for improved plantation management (yield and quality)
  • Basic research in wood chemical component - Nanostructure of wood chemical components (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin) and its impact on pulp and paper processes
  • Tree Improvement and Genetic Resource Development - Tree Improvement and Genetic Resource Development
  • Hydrological impacts of forest plantations at the whole-catchment scale
  • Environmental footprint of Forestry and Forestry Processing operations
  • Effects of climate change on the South African (African) plantation resource, as well as on woodlands and forests

Website: http://www.csir.co.za/

Blog: http://www.climatechange.csir.co.za/



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