Fulfilling its mission for the 24th consecutive year “24th International Forestry and Environment Symposium 2019” organized by the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura was successfully held on 11th and 12th of October at Jetwing Blue, Negombo. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura Snr.Prof. Sampath Amarathunge, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Prof. Laleen Karunanayake, several Heads of the Departments, Professors and academic members have taken part in this symposium. The symposium was chaired by Prof. S.M.C.U.P.Subasinghe, Head, Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Dr. Varuni Jayasooriya and Dr. Priyan Perera were the coordinators of the 24th International Forestry and Environment Symposium.
Distinguished as the oldest and most renowned Forestry and Environment Symposium in South Asia, this Symposium is the premier event where researchers, academia, professionals, policymakers and the industry meet to network, discuss and learn about the latest developments in forestry and environment sectors. The International Forestry and Environment Symposium which is organized by the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura has a history that goes back to 1995, where the first event was held under the theme of “Forestry for Development”, at Coral Gardens Hotel, Hikkaduwa. Since its inception, throughout the years, the symposium has gained wide recognition among academics and professionals in the forestry and environmental sectors, both Sri Lanka and overseas. Currently, the symposium is renowned as the oldest Forestry and Environment Symposium in South Asia, where the research, academia, professionals, the policy makers and the industry, annually publish, discuss and learn about the latest developments in forestry and environment sectors. Apart from providing a platform for the sharing of latest research outcomes related to the forestry and environment sector, the International Forestry and Environment Symposium supports in making a regional and national impact by sharing knowledge and ideas that cover a wide range of sub-disciplines related to forestry and environmental sciences fields.
This year’s Symposium has been organized under the umbrella theme of “Frontiers in Eco-Innovation and Sustainability”. Over 200 abstracts were received for this year’s symposium and through the comments of an expert panel of reviewers, drastic selection has been made despite their overall high quality and 137 oral presentations and 22 poster presentations were published in Proceedings of the International Forestry and Environment Symposium volume 24 (2019). A total number of 159 abstracts from both local and international researchers were published under 11 different sub-themes, i.e. Forest and natural resource management, biodiversity and ecological health, Climate change and disaster management, sustainable land use and urban development, Biomass and sustainable energy, waste management and pollution control,Wood science, wood and non-wood industry, Environmental economics in resource management, Geology, soil and water resource management, environmental engineering and green technology, and Corporate responsibility and sustainable tourism.
This year’s symposium gathered more than 250 experts, representing national Universities, private Universities, other local institutes, professional Organizations, Industry /private sectors, and foreign institutes. Guest of honor of the symposium Professor Sampath Amarathunge, Vice-Chancellor University of Sri Jayewardenepura delivered the opening remarks. Keynote speeches were delivered by prof. Mikel Duke, a Professor of Membrane Science from Victoria University Melbourne on applications of the Membrane technologies to develop novel treatment methods to address CKDu problem in Sri Lanka. Dr. Asha De Vos, Marine Biologist and Founder of Oceanswell has delivered her keynote speech on the present status of blue whale research in Sri Lanka. Industrial pioneers having environmentally friendly business initiatives also joined hands with the 24th International Forestry and Environment Symposium 2019.