Conference to feature international experts on sustainable forests and economic development

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International Year of Forests logoIn conjunction with the United Nations celebrating 2011 as the International Year of Forests, Michigan State University (MSU) will host an international science and policy conference featuring speakers from around the world on issues such as climate change, biodiversity, sustainability, development and international policy. 

“Forests today are a significant element of many international environmental agreements, and forest investments often range in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” said David Skole, an MSU AgBioResearch scientist and professor in the Department of Forestry. Skole helped coordinate the conference and is a featured speaker. “This will be a great opportunity to discuss the importance of forests in the context of international economic development.”

The three-day event, Sustainable Forests and Economic Development: Domestic and Global Challenge, kicks off Oct. 23 at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing with a keynote address by Jan McAlpine, head of the United Nations (U.N.) Forum on Forests.

At the U.N., McAlpine focuses on all forest-related issues facing the 192 member nations of the U.N. She has previously served as senior adviser and lead for forests at the U.S. State Department, worked at the Environmental Protection Agency focusing on international policy issues, and worked on sustainable development and international trade for the White House.

Boen Purnama, a senior adviser at the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, will also speak during the event. Purnama received his doctoral degree at MSU in 1990. In addition, MSU graduate Albert Mwangi of the African Development Bank, will address the challenges and opportunities facing global forestry. Other sessions cover topics such as carbon credits, forests as a precious resource and changing land use.

To get more information or to register for the event, go to

Tickets for the kickoff event, hosted by the Greater Lansing United Nations Association, cost $30, which includes a buffet dinner. Sessions slated for Oct. 24-25 at the MSU Union Building, Parlor ABC, are free and open to the public. 

In addition to AgBioResearch, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and MSU International Studies and Programs are also sponsors of the conference.

Photo: International Year of Forests logo

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