First Commonwealth Forestry Conference, 1920

The Commonwealth Forestry Conference is hosted by different Commonwealth countries at approximately four-yearly intervals. It has been the custom to issue a Declaration or Recommendations at the end of each Conference, addressed to Commonwealth governments, especially to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The Standing Committee on Commonwealth Forestry (SCCF) was established on the occasion of the Conference in 1923, to provide continuity between one Conference and the next and take follow-up action on Commonwealth Conference recommendations. Each Commonwealth country is represented on the Committee, which is chaired currently by the President of the Commonwealth Forestry Association.

The first CFC took place in the UK in 1920. Discussions in the early Conferences were related to general aspects of forest management but themes have been introduced since 1968 to broaden discussions and focus them on the changing priorities of the forestry sector. At the same time, the programme has evolved with the emphasis in recent years less on plenary sessions and more on discussions in small groups.

1920July 7 – 22Great Britain (London)1st Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1923July 25 – September 7Canada (trans-Canada)2nd Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1928August 21 – October 22Australia and New Zealand3rd Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1935September 2South Africa4th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1947June 16 – July 19United Kingdom5th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1952August 11 – September 13Canada6th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1957Aug 26 – Oct 10Australia and New Zealand7th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1962June 25 – Jul 20East Africa (Kenya, Tanganyika/now Tanzania, Uganda)8th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
1968January 3 – 27India (New Delhi)9th: Changing objectives of forest management
1974September 4 – 27United Kingdom10th: The forest and global environment
1980September 8 – 26Trinidad & Tobago11th: Forestry’s contribution to social and economic development
1985September 8 – 22Canada (Victoria, British Columbia)12th: Investment in forestry – the needs and opportunities
1989New Zealand (Rotorua)13th: Forestry – a multiple-use enterprise
1993Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)14th: People, the environment and forestry – conflict or harmony
1997May 12 – 17Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls)15th: Forestry in a changing political environment: challenges for the 21st century
2001Australia (Fremantle)16th: Forests in a changing landscape
2005February 28 – March 5Sri Lanka (Colombo)17th: Forestry’s contribution to poverty reduction
2010June 28 – July 2UK (Edinburgh)18th: Restoring the Commonwealth’s forests: tackling climate change
2017April 2 – 7India (Dehradun)19th: Forests for prosperity & posterity
2021August 15 – 18Canada (Vancouver)20th Commonwealth Forestry Conference

What Commonwealth Forestry Owes to the Conferences

  • Independent organizations that have been established as a result of the contacts made: Commonwealth Forestry Institute at Oxford, Commonwealth Forestry Bureau, Commonwealth Forestry Association.
  • The resolutions passed, at successive conferences.
  • A tremendous pool of literature (progress statements, conference proceedings, tour notes, professional papers) that are made freely available to the forestry profession at large, in all countries.
  • As government-sponsored events, the Conferences have helped forestry services in every Commonwealth country, to put their particular problems forcibly before the central administrations.