Global Forest Sector Supports New Network for Young Professionals

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) is pleased to lend its support to the Global Network for Forestry Young Professionals (ForYP) – a new global community for young forest sector professionals to network, develop professional skills, and become empowered to engage and lead the future forestry. ForYP was launched at the World Forestry Congress in Seoul, South Korea in May and presents an opportunity for young forestry professionals to connect with their peers from around the world.

Bringing together the International Forestry Students Association (IFSA) and forestry networks and associations from around the globe, ForYP aims to increase the visibility of young professionals in the forest sector by providing an inclusive space to share ideas and showcase contributions through online networking, monthly peer-to-peer sessions, and providing access to meaningful connections and mentors in the sector.

“As the global forest sector builds its talent pipeline of the future and its leaders of tomorrow, we see incredible potential in working with young people around the world to build relationships and pursue life-long forestry careers,” said Derek Nighbor, President of ICFPA. “There is a growing concern for loss of experience with increasing retirement, and an age gap exists in many parts of the global forest sector. We’re excited about how this platform can further move the dial to forge new connections, support youth leadership, and advance green job opportunities globally,” Nighbor added.

Alfred Duval is an executive member of Future Foresters New Zealand, which played a key role in the launch of ForYP. He says this year’s World Forestry Congress was the first with a substantial youth focus and youth-led sessions.

“The Conference recognized forests are long-term solutions to an array of the world’s problems and therefore engagement of young professionals is essential in setting forest objectives because these will be the sectors future leaders,” highlighted Duval. “All young forest professionals at the conference agreed for the need to protect and enhance the natural environment while providing the most sustainable resource the world has to offer, even though we all experience forests differently, we are all on the same page,” he added.

While there are existing professional networks across the forest sector that provide useful services, ForYP aims to fill a niche by providing a sense of international community and career development opportunities for early-mid career professionals, helping this demographic grow their network and learn from one another.

“Youth bring energy, innovation and are change makers. Yet, youth feel excluded from the forest sector,” explained Chairperson and Founder of ForYP, Elaine Springgay, of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. “They would like more employment opportunities, mentorship and career development. At the same time, we need to ensure that we are not fostering generational division: the “young” versus the “old”. Each generation brings value to the forest sector. Young professionals are both the sector’s present and future. In order to build a green, healthy and resilient future with forests, the different generations need to recognize the strengths of the others and to work together to empower and support each other.”

By May 2023, ForYP aims to have at least 1000 international members with a diverse spread across all genders, ethnicities, geographies, and forest professions. Interested in ForYP? Register with the network on Facebook or LinkedIn, visit, or listen to Elaine Springgay discuss global forestry challenges and opportunities on a new episode of the Talking Forests podcast released today!

The ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 18 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations that encompass 28 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world.

ForYP is a network for and led by young professionals in the forest sector, including professionals up to 40 years of age and/or with less than 15 years of experience in the sector. It provides services that are tailored to the unique needs of young professionals including networking and career development opportunities for early to mid-level professionals in the forest sector.

For more information contact:

Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
& Communications Secretariat for ICFPA
e :
t : 613-563-1441 ext. 313

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