Partnership saves the Australian Wood Collection

A partnership between CSIRO, Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) and the Gottstein Trust in Australia has revived the national wood collection and made it in a fit state for inclusion in the CSIRO Collections of National Significance.

The partnership provided funds for Dr Jugo Ilic, formerly of CSIRO and currently running the consultancy Know Your Wood, to prepare the collection for transfer to Canberra in order to co-locate this internationally significant collection within the Biological Collections Unit of CSIRO.

“The Dadswell Memorial Wood Collection was collated over seven decades to make it the largest wood collection in the southern hemisphere and the third largest in the world,” explained Dr Ilic. “With the changes in CSIRO’s research priorities the future of the collection was unclear, and uncertain”.

“I’m thankful that the CSIRO and the Australian forest and wood products industry, through FWPA and the Gottstein Trust, formed a coalition to prepare the wood collection for functional access and transfer to Canberra. The wood collection required much updating in terms of digitalising much of the information and ensuring that this information could be linked to an on-line resource – the Atlas of Living Australia,” he said.

“The funding provided by the three organisations allowed a master collection index to be developed that provides a means of linking collection information from scans of the original log books, the original index cards, 41,600 wood specimen photos and 4,500 images of microscope slides for ready reference. The slide images have been forwarded for inclusion in the InsideWood database maintained by North Carolina, USA for use by wood researchers worldwide.”

Both the FWPA and the Gottstein Trust are proud to have been associated with this significant project. Ric Sinclair, Managing Director of FWPA said “It’s important not to throw out the baby with the bath water – with the decline in investment in wood research over recent years it is essential that Australia maintains a credible wood collection for both national and international reference and research purposes.”

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