Academy Past

List of IAWS Officers


1966-1972 F. Kollmann
1972-1975 F.E. Dickinson
1975-1978 T.E. Timell
1978-1981 W.E. Hillis
1981-1984 W. Knigge
1984-1987 W.A. Coté
1987-1990 R.W. Kennedy
1990-1993 T. Higuchi
1993-1996 A. Björkman
1996-1999 S. Chow
1999-2002 T.K. Kirk
2002-2005 J.R. Barnett
2005-2008 X. Deglise
2008-2011 F.Beall
2011-2014 L.Salmén
2014-2017 U. Schmitt
2017-2020 R. Evans
since 2020 Y.S. Kim


1966-1969 E. Mörath
1969-1971 J. Kisser
1971-1978 W. Kratzl
first half 1979 T.E. Timell
1979-1984 A. Björkman
1985-1990 T.K. Kirk
1990-1992 H.I. Bolker
1992-1995 A. Pizzi
1996-2002 F.C. Beall
2002-2011 U. Schmitt
2011-2014 R. Evans
2014-2017 Y.S.Kim
since 2017 L.A. Donaldson


1966-1969 E. Mörath
1969-1971 J. Kisser
1971-1978 W. Kratzl
first half 1979 T.E. Timell
1979-1984 A. Björkman
1985-1990 T.K. Kirk
1990-1992 H.I. Bolker
1992-1995 A. Pizzi
1996-2004 F.C. Beall
2005 F.C. Beall/ H. Rosen
since 2006 H. Rosen

Portrait Gallery of Past Presidents

First President Franz Kollmann

President Dickinson

President Timell

President Hillis

President Björkman

President Chow

President Kirk

President John Barnett

President Xavier Deglise

President Frank Beall

President Lennart Salmén

President Uwe Schmitt
(2014- 2017)

President Rob Evans
(2017- 2020)

President Yoon Soo Kim
(2020- 2023)


History of IAWS


Formation of IAWS and Initial Epoch
Review prepared by Anders Björkman, Fellow 1971 and Secretary/Treasurer 1980-1984, V. President, President, Past President 1990-1999.


When it became obvious (in the 1970s) that I was to succeed Professor Karl Kratzl as Secretary/Treasurer of IAWS, I paid him a visit at the (then) Permanent Secretariat in Vienna. My intention was to become more familiar with the operations of the Academy. In our discussion we agreed that Professor Kratzl would send to me the IAWS' archive after his resignation. This was done by sending two big wooden cases, which were kept in the basement of my institute at the Danish Technical University until 2002, when I began to examine their contents.

I discarded a lot routine correspondence, which did not give any useful information about the activities of the Academy. I also disposed of extensive material relating to the nomination and election of new Fellows, which in my opinion would never be referred to again. A Fellow once elected remains a Fellow, and it is unlikely that anyone would wish to re-examine these documents.

This removal of the insignificant parts of the Vienna archive reduced the volume, substantially, but it required much additional work to arrange the remaining material in a chronological order. As a general rule I have endeavoured to present the events year by year, though many matters involved several successive years, while other matters cannot be related chronologically.

The Academy was established on June 2nd, 1966. The actions leading up to this event are summarized as pre-1966 activities. Unfortunately the archive material from before 1964 is particularly heterogeneous and incomplete so some information is missing.


Several active teams were involved in the development and establishment of the Academy. The chief actor was Professor Franz Kollmann (Wood Research and Technology at the University of Munich, Germany). Kollmann presented his views about a wood academy (Appendix1) in 1963 to a group of highly qualified researchers (Ackerman, Antoine, Bosshard, Chardin, Collardet, de la Cruz, Ellwood, Harper, Locke, Narayanamurti, Thunell, Ylinen). He also prepared a draft Constitution and contacted with Springer-Verlag about a new journal.

In instigating a new Academy, a Declaration of Intent is required in order to explain the circumstances leading to its formation. Kollmann planned and undertook a lengthy study tour. He started in Seattle (WA) where he held discussions with the Deans Mc Carthy and Bethel; went to Madison (WI) to meet Dr.Locke (Forest Products Laboratory), followed by a visit to Syracuse (NY) to meet the Deans Shirley and Jahn and Professors Pentoney and Côté. Finally he went to New York, where Dr.Fleischer had arranged a meeting with his colleagues Dickinson, Stamm and Wangaard together with representatives from American Wood Industries. All these people expressed their support for the formation of an Academy. Fleischer brought the Declaration (see below) which was signed by Dr. Harper (US Forest Service), Dean Shirley and Mr.Hunt (Madison).

Details of Kollmann's tour of the USA were imparted to Professor Edgar Mörath (Director of the Austrian Wood Research Institute), who became involved in the formation of IAWS. Mörath had from 1949 to 1954 been secretary of the FAO committees« Wood Chemistry » and« Mechanical Wood Technology » and was a member of the FAO/IUFRO Committee on Bibliography. What later became the IAWS' Permanent Secretariat was actually set up on January 1st, 1966.

Mörath was told by Kollmann that the Secretariat should be located to Vienna, which for one thing would facilitate future communications with the Eastern Countries. Kollmann's memorandum to Mörath also proposed the early formation of a Board of Advisors to form a core of IAWS. Kollmann wanted to include ProfessorJ.Kisser (President of Austrian Society for Wood Research) on this Board and Kisser agreed tot ake part. Other selected members of the Board were Collardet (Paris), Dadswell (Melbourne), Narayanamurti (Bangalore) and Ylinen (Helsinki).

The yearly expenditure for the activities of a Permanent Secretariat were estimated to be of the order of USD 25000. The favourable impression gained from the inatial discussions in the USA, Germany and Canada (according to Mörath) led to a decision to establish the Academy during the first half of 1965. The creation of a« Quarterly Review » by Springer-Verlag would be realized by Springer at their own risk. It was also decided that the Academy would not maintain its own wood research institutes.

In a letter to Professor Kollmann Professor Kisser praised him for the progress in wood science represented by the formation of IAWS. He accepted the membership of the Board of Advisors and the choice of Vienna as location for the Secretariat, stating that it could be accommodated in the Austrian Wood Research Institute, thereby qualifying for exemption from taxation. Legal issues involved in endorsement of the Academy were complicated and Professor Kisser offered to be of assistance in this matter. Professor Kollman informed Professor Mörath that he was pleased with the progress towards formation of IAWS.

The principles of IAWS were published in the 1965/2 News Bulletin of the International Association of Wood Anatomists. (Appendix1). The reasons for the formation of IAWS may be summarized as follows :

Maintenance of forests, including such things as the yield of forest products, the protection of water sheds and the atmosphere, — taking into consideration a (slowly) rising consumption of wood, production of new types of wood-based materials, and cooperation of biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians and technologists to establish a platform for scientific discussions, publications and statements, and attraction of gifted researchers and technologists, including the academic youth.

Thus the tasks of IAWS are to

promote high level wood research and technology,
present wood research and science at international/national meetings of its own and of other organizations,
focus attention on the importance of wood research and science to governments, parliaments, industries, associations, press etc.,
promote the publication of research of IAWS members in the Quarterly Review.

The number of ordinary members shall be limited to 100. The officials are President, V. President, Secretary, Treasurer, Board of Advisors (BoA, 12 members). Ex officio members in BoA are the Chairman of IUFRO, Section 41, and a Representative of FAO (the Forest and Forest Products Division).

The financial basis is to be created by a Circle of Sponsors and Friends (Forest Services, private forest administrations, wood-consuming industries and other industries, related to wood, like pulp and paper producers).

As already stated IAWS shall have 3 classes (biological-anatomical, chemical, and physical-technological), and 3 regional working groups (Europe-Africa, Panamerica, Asiatic-Pacific) were to be established.

The Permanent Secretariat should be located at Vienna (Austria).

Leading personalities around the world were invited to endorse the creation of IAWS by signing a declaration (below).


« For the highly industrialized atomic world of today, and even more for that of tomorrow, the forests of the Earth must be preserved under all circumstances. This goal can be reached and secured only by balanced production and consumption of wood. Thorough investigations and analyses of trends during the last decade have proved that the total annual consumption of wood is increasing everywhere. We need, therefore, the highest possible efficiency in utilization and improvement of wood and wood-based products. Only a highly scientific treatment of all related problems can accomplish this goal.

Wood is so complex a material that many branches of science are involved in research on it. Research on wood and forest products has generally been carried out for more that 50 years at many famous laboratories. International cooperation in this field already exists to some extent. Missing is still an academy-like organization as described in the attached constitution. The founding of an International Academy for Wood Science could doubtless instigate further scientific progress and stimulate world-wide cooperation in its field. The undersigned therefore welcome and support the founding of this Academy. »

The signers are given in an appendix (Appendix2). Already in the early correspondence (1963) the elaboration of a Constitution for IAWS is mentioned. The printed version found (Appendix2) is presumed to be the first. However, this and other versions are no longer important, since the Constitution was modified subsequently several times.

As indicated the finance of IAWS would be based on subscriptions, which were expected to come from Circles (Unions) of Sponsors and Friends. The number of such members would have to be more than 200, if the annual contribution per member was set at USD 100. To expect members to pay this much might be considered optimistic, even if the money was in some cases is tax free. Economic aspects will be dealt with later in this review. However, it should be mentioned that two Unions had been formed« in advance » : A Union in Germany for promotion of IAWS from June 24, 1965, and the (abovementioned) Union in Austria of Promoters and Friends from February 23, 1966. The contributions were set at a minimum of DM 500 in Germany and ATS 2500 in Austria.

Professor B.Steenberg (Sweden), being a good friend of Franz Kollmann, met with him at an early stage and gave Kollmann his advice and support. Steenberg indicated that the formation of IAWS aimed particularly at helping the physical-technological class within wood research to develop and improve its condition. This intention is not specified clearly in the archive material, but it is interesting to note that many letters of invitation were directed to companies within this area (though the responses of these bodies were few).

The further formal deliberations during 1965 and 1966 up to the foundation of IAWS reported briefly below.

Formal letters about the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat in Vienna were exchanged with the Austrian authorities (not described here as these concerned local topics and did not cause problems). The routine duties — expected to be performed by secretaries (with linguistic proficiency) — did not present a problem economically. The Secretariat would be accommodated and have its seat at the Austrian Wood Research Institute. (With regard to IAWS as such it was indicated that the Academy could have got its seat with an American« Union of Promoters and Friends of IAWS ».)

Much of the correspondence concerns the legal matters. It was contemplated (partly for financial reasons) to implement a solemn foundation of IAWS before the end of 1965. This was not realized, since the planning became provisional. Professor Kisser, who praised Professor Kollmann for his Academy initiative, joined in the attempts to secure funds for the Academy. One detail is of interest : It was recommended in difficult matters to have a mover rather than a committee to further progress. In Dec. 1965 two bank accounts were opened, one for IAWS and the other for the Austrian Union (cf. above).

The correspondence in existence from the first five months of 1966 is rather slight and incoherent. In mid-February Professor Perkitny from Poland submitted proposals concerning the tasks of the Academy.

He first summarized the proposals already brought forward :

Pure basic research (e.g. studies on the constitution of wood compounds during biogenesis and during biodeterioration and other decompositions).
Wood improvements (by hydrophobing and combinations with plastics).
Maintenance of air and water purity at pulping and fibreboard production, and improvements of the recovery of chemicals.

In the opinion of Perkitny all three areas had scientific facets and were worthy of inclusion in a 5-year action programme.

Enlargement of the Academy domains was considered, particularly exploration of great wood dimensions.

Two problems were set forth :

In which fields can wooden constructional elements be maintained?
How to modernize wooden elements to secure the proper role of wood in light modern constructions.

The 2nd problem required several research and technical investigation themes, such as techno-mechanical research on fabrication (profiling, lamination, glueing), impregnation against biological attacks, fire protection, and swelling deformation, all involving new methods.

Letters of appreciation of the plans for formation of IAWS were sent from the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and other Austrian Government Offices to Professor Kisser as chairman of the Board of Advisors. A letter (Appendix3) of May 24, 1966, from Bundesminister Schleinzer should be mentioned, which stresses the importance of wood and expresses his gratification about the plans to locate IAWS in Austria.

Objections had been made against the use of the word« Academy ». Thorough appraisal of the matter proved that this criticism was in error.

On May 2nd 1966, Professors F.Kollmann and J. Kisser sent an invitation to participate in the inauguration ceremony to be held at the Centre Technique du Bois in Paris on June 2, 1966.

The following were invited :

G. Becker (Germany)
J.D. Boyd (Australia)
J. Campredon (France)
J. Collardet (France)
F.E. Dickinsen (USA)
A. Frey-Wyssling (Switzerland)
A. Ylinen (Finland)
R. Fukada (Japan)
E.G. Locke* (USA), owing to his sickness A. Freas served as his deputy.
E. Mörath (Austria)
D. Naroyanamurti (India)
N:A: Osara (Finland)
B. Thunell (Sweden)

In addition the Austrian Ambassador in Paris was invited, since the Academy would have its site and Secretariat in Vienna. The site of the Inauguration to be in Paris was chosen to enable it to be attached to a IUFRO Meeting, visited by many scientists. Fukada, Thunell, and Frey-Wyssling could not appear so attendance was limited to 12 scientists and the Ambassador, represented by Mr. T.Ogrinz.

The agenda for the Inauguration was :

Welcome address.
Report by F.Kollmann on the work of preparations for the establishment of IAWS (Appendix1)
Decision to establish IAWS
First meeting of the IAWS with designation of Ordinary Members.
Election of the Officers of IAWS : President, V. President, Secretary General & Treasurer, Controller (Auditor)
Adoption of the Constitution of IAWS.
General Matters.

Professor Kisser was elected as chairman.

Proceedings :

The host, Professor Campredon (director of Centre Technique du Bois) welcomed the meeting and reminded the audience that the idea to congregate wood scientists from around the world and in all fields or wood research was born in Paris in the middle of the 1950s. He spoke of French scientists who had worked in the field during past centuries, forming the spirit of the meeting. Mr. Ogrinz spoke of French delight that Paris had been chosen as the site for the Inauguration ceremony. He expressed thanks to the organisers of the meeting and particularly to Professor Kollmann for his direction of the arrangements of the foundation, attaining a world-wide cooperation and the determination to have Vienna as the seat for the Academy and its Secretariat. He also read the abovementioned letter from Minister Schleinzer.
Professor Kollmann reported the reasons behind the formation of IAWS : Importance of the maintenance of forests on the planet earth; economic and effective output of forest products; the effects of the slowly rising consumption of wood; development of new types of wood-based materials and products, including combinations with other materials; cooperation of biologists, chemists, physicists, technologists, and mathematicians; establishment of a platform for discussions, statements and publications; attraction of gifted researchers to devote themselves to forestry, wood use efficiency and wood science, and finally the attention of the public through publications. Professor Kollmann also outlined the Constitution for IAWS, worked out by leading experts and scientists, rendering some tasks and goals :
To promote wood research and science on a prominent level.
To represent wood research and science at international meetings of other permanent organizations.
To focus the attention of governments, parliaments, industries, associations, the press etc. to the importance of wood science and research.
The IAWS shall :
hold regularly worldwide and regional member meetings to present and discuss original reports on latest results of advanced wood research,
delegate members as speakers at abovementioned meetings,
publish reports of members in a Quarterly Review (Wood Science and Technology).

The financial basis of the IAWS shall be forest services, private forest administrations, wood consuming industries, and pulp and paper industries. Professor Kollmann finally informed the participants at the inauguration about the Declaration, set out above.

Professor Osara (Director FAO, Forestry and Forest Products Division) presented an thorough outline of the changes expected to occur in forestry and forest industries. Industrial use of wood was expected to nearly double in a quarter of a century, due to increases of population and standard of living. The world harvest of wood was considered to be modest and may be increased in several ways, particularly outside Europe. More hardwoods will be used, and planting of forests will be important (in developing countries) as well as improvements in silvicultural practices (in« old » countries). Forests also serve as an ecological regulator among other beneficial effects, emphasizing the need for an integrated approach within forestry and forest industries. The existing losses inherent in handling of harvested wood need to be considered. This (loss) dissipation can be limited through a profound knowledge of wood, and for this reason the establishment of IAWS should be considered a highly important event. Osara was very pleased about the planning of IAWS' efforts on a regional basis, being especially important for developing countries. The document of foundation was drawn up (in English, French, German) and signed by all participants. (This document has not been retrieved in the IAWS' archive, but the details are without doubt contained in the text of the present review.)

At this the 1st Meeting of IAWS a Board of Advisors (with 13 members from 8 countries and FAO) was elected, the members at the same time becoming Ordinary Members (Fellows). In the registered order the names are : Kisser, Locke, Osara, Collardet, Ylinen, Dickinson, Thunell, Boyd, Narayanamurti, Kollmann, Perkitny, Fukada and Frey-Wyssling. Professor Perkitny would have to ask his Polish Minister for allowance to accept his election. Using an additional membership election 12 scientists (not present) from 6 countries were selected: Campredon, Marcon, Stamm, Wardrop, Becker, Liese, Pahlitzsch and Necesaný. (4 names not itemized.) They were all asked afterwards (by mail) if they accepted their election (which they did). Necesaný's membership was accepted by his Minister (Bratislava). The total no. of Members thus became 25. (Election of new Members could be made at Meetings by a majority of three quarters of the participants or by correspondence, using ballots.) t was decided that the total membership in the future should not exceed 100.

Based on proposals the following Officers were elected :

President : Professor Franz Kollmann (Germany)
Vice President : Professor Fred E. Dickinson (USA)
Secretary-General/Treasurer : Professor E.Mörath (Austria)
Controller (auditor) : Professor K.Kratzl (Austria)

Accordingly Professor Kollmann assumed the chair.
The Constitution of IAWS has been referred to several times above. There are in the archive several documents which could have been the version, presented in Paris, but the original Constitution has not been identified. (No date provided on any of the versions.) This is, however, not important, since after the inauguration many improvements of the text were made over the years. The meeting protocol gives the following summary of additional IAWS commitments (cf also above) :

Maintenance of sustained-yield managements of forests.
Simultaneous substitutions and increasing consumption of wood.
Wood research as part of modern natural and engineering sciences.
Attraction of gifted students to devote themselves to wood research and technology.

The« Paris Constitution » of the Academy was adopted unanimously.

The Fellow Members (maximum 100) should be or have been actively engaged in wood research, gaining high scientific reputation. The 15 member Board of Advisors shall ex officio include the Chairman of the IUFRO Section 41 (Forest Products) and a representative of the FAO Forestry and Forest Products Division. As already stated the IAWS is to be organized according to two principles :

Classes : Biological/anatomical, Chemical, and Physical-technological
Regional Groups : European-African, Panamerican, and Asiatic-Pacific

The seat of IAWS and its Secretariat shall be in Vienna.

The IAWS' Quartely Review (Wood Science and Technology), started in the beginning of 1967, is to be distributed (without subscription costs) to IAWS' members and Sponsor Associations. These Associations, existing in Germany and Austria and being established in other countries, form a main financial basis. The Secretariat notified several« wood journals » about the establishment of IAWS (in Paris) and about its implementation of (immediate) actions.


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