n Southern African Forestry Journal - Some issues associated with the commercial implementation of weed management recommendations : operational deployment of technology




The Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR) is owned by the South African forestry industry and undertakes research on applied aspects of commercial timber growing. The type of research conducted depends, to a large extent, on a combination of our areas of expertise and the needs as determined by our sponsors. By way of a case study (one single trial) in the field of weed management research, an attempt is made to show the processes of research and development and how these lead to knowledge that is transferred to the end user. From this single trial with clear objectives, a number of tentative recommendations were made based upon early results. The commercial implementation of these results was only partially successful, with questions being raised that could only be addressed through additional trial work. Even though subsequent research efforts can be considered a success from a research perspective, in that they provided solutions to the questions asked, few have been applied commercially. This raises concerns, especially as to what the issues are that prevent the implementation of weed management recommendations. Some of the issues discussed include: researcher competence, whether the industry knows what it wants, robustness of research findings, how technology is transferred, complexity of weed growth information, institutionalisation of systems and economic and political constraints. By way of discussing the mixed successes in technology transfer, a hypothesis is developed as to where the barriers to effective technology transfer are and how these can be overcome. We believe that the most effective way of overcoming this is through the establishment and strengthening of the research-consumer interface. This needs to be included as a research activity, and to be enabled and resourced by end-users.


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