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Forest-based Bioeconomy for All Opportunities and Challenges



Forests and Fire
of Forests and


Raindrops on Leaf

Forests and Water
Science-Policy-Practice Interface for Managing Forest and Water Interactions under a Changing Environment




SPF Europe Africa

Science Policy Forums

The IUFRO World Day will comprise three Science Policy Forums, one in each time zone group. In these forums, cutting edge research and emerging issues of relevancy for policy and decision makers as well as new and promising approaches to global challenges will be discussed. IUFRO as the global voice of forest research wants to inform decision-makers who shape policies related to climate change, the use of land and natural resources, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The central goal of the Science Policy Forum is to make a policy impact.

All three sessions last for 1,5 hours each and are organized in the “prime time” of each region following the networking sessions (14:00 - 15:30 pm mid-region time). There is no overlap with other live events during the 1,5 hours (no live events by units or members)

Forest-based Bioeconomy for All
Opportunities and Challenges


28 September 2021 - 12:00 - 13:30 pm UTC

Collaboratively organized by the African Forest Forum and the University of Freiburg



Bioeconomy as a concept and political strategy conveys the basic idea of an economy where biobased and renewable materials replace fossil, non-renewables resources. Forests are considered central suppliers of raw material in many bioeconomy strategies. There is a rise in the demand of these forest resources coupled with conflicting challenges on their uses. Decreasing the dependence on oil and gas as well as the reduction of CO2 emissions, could enhance rural development and create new jobs through these strategies. In light of those benefits, political decision makers have pushed to a diverging degree for a transformation towards a bioeconomy.


However, there are always two sides of a coin. Refraining from fossil resources might lead to increased pressure on the forest and tree resources and the potential for conflicts on how to best use or not use these resources might increase. Moreover, potential alternatives to fossils beyond forests and trees need to be examined more systematically as well as spill-overs from the global market economy. While bioeconomy offers great prospects for development of sustainable economies, the development pathways for each country would be informed by a deep understanding of its potential, requirements, and sustainability outcomes with respect to social, ecological, technological, and economic issues.

This science-policy forum will explore opportunities and challenges of a bioeconomy based on forest and tree resources including Non-Wood &Timber Forest Products from a political and a scientific perspective.

The panel discussion will share more on emerging questions on economic, ecological and social consequences in the development of bioeconomies and the role of science/science-policy interface, policy instruments, safeguards, that would secure a reasonable balance between its advantages and disadvantages to  the forest sector and  impact on  climate change.

Forests and Fire

Intersectionality of Forests and People



28 September 2021 - 20:00 - 21:30 pm UTC

Collaboratively organized by the US Forest Service and Embrapa



Living with wildfires is inherently complex, challenging and compounded by climate change. All over the continent, climate change has brought longer fire seasons; wildfires occurring outside of historic fire seasons and regions; wildfires burning more land on average each year; more extreme fire behavior; and the increased frequency of wildfires in populated areas, impacting more homes and communities.


At the same time, it is important to recognize the essential role of fire in sustaining many ecosystems and their benefits to society. In North America, for example, almost every wildland ecosystem has a history of fire, but with greatly varied patterns of fire frequency and type. Understanding the ecological role of fire is essential for balancing the benefits and risks of alternative fire management strategies.


Just as wildfires do not stop at property and jurisdictional boundaries, responsibility for fire preparedness and management spans a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Collaboration and coordination between federal and state government agencies, local and tribal governments, non-government organizations, communities and landowners are essential to reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires and their impacts.

Forests and Water

Science-Policy-Practice Interface for Managing Forest and Water Interactions under a Changing Environment



29 September 2021 - 07:00 - 08:30 am UTC

Collaboratively organized by the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Murdoch University

Raindrops on Leaf


Forests play a critical role in supplying clean water, preventing environmental hazards (e.g., soil erosion, floods) and ensuring many other ecological functions. Any forest changes and their interactions with climate can significantly affect water resources and water-related ecological functions and services. Because of this role, managing forests for water provision has been an important priority in various international programs or initiatives such as Bonn Challenge, SDGs, etc. Moreover, forests and water resources were identified as essential elements in the adaptation to climate change in COP24 of the UN Climate Change Conference held in December 2018 in Katowice, and there is an active agenda to use reforestation to mitigate rising atmospheric carbon dioxide content and landscape restoration.


In such a context, research on forest and water interactions under a changing environment attracts increasing attention, and it has been recognized that forests, water and climate should be interactively assessed and managed with a holistic approach at various spatial and temporal scales.


To this end, the Asia-Oceania Science-Policy Forum will provide a dialogue platform involving scientists, decision-makers and forest managers to share insights and experience about forest and water interactions from different perspectives, to enhance the interface among science, policy and practices, and promote communication and collaboration among involved partners and stakeholders.

SPF Americas
SPF Asia Oceania

meet the speakers

Find out more about the speakers of our three Science Policy Forums at the IUFRO World Day below.




African Union Commission

Sustainable Development, biodiversity conservation, Climate change, & value chains development professional with over 20  years of professional experience in the United Kingdom, Africa, Asia  with various National & International Development Organizations including UN FAO, TREE AID International, Watershed Task Group  and others in the domains of research,  projects cycle, in the sectors of agriculture and forest products value chains, sustainable development, conservation and Climate change, Sustainable Land Management, restoration, amongst others. He has also initiated and been pioneer member of several initiatives including the Cameroon traditional Rulers against Climate; He is currently serving at the African Union Commission as the Coordinator for the Great green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative. He holds a Ph.D., an MSc in Ecology from The University of Edinburgh, and other Higher education certificates and diplomas. He is a member of the Institute for Environment Science and Certified Development Project Manager.



German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture

Dr. Müller is Director General for Forests, Sustainability and Renewable Resources of the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

From 2004 to 2018 she worked in leading positions at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. As Director of Forestry Policy and Resources she led FAO’s technical work in Forestry. Before joining FAO, from 2001 to 2004, she was Assistant Director for Reforestation and Forest Management at the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) based in Japan. This was preceded by 11 years with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Costa Rica.

Dr. Müller has a MSc in Forestry from Yale University in the US and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Hamburg in Germany.

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African Development Bank

Dr. Tieguhong is currently the Chief Forestry Officer at the African Natural Resources Centre (ANRC), African Development Bank (AfDB) based in Abidjan. Prior to joining the Bank, he worked with CIFOR, FAO and Bioversity International.

He holds a PhD in forestry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has over 90 scientific papers and book chapters to his credit. His research interests include: profiling renewable natural resources into national and regional development plans, forest-poverty-food security linkages, public-private partnerships in forestry, role of private forestry sector in climate change, forest policy and governance.

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Euroepan Forest Institute (EFI) and IUFRO Working Party Coordinator 9.05.01

Helga Pülzl is Assistant Director for Policy Support of the European Forest Institute and responsible for the Policy Support Facility and its Trust Fund.

Her main research interests are in European and international forest governance and policy change, bioeconomy perceptions and sustainability indicators development.

She coordinates the IUFRO Working Party 9.05.01 on bioeconomy policy and holds a Phd and master’s degree in political science from the University of Vienna.



PhD, African Forest Forum

Marie Louise Avana-Tientcheu is an associate professor of forestry and agroforestry attached as Senior programme Officer and Project Manager at the African Forest Forum (AFF) secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya, where she is in charge of the programme titled “African Forests, People and Climate change”. AFF is an International NGO leading the forestry research, development, and advocacy in the African continent. Before joining AFF, she served as lecturer at the Department of Forestry, University of Dschang Cameroon where she occupied many leadership positions and led many regional and international forestry-related research and training projects in collaboration with African, European, and American partners. She had supervised more than 80 research studies, including PhD, MSc, and BSc projects; published over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers. She had also served as member in Governing Bodies for regional networks such as ANAFE, AFF and RIFFEAC.

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University of Copenhagen DC IUFRO Task Force

Carsten Smith Hall is a professor in forest-people relationships at the University of Copenhagen. He has published in both natural and social science journals, with research particularly focused on (i) forest - livelihood relationships, including the role of forests in preventing and reducing poverty, (ii) forests and human health, in particular the role of forests in maintaining and improving welfare, and (iii) commercial utilisation of biodiversity, with emphasis on trade and conservation issues. He is also increasingly involved in research on the bioeconomy, deputy co-ordinating the Global Task Force on Unlocking the Bioeconomy and Non-Timber Forest Products (under the International Union of Forest Research Organisations).


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USDA Forest Service              Dr. Lear is one of the session co-organizers

Monica Lear has worked in natural resource management for 28 years. Past professional experience includes state government management at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as county agent in New Orleans, Louisiana for the LSU AgCenter, and as an extension agent in Arlington County, Virginia for the Virginia Tech/Virginia Cooperative Extension.


Prior to joining the USDA Forest Service in June 2014, Dr. Lear was the Deputy Associate Director of the Urban Forestry Administration and District of Columbia State Forester at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation in Washington, DC.  At the Forest Service, she was the Director of Forest Health Protection in State and Private Forestry, Associate Deputy Chief in Research and Development and currently Station Director at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.   She has served on national advisory councils and taskforces in Urban and Community Forestry and held leadership positions in regional and national state forester associations. She has earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Plant Health and a B.S. in Horticulture from Louisiana State University.

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Embrapa Florestas                       Dr. Schaitza is one of the session co-organizers

Erich Schaitza is a forest engineer who has worked at Embrapa for 32 years. His experience ranges from research in wood technology and small-scale industrialization, integrated energy system technology, and integration between research and extension to management of multi-institutional programs for soil, water, and biodiversity conservation.

This diverse professional experience has served him in roles such as Deputy Head of Communications and Business. International Coordinator for Embrapa Forestry, Coordinator of the Embrapa Regional Office for Africa in Accra, Ghana, and currently as Head of Embrapa Forestry.

In IUFRO, he took an active role in the Latin American and Caribbean Information Systems Network and served as Brazil's representative to the International Council. He currently is the President´s Nominee to Latin America.

In his opinion, one of the main challenges in the areas of forests and agriculture right now is adapting to climate change and changing the way we farm. Fire prevention and control is a strategic point in this process of adaptation. 

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USDA Forest Service              Chief Moore will serve as the session moderator

Randy Moore was sworn in as Chief of the USDA Forest Service in August 2021.

Previously, he served as Regional Forester in the Pacific Southwest Region in California from 2007 to 2021, where he had responsibility for 18 national forests covering one-fifth of the state on 20 million acres of land. Additionally, he oversaw State and Private Forestry programs in California as well as Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Previously, Randy served as the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisc., for five years.

Randy started his career in conservation in 1978 with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. His Forest Service career began on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado and the Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands in Kansas. He served as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the National Forests of North Carolina and the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri before serving as Forest Supervisor of the Mark Twain National Forest. Randy also has national-level experience in Washington, D.C., serving as acting Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System and the National Deputy Soils Program Manager.

Randy earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. He and his wife Antoinette have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons.



Chiapas State, Natural Resources and State Parks

Yucundo Araón Estrada was born in Chiapas, México. He is an Agricultural Engineer specialized in Forests since 1978, graduated from the Autonomous University Chapingo, Mexico. He holds a Master's Degree in Sustainable Forest Management from the Colegio de Postgraduados México. He has worked in State and Federal agencies, as well as Forest Service Provider at the private level, is a Forestry Expert, and has worked in the Forest Industry. He has participated in the coordination and elaboration of two State Forest Laws and their Regulations, as well as a National Forest Law.

He has over 20 years of experience in wildfires. He coordinated the National Fire Management Center of Mexico and is currently the Undersecretary of Forest Development and Botanical Gardens of the Government of the State of Chiapas. He has had national and international training in the United States of America and Canada in wildfires, in the Forest Fire Hazard Prediction System and in the Incident Command System. He has been Commander of the "Mexican National Incident Team" in complex forest fires. He is a national and international instructor in the Incident Command System and Incident Management Teams in several countries in Central and South America.

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USDA Forest Service

Sarah McCaffrey is a Research Forester in the Human Dimensions program at the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.  Her research focuses on the social aspects of fire management. This work has included projects examining wildfire risk perception and risk communication, social acceptability of prescribed fire and thinning, incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space, and social issues that occur during and after fires such as evacuation decision making and agency-community interactions.  More recent work is examining barriers to use of fire as a management tool and how the fire management system might better allow for more holistic consideration of both social and ecological concerns.  She received her BA from Stanford University and her PhD in Wildland Resource Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Natural Resources Canada

Dr. Dan Thompson has worked as a wildfire research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service since 2011.  His research is focused primarily on boreal wildfire and its impacts using an environmental physics framework.  He is a member of the Canadian Forest Service Fire Danger Rating Group that is revising the Canadian Fire Weather Index and Fire Behaviour Prediction systems in anticipation of a large 2025 system update.

He is the science co-lead for the Pelican Mountain experimental fire project, funded by Alberta Wildfire Management Branch out of Wabasca, Alberta.  The project has yielded two large experimental crown fires (2015 and 2019) and numerous smaller experimental fires to investigate fuel treatment impacts on fire behaviour and associated ecological impacts.

His interest in the application of his research and wildfire science overall extends to his training and designation as a nationally-certified Fire Behaviour Analyst, where he provides projections of fire behaviour and spread to Incident Management Teams. Notable deployments include Fort McMurray 2016, British Columbia 2017 and 2021, and Prince Albert National Park 2018.

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Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF)

Aida Baldini Urrutia is a Chilean forest engineer currently working at the Chilean National Forest Corporation (CONAF) as Manager of Protection Against Forest Fires.

She has broad professional experience as a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco (Argentina), Academia de Guerra do Chile, and as an international consultant for various Latin American countries.



USDA Forest Service

Frank Kanawha Lake received a Bachelor of Science degree from University of California-Davis (1995) in Integrated Ecology and Culture with a minor in Native American Studies. In 2007 Frank completed his Ph. D. graduate degree from Oregon State University, Environmental Sciences Program. He is currently working for the US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station, Fire and Fuels Program, on tribal and community forestry and related natural resource issues. His research focuses on restoration ecology and the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge into landscape restoration strategies, wildland fire and forest management in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. He has a research interest in wildland fire and management effects on cultural resources and tribal values. He is a fireline qualified Resource Advisor and has worked with tribes, agencies, organizations, and Incident Management Teams on wildland fire assignments. Frank serves as an advisor to TNC’s Indigenous Peoples Burning Network. Recently, more of his focus is working with tribes and for how indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into scientific climate change research to support tribal vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation planning and related strategies. Frank as many co-authored articles, book chapters, webinar and other technology transfer science products co-developed with a diverse range of collaborators. He has served as leadership of the TEK section of the Ecological Society of America from 2014-present. For the Pacific Southwest Research Station, Frank is the Tribal Liaison & Climate Change contact, and lead coordinating scientist for the Redwood Experimental Forest and Western Klamath Restoration Partnership landscape collaborative. Frank is of mixed American Indian, Mexican and European ancestry.



Embrapa Pantanal

Balbina Maria Araujo Soriano is a meteorologist with a doctorate in agrometeorology.

She is currently a researcher at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation for Agricultural Research, Pantanal Agricultural Research Center (Embrapa Pantanal), vice-president of the Inter-Institutional Commission on Preventing and Combating Forest Fires in Mato Grosso do Sul, and member of the Corumbá (MS) Municipal Commission on Preventing and Combating Forest Fires in the Pantanal.

She has experience in the area of geoscience, with an emphasis in meteorology.

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World Bank

Ross Smith joined the Forestry Commission of New South Wales, Australia, in 1963 as a Cadet, completing a Bachelor Degree in Forest Science.  He worked in several field locations in the Central and Southern Highlands of NSW until 1983, managing indigenous hardwood forest and exotic Pinus spp plantations.  He was responsible for oversighting all forest fire management operations including planning, suppression and prescribed burning and developed very close liaisons with volunteer bush fire brigades.

From 1983 onwards, he worked in the Fire Management section to initially develop state-wide fire management training programs for professional staff, later becoming the Deputy Fire Management Officer for the State with responsibilities covering the whole gamut of fire management operations. In 1994, he transferred to the NSW Rural Fire Service, a volunteer- based fire management organization responsible for rural fire management across about 90% of NSW.  Initially, he had carriage of State-wide Planning and Research, later on taking on the role of Assistant Commissioner.  This organization then numbered about 72,000 volunteer firefighters and 500 full time staff.

While working at the Rural Fire Service he undertook a number of assignments on behalf of the NSW and Federal Governments, working with Asia Development Bank and World Bank in South East Asia, China, Croatia, Bulgaria Russia and India, mostly on forest fire related projects.  One of his key mantras was always to try to identify the substance of particular problem areas and then to develop a potential solution that met the cultural, social and financial constraints that existed in the client country. He continues to periodically undertake similar assignments, mostly for the World Bank, and sometimes provides fire related evidence in litigation matters locally. Including several years as a junior bush fire brigade member from when he was about 14 years of age, he has been involved in some form of rural fire management for more than 60 years and has filled every role from front-line firefighter to co-ordinator of large and extreme fire events.

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USDA Forest Service

William Matthew “Matt” Jolly is a Research Ecologist in the Fire, Fuel and Smoke Science Program of the US Forest Service, Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT.  He received a BA in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and a PhD in Forestry from the University of Montana. He is the principal scientist for the US National Fire Danger Rating System and he is the project manager for the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS), a system that provide critical decision support tools for wildland fire preparedness and response. His research explores how wildland fuel characteristics vary across space and time and how these variations impact wildland fire potential. Ultimately, his work will lead to improved wildland fire decision support tools that can keep firefighters and communities safer and more informed.

Speakers Americas




World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Meine van Noordwijk was trained as a biologist/ecologist at the university of Utrecht, and obtained hos PhD at Wageningen university, both in the Netherlands. He currently is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) based in Indonesia, after serving as regional coordinator for Southeast Asia and as Chief Science Advisor across the organization. He is special professor (em.) in Agroforestry at Wageningen university. He co-chaired the IUFRO Forest-Water-People assessment. His research and publications cover a wide range of scales from detailed root-soil interactions through analysis of ecosystem services to the way landscape approaches can support improved resource governance. 

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Murdoch University / Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Task Force on Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment

Professor Richard Harper moved to Murdoch University in Australia in 2009 following 20 years in science and policy positions with the Western Australian Government. His research program explores the science and policy aspects of climate mitigation, with the aim of producing environmental and production co-benefits. This has involved work on sequestration in forests and soils, novel bioenergy systems, and the valuation of water benefits. He is particularly interested in how these approaches can be used to reverse intractable soil, water and biodiversity management issues. He was a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR5, a past-chair of the International Union of Forest Research Organization’s Task Force on Forests, Soils and Water and is a current member of the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee.


Publications are accessible at:



Northland Regional Council, New Zealand

Dr Brenda Baillie has a background in freshwater and forestry research with a focus on water quality, freshwater ecology, effects of forest management practices on freshwater environments, woody debris dynamics, freshwater ecosystem services and the use of fire as a land management tool. She has been a member of various national and international expert panels, contributed to the development of forestry management standards and was an FSC auditor for a number of years. She is currently working as a policy specialist in freshwater.



University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China

Mingfang Zhang graduated from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) in November, 2013. She is a forest hydrologist interested in studying interactions and feedbacks among forest, water and climate, forest landscape restoration and adaptive forest management, and forest ecosystem service assessment. She now serves as the deputy coordinator at Division 8.01.07 Hydrological Processes and Watershed Management of International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and task force member at TF Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment of IUFRO.

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Kyushu University, Japan

Dr. Otsuki is a professor in forest hydrology at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University. He also works as the research director of the university forest, head of campus conservation green area, and leader of safety management for educational activities at the university. He now serves as the vice president of Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources and task force member at TF Forests and Water Interactions in a Changing Environment of IUFRO. He has a background in agricultural engineer, obtained PhD at Kyoto University and studied water circulation in the field of irrigation and drainage and arid land environment. Since 1999, he has changed the research topics to forest hydrology and investigated the interactions between forests and water in a changing environment. His primary research focuses on the impacts of forest management on evapotranspiration and rainfall partitioning.



University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines

Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis is Full Professor from the University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources. He has a PhD in Forestry major in Forest Resources Management and Environmental Studies.

He has been engaged in various foreign and locally funded forestry, watershed, climate change and renewable natural resources management research and development projects, presented more than 100 papers on forestry, environmental science and related topics in various trainings, conferences, symposia in the country and abroad,  coordinated more than 40 training courses and authored/co-authored a number of scientific papers in local and international scientific journals.

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National Institute of Forest Science, Korea (Rep)

Dr. Choi works as a senior researcher at the National Institute of Forest Science at the Korea Forest Service and leads forest hydrology researches. His primary research focuses on the interrelationships between forests and water. Now, he is responsible for water cycle monitoring at 54 long-term forest hydrology research watersheds in Korea. He also conducts long-term studies of forest and climate change, and the impact of forestry operations on the water cycle and clean water supply.

Recently, he conducted a study to quantify and mapping the water retention function of forest soils using spatial big data and artificial intelligence. The results of this study became the basis of the national project to produce a water retention function map for the entire forest in Korea, which will start in 2022.

Speakers Asia
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