Dr Teresa Cerrillo, INTA, Argentina

She is an Agronomic Engineer graduated from the Buenos Aires University (1985) and holds a Specialization degree in Plant Breeding in the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, Spain (1999).  She works in the area of forest resources and forest engineering, with more than 30 years as a researcher on willows and poplars improvement and conservation, working in the last 20 years in National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), a government institution. She has carried out the creation of a wide willow breeding population, obtaining 11 improved cultivars, released in the last decade, which are contributing to a more diversified offer of Salix clones for the Paraná Delta and other Argentine regions. Cerrillo has over 150 publications, including research papers and divulgation articles.  Since 1996, she has held roles in the International Poplar Commission (IPC); currently, as chair of the Working Party of the Domestication and Conservation Genetic Resources. Her awards include the recognition of the contributions to Poplar and Willow culture, in the commemorative 65th Anniversary Year of the IPC (2012) and Award for the Researcher Lifetime Achievements of the Argentine Forestry Association, AFoA (2019).

Dr Raju Soolanayakanahally, Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada, Canada

Upon receiving MSc (Crop Physiology) from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, he later moved to the University of British Columbia, Canada to obtain a PhD in Forest Sciences. Since 2011, he has been a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada responsible for the breeding of poplar and willow trees. His work will inform the selection and development of native willow cultivars to combat the effects of climate change on the prairies ag‑landscapes. Research on shrub willows focuses on genetic, physiological, and environmental factors affecting biomass yield, nutrient uptake, and carbon sequestration potential on marginal lands. Recent efforts combine bioenergy and biochar to soil, which offers an opportunity to develop a carbon‑negative technology that improves the environment at the same time.

Dr Ian McIvor, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, New Zealand

Ian is a senior research scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. His research interests are poplar and willow cultivar development, bioengineering solutions using these species, and bridging the gap between research and practice through extension. He has studied tree‑soil interactions and their relevance to slope stabilization and soil conservation in pastoral hill country, a major issue in New Zealand. Ian is also general manager of the New Zealand Poplar & Willow Research Trust whose website (www.poplarandwillow.org.nz) is dedicated to the advocacy of poplars and willows. Ian served on the Executive Committee of IPC (formerly International poplar Commission) from 2016‑2021, and is a Vice‑chairperson of IPC Working Party 3 (Domestication and conservation of genetic resources)

Dr Niels Thevs, Central Asia Office of World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Kyrgyzstan

Dr. Nels Thevs has been heading the Central Asia Office of World Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Bishkek from 2014 till 2020 and moved on to GIZ afterwards. In the position with ICRAF, he worked on different agroforestry systems across Central Asia with a strong focus on agroforestry in irrigated agriculture and the impact of agroforestry on water resources, farm income, and agroforestry as element of forest landscape restoration. Before moving to Bishkek, he was scientist at University of Greifswald in Germany with projects in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and China (Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia) centering around sustainable land use and water resource management. Specific project areas were, among others, the Ili Delta, Syr Darya, Amu Darya, and Tarim River basins. These river and wetland related activities still are part of Dr. Thevs’ until today. Next to research work at University of Greifswald, he was engaged in teaching for international students in the fields of soil sciences and remote sensing.

Dr Nerea Oliveira, Forest Research Center (INIA‑CSIC), Spain

Dr. Nerea Oliveira, Post‑doctoral researcher at the Forest Research Center of the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology – Spanish National Research Council (INIA‑CSIC). Currently she is serving as deputy coordinator in IUFRO 2.08.04 Poplars and Willows. After receiving her PhD in Forestry Research from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), she obtained a postdoctoral position in the Forest Plantation Group at the Forest Research Center (INIA‑CSIC). Since the beginning, her research has focused on poplar short rotation woody crops managed under Mediterranean conditions. Her research covers various aspects of forest management, such as forest production and its prediction through modeling, clonal selection, or the study of ecosystem services, among others. The advances she has made during her short and intensive career have concentrated on improving the sustainability of biomass production from SRC plantations. For this reason, from her global and integrative perspective, she seeks to advance in different aspects linked to cultivation focusing on relevant aspects in the Mediterranean area.