27 years of Prof. Pretzsch and internationalization to Tharandt

Prof. Pretzsch in the Andes landscape ©IIFFP

On October 5th we gathered in a small group to commemorate the 27 years of leadership of Professor Pretzsch at the institute. Members of the team, his doctoral students and his wife wanted to wish him the best for this new stage of his life as senior professor. Complemented by a small buffet with delicacies from various countries, we had a toast to celebrate his unrivaled legacy and dedication in the tropical forestry field. Even Prof. Pretzsch prepared a cake with organic apples from his orchard, which he used to prepare in his students days and was a sought-after one among his peers.

Prof. Pretzsch presenting his homemade apple cake ©G. Huidobro

Not only that the apple cake made us acquainted to his beginnings, but also Prof. Kapp – a lifelong colleague of Prof. Pretzsch – opened the celebration with an honoring, memoir speech. He mentioned the various “stages”, summarizing the milestones in the life of Prof Pretzsch. It began with “Stage 1”, as they studied together in Freiburg, continued to the time Prof. Pretzsch did his doctoral thesis in the Ivory Coast, and ended with “Stage 5”. The red thread of this memoir reflected Prof. Pretzsch’s passion and dedication to livelihoods of communities in the tropics.

For this special occasion, we have prepared a short movie consisting of clips where alumni, former colleagues, and partners from different parts of the world extended their greetings. They mentioned memorable moments they have shared with Professor Pretzsch. Some of them remembered funny anecdotes, such as having learned the best wine to buy at Kaufland, theoretical frameworks taught in his classes, or other funny incidents while doing fieldwork.

Toast to celebrate Prof. Pretzsch legacy and dedication in the tropical forestry field ©G. Huidobro

In addition, current staff members and doctoral students of the institute prepared a hat for his “graduation” after being the chair holder for 27 years, but this was not the classic hat as is customary for doctoral graduations. It was a bamboo hat from Vietnam on which mostly forestry-related  objects from different parts of the world were attached: coffee beans and medicinal plants from Indonesia, Colombian coins minted with a symbolic tree, bamboo chopsticks from Vietnam, wooden figures from Cameroon, Sudanese gum arabic, and many other things.

Doctoral students from Vietnam and Prof. Pretzsch with the bamboo hat ©G. Huidobro

As a symbol of the knowledge he has shared and the fruitful legacy he has built, Prof. Pretzsch also received a voucher for fruit trees to plant in his meadow orchard. Additionally, he received a basket of non-timber forest products from Germany, and a baobab seedling to be planted as an ornamental plant.

Prof. Pretzsch continues now as a senior professor for three more years. His office is located at the “Beamtenhaus” in Tharandt. From October 1st we welcomed Prof. Lukas Giessen. From this day on, our institute also changed its name to “Chair of Tropical and International Forestry” (more information on this will come soon). On behalf of the institute and the many international students he has taught, we hope that we can continue his livelihood-oriented school of thought and we wish Prof. Pretzsch all the very best in his “Stage 6” as a senior professor.

By Kendisha Hintz, Maxi Domke and Gabriela Huidobro

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