Successful hybrid doctoral defense of Busha Teshome on cluster analysis for forest and wood-processing industry sector development in Ethiopia

On September 29th 2021, Busha Teshome Tolera from Ethiopia successfully defended his doctoral defense. Busha conducted his research on “Cluster analysis for forest and wood-processing industry sector development in Ethiopia“, which contributed to the WoodCluster project.

Busha Teshome Tolera during his doctoral defense (©Tolera)

Busha was supervised by Prof. Jürgen Pretzsch (Chair of Tropical and International Forestry, TU Dresden, Germany), Dr. Habtemariam Kassa (CIFOR, Ethiopia office), and Prof. Dietrich Darr (Faculty of Life Sciences, Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany). Busha received a scholarship from the DAAD. Field expenses and the consultation workshop of the research have been funded by the WoodCluster project and has been additionally supported by the Rufford Foundation.

Busha during his doctoral defense (©Tolera)

Busha works as a researcher for the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, and in 2015, he moved to Dresden to pursue his doctoral degree. Since Busha has moved back to Ethiopia in 2019, the doctoral defense was conducted in a hybrid manner. The doctoral defense committee, i.e. Prof. Kapp as the chairman, Prof. Pretzsch as the first reviewer, and Kendisha S. Hintz as the protocol writer, gathered in the main campus in Tharandt. Busha and his second reviewer, Dr. Kassa, were in their office premise in Addis Ababa, while Prof. Darr tuned in from his office in Kleve. It was attended by about 20 participants, off- and online.   

Given the estimated wood supply gap of almost 40 million m3, Ethiopia faces a prevailing challenge to meet its rising wood demand. Busha’s doctoral thesis aimed to improve the understanding of forest sector and wood processing industries in Ethiopia in view of increasing productivity and reducing wood gap at the national level and thereby increasing forestry sector contribution to the national economy. Busha employed cluster analysis and highlighted the importance of wood processing industry and smallholders in contributing to the increasing wood demand in Ethiopia. In an effort to reduce wood product gap, three wood product supply scenarios were developed using a consultative National Scenario Workshop. The said workshop was part of the WoodCluster project, as indicated in the study (more details about the workshop have been covered in our blog article). 

Despite the technical problem faced in the beginning of the defense, Busha managed to keep his composure and tackled the defense well. Busha’s doctoral thesis is a timely investigation and a starting point for further research endeavors. Due to its hybrid format, we could not, unfortunately, hold the institute tradition for doctoral graduates, namely the coronary of the legendary institute hat and have a post-defense party. However, his fellow institute colleagues managed to do an online “curiosum”, where we asked Busha some trivial and funny questions during Busha’s doctoral phase spent in Dresden. On behalf of the institute, we congratulate Busha for his work and wish Busha much success in his career!

Busha and fellow institute colleagues during the online “curiosum” (©IIFP)

By Kendisha S. Hintz, with the support of Busha Teshome Tolera

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