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We are borrowing the forest from our grandchildren

Amina Selmanović; assistant researcher and PhD student in Renewable Materials for Healthy Built Environments

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I was born and raised in the beautiful town of Bihać in Bosnia and Herzegovina, known for its natural beauty, particularly the emerald river Una. Currently, I live in Koper, and experiencing seaside living for the first time.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I studied forestry and completed my master’s degree in forest management. Through gaining an understanding of sustainable principles in natural resource management, I realized that there is a whole world of unexplored and untapped natural resources that we need to explore. By exploring the natural mechanisms of functioning, we can learn a lot from nature and how to give back to it.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I’m currently exploring tree extractives as natural defence mechanisms to protect wood from various threats. It’s a bit like learning from the trees themselves to find better ways of protecting them.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

It’s challenging to say that I have a specific routine because daily learning takes me in unexpected directions. Typically, there’s a significant amount of lab work followed by extensive studying, data analysis, and scientific activity planning. And, of course, nice lunch with my colleagues.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

The unknown.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge is maintaining a good balance between work and social life. We all should strive for a healthy balance to ensure that no aspect of our well-being is compromised.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

I am particularly fascinated by the scientists who pioneered the creation of devices for measuring various phenomena. Many inventions operate with the logical principles of natural laws, appearing deceptively simple yet intricately complex, especially if no one thought of it before you.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

I’m not someone with a pronounced sense of art, but I can say that music is a part of my daily life, and it changes depending on my mood.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

The last thing I’ve watched would be a movie called “A Beautiful Mind”.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

Mesečev zaliv.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Learning new skills, for sure.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

That was when I truly understood the words of my former professor, that we are borrowing the forest from our grandchildren. When I truly realized what that means, I became aware of the responsibility of sustainable management of natural resources. Renewable sources will remain renewable as long as we manage them sustainably, while knowing that we will not be the ones living with the results of our actions.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

It signifies great respect for what it is. A tree in the forest grows for many years, nourishes itself, defends against various factors, and as a result, we have wood. Don’t waste it!