Management means better forests – forests of the future
15 October 2022 International Day of Rural Women
To highlight International Day of Rural Women, we give the word to women on the ground.
Forestry lecturer Paula Soares shared what the forest means to her personally and professionally, and what makes sustainable forest management so important.
What does the forest mean to you, both personally and professionally?
The forest reminds me of my childhood, of the holidays spent at the house of my grandfather in Marinha Grande and of my grandparents from Coimbra, in Oliveira do Hospital.
From the professional point of view, it is here in the house that I exercise my profession. I transmit knowledge to the students, hoping that they become responsible professionals and that they manage to do a good forest management and contribute to the development of the forestry sector in our country.
Why did you choose to work in forestry?
I came to the forest not exactly out of a great conviction, but it was my first choice, I stayed here, I did my undergraduate degree, my master’s, and doctorate here, I entered the technical career, later I became a teacher. My work, I believe, is quite important in the development of bioeconomy and sustainability.
What role does your work play for the development of the bio economy and sustainability?
Not so much in my day to day, because that is made of classes where I teach, but not the knowledge I have in the research projects where I am involved, namely in resin projects lately, therefore perfectly identifiable with the concept of bioeconomy as a natural resource, natural resin that allow the elaboration of products in substitution of oil derivatives.
And in the concept of sustainability of the forest that we have today, which will be the forest that we will have tomorrow, with the same or more possibilities and resources. It is in fact, this sharing that we do essentially with the students.
What is the impact of PEFC certification on your work?
In my work, PEFC certification does not have a direct effect, but it has an effect of transmitting knowledge to students through the work that certifying entities have been doing in Portugal, contributing to an adequate forest management and to the reduction of bottlenecks and threats to Portuguese forests. Because, in fact, what our forest lacks is essentially management. Management means better forests, fewer threats and a more resilient and capable forest, and a forest of the future, which is what we want.
International Day of Rural Women
On International Day of Rural Women, we celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against gender bias and take action for equality. We highlight this day by giving the word to rural women in forestry, to hear about their work, what the forest means to them, and what has changed in their field over time.