Promoting the sustainable management of Mediterranean forests
The forests of the Mediterranean basin provide a significant contribution to the region’s rural development, poverty alleviation and food security. As well as being sources of wood, cork, energy, food and income, they also provide important ecosystem services and play a crucial role within many of the region’s economic sectors.
While the region’s forests are vital, they also face many challenges, among them the effects of a changing climate, unsustainable exploitation and growing populations. With the aim to develop and promote sustainable management of Mediterranean forests, PEFC is collaborating with MENFRI, the Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation.
The project was officially launched in 2014 at the PEFC Forest Certification Week, with representatives from PEFC and MENFRI discussing how to work together to develop sustainable forest management certification throughout the Mediterranean Basin region.
Together with MENFRI we are focusing on the three Maghreb countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, working together to increase awareness in sustainable forest management and forest certification through a series of outreach activities, including training and pilot projects.
In the long term, we aim to develop an exchange platform among the forest actors within the Maghreb region in order to develop sustainable forest management in the region, before expanding in other Mediterranean countries.
MENFRI is an EU funded research project aiming at fostering international cooperation amongst the Mediterranean region in the field of forestry. By setting up a discussion platform, MENFRI aims at exchanging best practices, contacts and knowledge, and at promoting the Mediterranean forestry as an innovative and job creating sector able to face global changes.
Elsewhere in the Mediterranean…
Alongside our work with MENFRI, we are involved in a wide range of projects within the Mediterranean region.
We are undertaking outreach and awareness raising activities in the countries of the region that do not have a national forest certification system and are not covered by the MENFRI project, such as Albania, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro. This has included various outreach activities in Croatia and Montenegro, and in Greece we are in the process of developing a larger scale project.
Significant progress has also been made in Turkey, as we support the country in establishing a National Governing Body while developing a certification system.
The production of cork plays an important role in many rural areas of the Mediterranean region, and if managed appropriately its production is sustainable.
We have been working with PEFC Spain and other partners in the region for several years to promote the certification of cork – creating demand and awareness among wine producers and retailers while encouraging forest owners in Portugal, Spain, France, Algeria and Italy to produce PEFC-certified cork.
Food from the forest
It is not only cork that can be found wild in the forests of Spain and Italy, but also nuts, mushrooms, fruits and berries, spirits, medicinal herbs and honey. Furthermore, all these products, and their production, have a strong impact on both countries’ rural economies.
Our first project in this region supported Cesefor as they developed a traceability system to track mushrooms from the forest to the plate. This was followed by a PEFC Spain led project to increase PEFC certification within the wild food products sector of Spain through a far reaching awareness raising campaign.