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Good practice 4: Sustainable forest management for green infrastructure

Applying the good practice in Valencia

The forestry sector is constantly changing and is moving towards a more adaptive management system that takes ecological interactions into account. This is especially important in the Mediterranean, where forestry has lost most of its economic importance.

In contrast to Latvia, forests in Spain generally have greater social and recreation functions. Approaches similar to sustainable forest management are therefore more commonly applied. However, the study visits and exchanges of experience also highlighted some factors common to both regions. These include the intensive historical use of forests, which has shaped forest systems with relatively low species diversity and simplified structural and ecological dynamics.

The good practice aims to promote forests with greater natural values and is being implemented in the Autonomous Region of Valencia at two levels:

  • Specific good practice application in the context of the LIFE Renaix el Bosc project. Examples of measures taken include reducing competition in key stands to improve seed production and leaving a proportion of dead wood to promote species and morphological diversity.
  • The application of the general principles of sustainable forest management in the Natura 2000 Special Protection Area (SPA) management plans, which have long-term objectives. A specific example is the development of approaches that respect the intermediate disturbance hypothesis.

The next steps in implementing the good practice are to apply the approach to the LIFE Renaix el Bosc project (where a more diverse forest is being developed on abandoned agricultural land by reducing tree density and introducing key species); and to develop an appropriate management plan for the SPA situated in the mountainous areas of Castellon province. This region is becoming more important as a source of environmental services and as a landscape that plays an important role in tourism. Conserving biodiversity and managing forests in a way that promotes the achievement of these objectives is an opportunity to introduce new practices that can be accepted by local inhabitants and landowners.

© The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe