The 4th Forestry Congress of the Valencian Region, held on 10-11 November in Requena (Valencia, Spain), brought together more than 400 professionals and scientists from the sector. The congress focused on the role of forest management as part of the solution to the existing territorial imbalance between urban and rural areas in many Mediterranean regions and, specifically, in the Valencian Region.
The Polytechnic University of Valencia presented INFORMA at the event and discussed how Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) can increase the attractiveness of rural areas, putting them on an equal level with urban areas.
In Spain, a mass rural exodus led to depopulation and the abandonment of agroforestry activity in many inland and mountain areas in the 1960s and 70s. Although stopping rural exodus is difficult at the moment, it is possible to reverse the current inequalities that continue to cause depopulation.
“In the context of the foreseeable crises resulting from the climate emergency and the changing geopolitical situation, a return to rural areas is predicted for the near future. The conditions must be created for such a return in a fair and orderly manner”, said José-Vicente Oliver, INFORMA Project Coordinator at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
“Forest management, with the creation of value chains based on it (wood and derived products, bioenergy, cork, high-quality food products) is a basic tool for creating an economy in the territory, structuring rural societies and anticipating risks associated with the current situation, turning them into opportunities. The European INFORMA project will improve SFM in the different forest ecosystems in the EU to embed climate change adaptation and mitigation into management models while also contributing to rural development and to the welfare of people living and working in forest areas“, added Oliver.