en.econostrum

           

A strategic framework for sustainable forests in the Mediterranean



EUROPA / MEDITERRANEAN. Mediterranean forests may be wonderful reservoirs of biodiversity, but they are more under threat than they are the focus of large international organisations. In Tlemcen (Algeria) on 21 March 2013, a dozen Mediterranean environment ministries agreed on a strategic framework for action for the integrated management of these ecosystems. The Blue Plan tasked Marion Briens with coordinating the process.



The situation of Mediterranean forests must therefore be made more visible (photo MN)
The situation of Mediterranean forests must therefore be made more visible (photo MN)
Forests are substantial in the North and more fragile in the South: What links the countries involved in the Strategic Framework?

Forests in both the southern and northern Mediterranean are global hotspots for biodiversity. In general, however, they are not as well-known for this as tropical forests are. The situation of Mediterranean forests must therefore be made more visible, as well as creating a better understanding of the services they provide.
 
Who is involved and why?
 
Presenting a united front to donors has real advantages. You come across as more consistent with clear objectives and where everything has been thought out, and this makes a difference. The European Union likes the southern Mediterranean to be involved in projects. For many stakeholders in Europe, only northern forests count. In fact, Mediterranean forests don’t have the same status as Finnish or Swedish forests which are exploited and from which commercial stakeholders derive an immediate and sustainable financial benefit. A different rationale should therefore be built based on the importance of biodiversity and the services forests provide for the human population.
 
What would this rationale include?
 
There would be a long list! First and foremost, I would point out that Mediterranean forests play a vital role in making sure local populations have a protected water supply.
The services Mediterranean forests provide are rarely commercial in nature, and are essentially to do with the environment. That said, the leisure functions of forests, already seen in northern countries, are also developing in the South. While the products from Mediterranean forests don’t provide stakeholders with much economic gain, non-degradation can also be financially beneficial. The UN-REDD initiative is currently opening up the possibilities.

So non-degradation of forests can be rewarded?

Mediterranean forests don’t have the same status as Finnish or Swedish forests which are exploited (photo MN)
Mediterranean forests don’t have the same status as Finnish or Swedish forests which are exploited (photo MN)
What is this initiative?
 
The Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation programme aims to fight global warming by protecting forests, which are significant carbon stores. Non-degradation means forests can continue to benefit the environment in this way and this can be financially rewarded. The beneficiary of the environmental service (a smaller or greater community depending) can finance non agricultural clearance for example. Some mineral water companies have been doing this in Europe for a long time.
 

 

Marion Briens (photo DR)
Marion Briens (photo DR)
What is the outlook for the Tlemcen Strategic Framework  ?
 
That the main stakeholders have come to an agreement is already an important step. They now wish to expand on both knowledge of this environment and the means to take full advantage of it and protect it. They are looking for tools to improve governance around forest areas. Involving local populations in this is fundamental.


Version française

Michel Neumuller, MARSEILLE


Tuesday, May 28th 2013



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