Short description of the project

The concept appears as a new and original instrument of territorial governance, well adapted to address the recurrent challenges of the Mediterranean forest which, according to widely shared agreement, requires a large, multifunctional approach in a perspective of comprehensive area-based management and local development based upon the valorisation of all wood and non-wood resources. It is only the development of such an approach which will allow to act by anticipation on the causes of wildfires, in advance enough to significantly reduce the risk, on a longer-term basis.

A Model Forest is a «development process based upon partnership, through which individuals and groups representing a diversity of values work together in a common vision for the sustainable development of a landscape in which forests represent a critical feature ». Regions and countries of the two rims of the Mediterranean have launched in 2007 a Mediterranean Model Forest Network aiming at the promotion of this concept.

Today there is a need for a solid transnational cooperation to define the bases of a “Model Forest” model well adapted to the Mediterranean context. The objective of the MED project is to set up a new coordination method of regional policies related to the forest and to improve the territorial governance by a common definition of a “Mediterranean model” of Model Forest and its concrete implementation: the creation of the first Model Forest in each region (the second in the case of Castilla y Leon) is the concrete objective of all the partners.

The working programme follows a logical framework of progression in three steps, partly overlapping in time:

- component 1 : definition of a Mediterranean model of Model Forests in order to provide the partners, and all the Mediterranean regions, with the useful information for the creation of Model Forests in the Mediterranean (methodological guide),

- component 2 : concrete implementation of a common strategy for the creation and development of Model Forests in the Mediterranean : creation of one Model Forest per region (site selection, partnership animation, international application),

- component 3 : definition of a promotion strategy of the transnational Model Forests network created in the framework of the project, with the objective of promoting the Model Forest as an innovative and original tool for territorial governance of forest-dominated landscapes, and integrating it into regional policies.

The dissemination of this territorial governance model will benefit, beyond the territory of the new Model Forests, first to the totality of the forest territories of the project partners, but also to all the partners of the Mediterranean Model Forest Network. In fine, it seems reasonable to wait for an impact of this project on the whole Mediterranean.