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The Forestry Certification on Non-Industrial Private Forest and Communal Forest: Different Realities and Different Challenges. The Case of Galicia Region (NW Spain)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Rodríguez Vicente, V.; Marey Perez, M. F.; Fernàndez Alonso, S.
Conference: Building the European Commons: From Open Fields to Open Source, European Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)
Location: Brescia, Italy
Conf. Date: March 23-25
Date: 2006
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1850
Sector: Forestry
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
certification
community forestry
privatization
forest policy
Abstract: "The significant depletion and current state of the world- wide forest resources have generated important discussion with regard to sharing and developing knowledge in sustainable forest management by numerous research groups, at diverse disciplines and at different levels. Nowadays, the range of possibilities related to forest sustainability is diverse and have taken shape in standard patterns of forest certification and systems of Criteria & Indicators (C&I) at different work scales. In 2002, there were 124 million of forest hectares certified in the world, especially forest plantations with criteria of sustainable wood production. Nevertheless, sustainability patterns have been mainly developed in public forests or private forests of important industries, with a clear wood- production approach. Galicia is a region in NW Spain where public forest land represents only 3% of the surface, the communal forest land a 23% and the rest, individual owners (being almost all non-industrial private forest owners). For non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners, forest certification, as standard to follow, it supposes an important obstacle to overcome, given the scarce formation in the matter, the high production cost and maintenance, the competitive market conditions, and the low implication in multifunctional management. With these circumstances, it is not surprising that forest certification approaches more a barrier than an opportunity for small landowners. For communal land owners ('comuneiros'), the important decline of the traditional agroforestry system, the distrust in Forest Public Administration (sometimes vindicated) and the loss of the community forest culture have caused a non-sustainable management. Those factors have created a kind of 'Galician tragedy of commons', with an abandonment and loss of interest for managing these communal lands, which complicates the promotion of sustainable forest management practices and make no useful the introduction of forest certification schemes. Before this challenge, policy and researchers have on one hand to reorientate, define and optimize the current standards of forest certification, and on the other hand, to motivate sustainable practices in collective and individual private lands."

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