StarTree General Assembly in Styria
More than 50 participants attended the 4th StarTree General Assembly meeting in Austria in April.
The three‐day meeting was held in the historic Stift Neuberg in the village of Neuberg an der Mürz. Neuberg is located in the heart of the Styrian Case Study region in South-Eastern Austria, which enabled close and fruitful interaction with regional stakeholders in the project.
The first day of the meeting consisted of work package (WP) parallel sessions, an item on the status of State of the Sector Report, in which preliminary results by WP leaders were presented, and a session on in-depth case studies and action research.
The field visit, on day 2, included “Cooking from the Meadow” with Renate Dobrovolny, a local expert on herbs, where participants were encouraged to pick wild flowers and herbs to make a smoothie and herb salt mix. Styria Nature Parks facilitates such events and activities to promote interaction with nature and environmental education, an alternative “product” to come out of the forests there.
Additionally, StarTree participants visited an organic Christmas tree plantation, run by family farm Reisinger. Christmas tree production is an important aspect of the forest economy in a region which is, nevertheless, dominated by the timber industry.
The “Market Place” and Knowledge Exchange Event has become one of the cornerstones of the StarTree General Assembly meeting. The “Market Place” facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experiences between science and practice. Strong collaboration with members of the Styrian Regional Stakeholder Group and the Austrian GA organising committee facilitated a truly excellent Market Place in Styria. Furthermore, the event was not simply a presentation of the varied local products to come out of Styrian forests but served also to provide the opportunity for mutually beneficial dialogue and discussion between the regional representatives and the project consortium.
On the whole, significant progress was made on all work packages, which are now moving from the initial data collection phase into in-depth case studies and data analysis. Some preliminary results were shared and it is hoped these will soon be available for further dissemination.
StarTree is an EU FP7-Collaborative Project that will show how Multi-Purpose Trees and Non Wood Forest Products can be used to strengthen and diversify economic activities in rural areas. StarTree is financed through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission under the research theme 'Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology' funded to foster a Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE).
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More information: Robert Mavsar, robert.mavsar (at) efi.int Photos: Sarah Adams
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