Public-Private collaboration on Non-Wood Forest Products
The meeting, entitled Public-Private Collaboration in Non-Wood Forest Products and public goods, a chance for rural development, was organised by the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology, through its Forest Research Centre INIA-CIFOR, and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Environment.
The event brought together more than 50 researchers, forest owners, forest managers, stakeholders and agents from forest product value chains. The discussion centred on research priorities for multiple goods and services supplied by forests and woodlands and the challenges and opportunities for forestry in smart rural development.
NWFPs such as mushrooms, truffles or pine nuts are not just commodities, they are the base of value chains that include both harvesting and processing, as well as further associated activities such as recreational mycotourism, game hunting and gastronomy. These value chains are relevant for endemic rural development. However, forests also provide other important services for society, such as water protection, wildlife conservation, carbon sequestration and landscape. It was argued that, for these reasons, and due to their economic relevance, forests should be integrated into National Accounting systems.
The topics discussed during the meeting were common for many value chains: the need for multipurpose forest management guidelines; common problems of pillage; an informal economy that implies tax fraud and a black market; the necessity for definition of good practices; product standardisation; implementation of traceability systems; and due diligence in order to achieve healthy, legal and profitable subsectors.
The StarTree project, coordinated by EFI, brings together key research organisations and specialised SMEs to investigate and promote how multipurpose trees and non-wood forest products can be used to strengthen and diversify economic activities in rural areas.
Photo: Sven Mutke
StarTree is funded by the European Union through the Europeann Commission's FP7 Cooperation Work Programme.
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