EFIMED Week 2013: a personal overview

sant pauSA1.jpg : 134.3330078125KbEvery year EFIMED devotes significant working hours and material resources into EFIMED Week, but this effort is more than worth it and has impacts and benefits in multiple respects. EFIMED week 2013 is now over but its echo will be with us for much time to come. Now there is much work to do to build on the ideas and connections we have all made in these intense days.

We dedicated much of the Annual Meeting to presentations and discussion on the progress and future of the FORESTERRA ERA-Net. This initiative aims at coordinating forest research in the Mediterranean and a future call for joint projects was announced for the end of the year. The amount of available funding will fall short of the original target but even so, it is good news and has already stimulated scientific discussion and approaches for potential proposals. This represents a small but significant contribution to overcome fragmentation in the Mediterranean forest research landscape.

However, fragmentation is only one of the challenges we are currently facing. Mediterranean forests are complex socio-ecosystems with multiple dimensions and multiple connections to other research fields, as we explored in the innovative and participative Scientific Seminar on Complexity Science and Mediterranean forests. We hope this Seminar contributed to increase common understanding between forest researchers, practitioners and decision makers and that it will lead to a stimulating, multi-author, perspective paper as the outcome of the very interesting writing workshop.

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The cross-sectoral nature of forests is having an increasing influence in research agendas and should open opportunities for research topics and alliances. In order to explore this new territory, we invited representatives from various ERA-Nets and other Mediterranean Climate Areas to broaden our perspective. Water JPI, Platform, ERANET-Med and JPI FACCE presented their priorities in relation to water, biodiversity or agriculture in the Mediterranean and it is down to us now to build on these first steps and keep working to integrate forest research into those broader agendas. Furthermore, invited speakers from California, Australia, Chile and South Africa delivered a clear message: there is potential and willingness to increase transoceanic Mediterranean forest research partnerships. Again, it is our challenge to cross this open door and to develop stable and fruitful partnerships.

cocktail4_250.jpg : 83.7978515625KbFinally, one of the highlights of this EFIMED Week has been the inauguration of the new EFI Barcelona premises. These marvellous facilities are located in an extraordinary Art Nouveau complex that has been restored with intelligent solutions and a breath-taking attention to detail. It reflects commitment, knowledge and love, inspiring us to make the best of these new offices and to pursue those same values of excellence and dedication.

It is clear that one of the most important functions of EFIMED WEEK is to give all network members the opportunity to gather for a few days, interact, extend and strengthen personal and institutional networks. For me it was truly great to meet so many of you personally and to exchange ideas and thoughts about the present and future. I am certain that the overall result of this EFIMED week will help us in shaping our work and finding strength and motivation to push forward this great transnational forest-based network.

Photos: (1) Sarah Adams: (2 & 3) Robert Ramos/FundaciĆ³ Privada Hospital de Sant Pau

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