URBIÓN :: International Network of Model Forests 2009
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The Regional Government of Castilla y León (Spain) has a broad experience working in order to promote sustainable forest management through different departments that include Forest Services as well as investigation lines. These departments are made up of very specialized personnel that develop and carry out the forest managament documentation that guarantee sustainable forest management. This has been certified by different standards and now, the possibility of sharing and contrasting experiences with members of the international network of model forests is been considered.

The Regional Forest Plan 2002-2027 of Castilla y León has the following aims:

To contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the environment, its resources and its biological and landscape diversity.
To contribute to the sustainable rural development.
To promote the great variety of functions of the mountains.
To promote the participation of the main associations and enterprises of the sector and provide them with a better organization and cohesion.

In order to achieve these aims while improving the sustainable character of their forest managament standards and to share and learn from other experiences, the Junta of Castilla y León is a member of the international model forest network. With the recent foundation of Monte Modelo Urbión (Model Mountain of Urbión) in Castilla y León, the IMFN expands its area of action to the Mediterranean, a region with its own specific characteristics and dynamics. Amongst them are the importance of regional and local governments in forest managament, the reality of the impact caused by climate change and the importance of matters for the region such as forest products and non woody services, bioenergy, natural hazards (fires and others) and the forest dynamics related to human activities (depopulation, urban growth in forests and others). Each of them has quite distinctive charactaristics all along the area that goes from the northern part to the southern area.

The 20th of March 2007, the Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Castilla y León (Ministry of Environmental Issues of the Government of Castilla y León) organized a workshop in collaboration with our Model Mountain Urbión, in which took part a group of regional governments, associations of forest owners and other representatives of the Mediterranean area. This workshop, that had the support of the IMFN regional directors, and the following workshops that took place between the 11th and the 13th of July 2007 in Rome (Italy) and on the 19th and 20th of December in Marseilles (France) were aimed to introduce the concept of MF (Model Forest) and the characteristics of the IMFN as well as to collect opinions and strategic orientation related to the viability of Mediterranean model forests and the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN). This conceptual work summarizes the results of both workshops.

Through the different workshops in which regional governments, associations of forest owners and other representatives of the Mediterranean area took part and with the support of the IMFN regional networks, cooperation was agreed in order to create a network of territories that shared the same common aim, that is, the development of the concept of a model forest in the Mediterranean environment under the name of Mediterranean Model Forest Network and its integration in the International Model Forest Network.

At a higher operational level, the Mediterranean network has two functions: at a local level, pretends to promote the local governability of forest landscapes through the creation of model forests; at a regional level, its aspiration consists in developing and supporting the opportunities that working in the model forest network provides in all the Mediterranean in order to speed up the learning process and innovation in favor of the aims agreed previously.

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