Sustainability of Mediterranean Spanish forest management through stakeholder views

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Sustainability of Mediterranean Spanish forest management through stakeholder views

The management of forests that considers the social and environmental aspects associated to the forest activity is called sustainable forest management (SFM). There is not an agreed definition to be applied worldwide. This study intends to find out the requirements of SFM in the Mediterranean region and takes Spain as a case study. It is also aimed to determine the sustainability of current forest management in Spain, the difficulties to achieve SFM and proposals to do so. An initial diagnosis of the situation in Spain is obtained by means of a SWOT analysis and, then, a questionnaire with forestry experts is carried out to verify and broaden the conclusions of the analysis. Results show that the key aspects of SFM are management planning, the consideration of the natural resources (biodiversity, habitats, soil and water), and the contribution to rural development. Management planning and rural development are scarcely considered currently in forest management (12% of the forest area has a management plan). The main difficulties that explain this situation are the low profitability of Mediterranean forests, the lack of economic compensation for the ecosystem services (ES) provided by forests, and the bad coordination between forestry and land planning. The way to SFM goes through the existence of fair mechanisms that pay forest owners for the ES provided and the market promotion of all forest products. For the previous to succeed, it is relevant to make society aware of the matter. Finally, it is important to increase inventory and data collection on forests to identify priorities of research and management.

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