Three New Model Forest Members Added in June

29 June 2017 - The IMFN map changes again this month! As of June 2017, and as the Network celebrates its 25th anniversary, three new candidates join the list of Model Forests members. The latest additions are located in South America and Europe.

Floresta Modelo Amazonas-Tapajós, in Brazil’s northeastern Pará State, is named after the confluence of two great rivers: the Amazon and the Tapajós. With a territory of 3,886,857 ha, this Model Forest includes four Sustainable Use Conservation Units, such as the Tapajós National Forest, various protected or mixed-use zones, and municipalities such as Santarém, Aveiro and Belterra.

Santarem (Brazil) from ISS

Floresta Modelo Amazonas-Tapajós, at the confluence of the Amazonas and Tapajós rivers (Picture: NASA/ISS)

These municipalities cooperated with government agencies, such as the federal Serviço Florestal Brasileiro (SFB), NGOs and community-based organisations in establishing the fourth Model Forest from Brazil. The official proposal document presented to the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN/RIABM) generously underlines the work of Kolbe Soares, a Master’s student at Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) who laid the basis for establishing a Model Forest in the Amazon region. Brazil’s SFB picked up Soares’ efforts upon publications of his thesis in 2013.

The Model Forest approach is viewed as an optimal method to help establish Brazil’s policies of sustainable forest development and social inclusiveness, as well as filling a gap in providing a convening mechanism for multiple stakeholders across the landscape. Amazonas-Tapajós includes indigenous populations, small-holders farmers, forest industry, cooperatives, academia, municipal and federal governments, and others.

Bem-vindos! Welcome to the IMFN!

Bosque Modelo Villa Rica, Pasco Department, province of Oxapampa, Peru, becomes this Pacific coast nation’s third landscape to join the Network. With close to 90.000 ha within the Oxapampa Asháninca Yánesha Biosphere Reserve, this coffee-producing landscape is mountainous, the altitude varying from 500 to 2000 meters above sea level. Many cultures meet in Villa Rica: indigenous Asháninca, Yánesha, Andina people, and even Austro-Alemana.

Catarata Gallito de las Rocas, Villa Rica

Catarata Gallito de las Rocas, Villa Rica

There are high hopes that using the Model Forest approach will help the local partnership in sustainably managing the territory’s ecosystems, fortify the community’s efforts in accessing new markets – especially with regard to coffee production, encourage research and generate innovative ways to face the challenges brought about by climate change. Partners in Villa Rica Model Forest are looking forward to exchange experiences with other Model Forests, and to network with State and international cooperation actors.

Villa Rica can count with the active support of Peru’s National Forest Service (SERFOR) and Villa Rica District’s Municipality. It also benefits from the involvement of the Pasco Region Concerted Development Plan.

¡Bienvenido! Welcome to the IMFN!

These last two new Model Forest proposals received approval at this year’s Board of Directors’ meeting of the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (RIABM), held this June in Peru. The annual meeting, hosted and organised by Pichanaki Model Forest, Peru’s forest Service (SERFOR) and the RIABM, included a well-organised and highly motivating field visit within the Pichanaki Model Forest.

During the RIABM Board meeting, a region-wide gender equality and equity strategy also received official approval, as a means to strengthen gender inclusiveness and participation.

“The IMFN Secretariat is very excited about the Amazonas-Tapajós and Villa Rica Model Forests joining the International Model Forest Network. In both Model Forest landscapes, the stakeholders have a high degree of social organisation, especially in the form of associations and cooperatives,”  said Richard Verbisky, Head of the IMFN Secretariat.

“That said, to work collectively across the landscape, the Model Forest has been adopted as a process to assist in convening and linking multiple stakeholders. As a network committed to knowledge-sharing and capacity-building, the International Model Forest Network looks forward to the contributions these new Model Forests will provide in terms of sharing lessons learned and further strengthening Model Forests throughout the network.”

Czech Republic Model Forest, thousand of kilometers and an ocean away, is the first Model Forest established in this nation. At 90.161 ha., making up 1.14% of the total area of the whole country, the site is dispersed across four discontinuous locations at different ends of the country: the Bezděz Forest Park (north), Křivoklátsko Forest Park (west), Masaryk Forest Křtiny Forest Park (east) and Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve (south-east).

MFCzechRepublic

Model Forest Czech Republic (picture: Pilar Valbuena)

The landscapes of this new Model Forest belong mainly to national agencies, with Military Forests and Farms (MFF) and Forests of the Czech Republic (FCR) being the two initial founders of the association. Public Benefit Corporations are also stakeholders in this Model Forest, as is the Mendel University (Brno). Recreation and tourism are the main activities taking place on all four sites, with Masaryk also serving as a training site for Mendel University. Some agriculture and fish farming also takes place.

The Czech Republic Model Forest brings together a diversity of landscapes and partnerships throughout the country with partners working together to achieve forest sustainability in highly managed areas. The Křtiny Forest Park boasts the purest air quality in Europe, and the second highest rating for recreational potential catering to cyclists, hikers and birdwatchers. In the Křivoklátsko Forest Park important partners include farmers who are working with foresters to create small patch-sized fields surrounded by wetlands and shelterbelts, to enhance biodiversity. In the Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve, wine producers are among the partners. It is truly a beautiful landscape, the result of many people working together to enhance sustainability.

“The establishment of a Model Forest will, among other things, enhance the participatory aspect of management in which important stakeholders play an equal role”, asserts the Czech Republic Model Forest Strategic Plan. The Association also states as a goal to “create the space for innovative ideas and exchange of information and experience, with the common goal to conserve all the natural and cultural values of a cultural landscape, through the application of sustainable use of natural resources and through a harmonious development of the society.”

“We are pleased to welcome the first Model Forest in Central Europe to the IMFN family,” said Christa Mooney, Program Specialist with the IMFN Secretariat. “This site is 10 years in the making and comes to us with a wealth of expertise and an enthusiasm to share experiences across the Network.”

The assessment of Czech Republic Model Forest occurred last month, with a field visit by a representative of the IMFN Secretariat and Prince Albert Model Forest (Canada). One aspect of the Czech model that struck a chord with delegates was the close collaboration between Model Forests and Biosphere Reserves. A national conference on the Model Forest approach took place during the visit where representatives from Italy’s Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest also took part.

The Czech Republic Model Forest obtained full membership status this week. Vítejte! Welcome to the IMFN!