Sustainable and near-nature forest management

The aim of this project is to establish a multi-functional and sustainable forest management plan for woodland in public ownership in the Municipality of Altzo (Gipuzkoa province, Spain). All management activities will be based on natural processes and will respect ecosystem dynamics.

European forests cover 32% of Europe’s land surface. Looking at the European landscape history, legacies of both, naturally dynamic forests and cultural landscapes need to be considered in managing today’s forests and are an important starting point for the maintenance of landscape biodiversity and more specifically forest biodiversity. With its focus on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and on structure, functionality and resilience of the forests, near-nature concepts of forest management break with many of the mono-functional management principles used in conventional forest management that have been applied in Altzo and Gipuzkoa province over the last decades which have focused on intense use and timber exploitation of the forests.

In a first step, Paisaia European Landscape Foundation gathers information about the current status of the forests on about 400 hectares of woodland in Altzo. Based on this inventory, sustainable measures and techniques for the near-nature, sustainable exploitation and use of forests are developed, which improves the structure, resilience and functionality of the forests. Hereby, traditional forest management techniques and uses are prioritised (or recovered, where possible). These traditional techniques and uses form part of the cultural landscape of Gipuzkoa. The management activities are accompanied by public outreach activities, which show the importance of the forest and the ecosystem services it provides to the public.

In this project, Paisaia European Landscape Foundation works closely with the Municipality of Altzo and the Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa.