AIFM started on March 1st, 2015, a 3-years project with MAVA - Foundation for Nature, focused on the creation of a Network of High ecological value forested areas. More information on medforval.aifm.org/en
The MEDFORVAL project aims to create a collaboration between practitioners and policy makers from different sectors of the Mediterranean on concrete measures to protect, manage or restore the ecological values of their respective sites, through networking.
High ecological value is a concept insufficiently developed and not spread enough; the project will help better define it and disseminate it to reach a broader audience. A first idea was developed during an expert workshop in September 2014, identifying three attributes of forested areas: dynamics and ecosystem functioning, age and maturity, diversity (vulnerability - rarity, richness).
Three results are expected in this project:
- Identification, networking and collaboration of 15-20 forested areas
- Utilisation of this network to exchange best practices, knowledge and expertise, implement pilot projects and develop project proposals
- Dissemination of information on environmental values and threats to Mediterranean forests, particularly in international forums among policy makers from different sectors.
The project is part of AIFM's international actions, in particular in the framework of the Collaborative Parnership on Mediterranean Forests and of the Strategic Framework for Mediterranean Forests (SFMF - axes 1, 3, 5 and 6).
Results as of March 1st, 2016
After the first year, the network is rich of 19 sites spread over the entire Mediterranean basin and grouped into four ecological clusters.
A launching workshop was held in Martigues (France) in July 2015, enabling network members to meet and define together a common strategy and action plans. The first tools for partners (particularly the website and the forum) were also defined before being implemented.
A first call for small projects was launched in late 2015, and four grants were awarded to implement concrete actions in the field. These four projects are: response to the return of a large predator (Arabian Caracal - Lebanon), data collection to obtain a protection status (Bosnia and Herzegovina), awareness-raising campaign (Jordan-Israel) and environmental education on old-growth forest and dead wood (Spain).
Network members have also started to work together to develop proposals for joint projects on multiple sites in order to sustain the network's actions.
Finally, the network and the project have been presented internationally, with posters accepted at the XIV World Forestry Congress (Durban, South Africa, September 2015) and EcoPlantMED Conference (Beirut, Lebanon, October 2015), and a presentation at the 6th Steering Committee of the CPMF (Rabat, Morocco, November 2015).
Actions planned for 2016 and next steps
2016 will see the implementation of the action plans defined in July 2015, through the implementation of the small projects, the drafting of new project proposals across the network, the animation of the project website (in particular the forum), the organization of exchange visits between sites, and the holding of the annual meeting in Prespa (Greece) in July 2016.
Moreover, the project and the network will continue to be presented internationally, particularly in the context of a fundraising strategy to ensure the sustainability of the network.
2017, last year of the project, will be devoted to capitalisation, with, in addition to the actions planned in 2016, the publication of a special issue of the “Forêt Méditerranéenne” journal, the publication and dissemination of a policy brief, and the organization of a side event dedicated to the project at an international forum (CPMF, MFW, COFO ...).
Finally, the network will have to expand with the inclusion of new sites.
More information on medforval.aifm.org/en
2016 MEDFORVAL network meeting - Prespa (Greece) - ©Marine Lovero