Concession to a private logging company for forest clearance in Collserola Natural Park
Region & country
Catalonia - Spain
In order to reduce fire risk in Collserola natural park, a concession has been granted to a logging company to exploit the forest. In this way, the forest is cleared at no cost for the park.
Collserola natural park
Collserola natural park
Background of the project
During last 75 years, intense urban development has been coupled with progressive abandonment of agricultural activities and cessation of forest exploitation. These changes in land-use are responsible for the expansion of forests, which in populated areas becomes a synonym of fire risk increase. It also causes a loss of habitats diversity which, in turn, hastens the loss of biodiversity. This situation is particularly intense in the Parc of Collserola – a Mediterranean forest park of more than 8.000 ha located in the center of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and surrounded by more than 3 M inhabitants.
Forest clearance and management is a way to reduce inflammable material while promoting species competition and reducing hydric stress in such a way as to obtain a healthy, structured forest. However, it is an expensive activity for the machinery and human resources needed and because of the uneven topography (with many hills). Thus, in Collserola, this activity is almost inexistent.
Solution and actions taken
We have planned to offer private companies free exploitation of wood.
- Open a tender for the exploitation of wood. In order to exploit forests, it is mandatory to apply policy instruments set by Catalan administration and the Park. The contract lasts 15 years and, if needed, can be enlarged to 20. It covers 1000 hectares. Each year, the company has to exploit 1/15 of the area. It is considered that in 15 – 20 years the cycle would be completed.
- Promote the creation of an Association of private forest owners in order to sign contract with a forest logging company similar to those of the public administration (Park) and to opt to allowances granted by public administration (Catalan government, Barcelona Provincial Council, etc.).
Other institutions or parties involved
- Forest logging companies
- Catalan administration
- Private owners
- The project is in progress and it is delivering good results.
- Inflammable wood extracted is about 55 – 70 T per hectare
- The Park saves around 3600 € / hectare in clearance works
- Lack of enough earnings from the forest logging company at the beginning of the project
- Since it is a Natural Park, this activity is subject to nature conservation priorities. Thus, nesting periods have to be respected and no activities should be carried out (15 march – 15 July)
- This is an area of fire high risk, and therefore it is not recommended to perform activities from 15 June – 15 September that could put at risk both workers handling machineries that could set a fire.
These types of projects need a large dose of patience. Politicians expect immediate results; however, results of forest works are long-term. Pedagogy is needed to change perception of people and polititians, who tend to see forestry works as gardening. They expect that forests should be “clean” like a garden.
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