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What is the Model Forest?

The Model Forest can be defined as “a partnership-based process through which individuals and groups, representing a diversity of values, work together toward a common vision for sustainable development of landscape in which forests are an important feature. Partnership shares their experiences and their knowledge to contribute to global environmental goals.”
In a model forest people represent a diversity of interests and perspectives form a neutral partnership based on one goal: to manage their own natural resources in a way which adapts to their local needs, taking into account their economic situation, environmental sustainability, cultural identities and also future generations.
Partnership in the Model Forest first define what “sustainability” means to them in the field of forestry, tourism, agriculture and use of natural resources and then develop a common vision in order to promote such sustainability. On this basis they establish their governance structure and elaborate a strategic plan. With the implementation of specific activities the partnership works together to reach their goals and their vision.
Every Model Forest’s initiative can become a candidate for inclusion in the International Model Forest Network.

Fundamental principles of the Model Forest

All Modern Forests share the same fundamental principles which ensure networking and knowledge-sharing.

These principles are following:

  1. Partnership: each Model Forest is an open forum that gathers representatives of the interest groups and the values associated to natural resources;
  2. Landscape: a large scale area representing a wide range of social, cultural, economic and environmental values;
  3. Sustainability: stakeholders are committed to the conservation and sustainable management of the forested landscape and its natural resources;
  4. Governance: the Model Forest management process is participative, transparent and promotes collaborative work among stakeholders;
  5. Program of activities: activities undertaken through a Model Forest reflect the common vision, needs and values of participants, taking also into account the needs of the community as a whole;
  6. Knowledge-sharing, capacity building and networking: Model Forest reinforce stakeholder’s capacity to commit themselves towards the sustainable management of natural resources, collaboration and sharing of lessons learned through networking.

Mediterranean Model Forest Network

The “Model Forest” concept was born at the beginning of the 90’s in Canada and for first time announced at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. Today, more than 60 Model Forests are active worldwide and are part of the International Model Forest Network and its six regional networks.
Mediterranean Model Forest Network, as a regional network, was created in 2008 in Spain because the Model Forest concept was first launched there and consequently, the first Model Forest on the Mediterranean, the Urbion Model Forest, was created.
Today, members of the MMFN are the Model Forests: Ifrane (Morocco), Yalova (Turkey), Montagne fiorentine (Italy) and the PACA candidate Model Forest (Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur, France). There are Model Forest initiatives that are still in the process of development in Croatia, Algeria, Tunisia, Sardinia (Italy), Salamanca (Spain), Corsica (France), Greece and Turkey.


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