Participative Management of Community Forest (Montes de Socios)
Wang Yueqi   May 04.2016


Year: 2012
Country: Spain
The initiative concerns participative management of community forests performed by the ASFOSO Association in the province of Soria (Spain) and in other Spanish provinces and regions. Before the management system was introduced, around 25%of the forest area in the province was abandoned (approx. 150,000 ha). Lack of a legal framework that would allow for appropriate management was resulting in under use of forest resources. From the social side, the legal co-owners of the community forests (approx. 120,000 people) were unable to actively execute their rights due to lack of sufficient legal framework.

Reason to Be Selected

According to the legal framework binding in that time, unanimity decision rule was applied to all community forests. However, due to the large number of co-owners (300-400 per each community forest) the decision making process was extremely difficult. The reason for such a situation was that thecurrent co-owners are the 4th or 5thgeneration heirs of the initial group of 30-40 neighbours who had purchased their local forests in the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. Along the years, the original administration run by neighbours disappeared in spite of the fact that their heirs kept the ownership rights.
In order to put the issue on stage and raise the public awareness of the situation the ASFOSO Association was founded in 1988 in Soria. The Association focused on overcoming the legal blockage, using the knowledge and first-hand experience on local forests and adjacent neighbourhoods. The initiative undertaken by ASFOSO made the national and regional authorities interested in the issue. The effort was culminated in2003 when the 10th Additional Provision of the Forestry Law was approved. The amendment introduced the legal concept of a Forest Management Board possible to be established by at least 11 current co-owners. Once established a Forest Management Board, the co-owners have the right to make legally valid decisions about their community forest. In this way they can effectively manage and make use of the forest, energy and fossil resources.    
As a result, the first Forest Management Board was established in 2007 in the province of Soria. Since that time 21 more ones have been created in the same province.




Soria - (City IQ)

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