Sustainable Forest Management: A Pragmatic Approach

Galicia is the most important forestry region of Spain, but its potential of producing the forest products is underdeveloped. A healthy and growing forestry sector could be an engine for regional and rural economic development, but forest management is impeded by forest ownership patterns. Most forests in Galicia are privately owned in small, scattered holdings that make it difficult to carry out the sustainable forest management required for forest sector development.

A comprehensive sustainable forest management (SFM) strategy, based upon internationally recognized principles of sustainability, has been proposed as a means of rectifying the situation in Galicia. This strategy involves eight lines of actions that include such initiatives as improved legislation, increased public education and participation, and a new process for sustainable forest management that would be run by the government.
This paper outlines the strategy, then goes on to describe new forest management processes and supporting technologies that are seen as necessary for promoting sustainable forest management in a region predominated by small forest ownerships. The new process will be based upon hierarchical and integrated forest management concepts, but will involve innovative approaches to regional and forest district management. The paper ends with a brief description of the initial steps that have been taken to implement the SFM Strategy of Galicia.

University of New Brunswick, Canada