SocialForest and Juntos por los Bosques

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SocialForest has been a member of the association Juntos por los Bosques(In English: Together for the woods) since 2016. Within this alliance, there are more than 30 Spanish institutions from the forestry sector that have joined forces to increase their political influence in environmental and forest matters. In this blog we would like to present the association to you and explain why their objectives and activities are so important for the forestry sector, our society and the environment. 

 

What is Juntos Por Los Bosques and what do they do?

Within this alliance there are more than 30 forestry enterprises, institutions and clubs  including the Clúster de Biomassa , PEFC-España, FSC-España and SocialForest – that fight for a mutual objective. The union´s goal is to create a greater political influence and to ensure that the forestry sector is granted a say in political decisions concerning the environment and woods, as well as the possibility to contribute to their sustainable management. Juntos por los Bosques wants to create greater awareness and knowledge of the forest’s value for society. To reach these aims they created a declaration with four proposals (presupuestos) including five steps of action which will be presented to the political groups and the ministry of agriculture and fishery, alimentation and environment (MAPAMA). They aim to present their request in the first 100 days of the legislation to achieve the greatest effect possible. During this period a lot of changes are conducted and new approaches can be implemented more easily.

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Qué son las cuatro propuestas?

  1. Importancia de los bosques y espacios forestales de España
  2. Los bosques, claves para abordar los principales retos que tenemos planteados
  3. Cinco medidas prioritarias para los primeros 100 días de gobierno
  4. Propuesta de estructuración administrativa de lo forestal en la AGE, para incluir los elementos clave relevantes para la política forestal, como desarrollo rural, aguas, medio ambiente, biodiversidad y agricultura en la forma de un departamento de la vida

 

What are the four proposals?

  1. Importance of the forests and forestry spaces in Spain
  2. The woods as a key to tackle global challenge
  3. Five priority measures for the first 100 days of the legislation period
  4. Administrative framework of forestry matters in the form of a life department in the Administración General del Estado (AGE.) This would aim to integrate key elements for forestry policy such as the development of rural regions, waters, environment, biodiversity and agriculture

 

Why is this necessary?

In the two first proposals Juntos por los Bosques calculates the forest’s value for the Spanish society:  54% of Spanish land is covered by woods – that adds up to around 27 million hectares. Due to human interaction in the form of reforestation and a natural expansion on abandoned spaces, forests are expanding rapidly. Moreover, they produce environmental goods and services. First and foremost, wood is used as a basic resource in various industries producing, for example firewood or furniture. In Spain, wood related sales generate 1.7% of GDP and 300.000 jobs. (Tablas Input – Output INE 2015) 40% of the renewable energy and 5% of the total energy consumption in Spain comes from our woods’ products. (IDAE 2015)

The main problem is that environmental services that are generated by the woods, are not entered or remunerated: We do not compensate forests for the regulation and improvement of water quality, neither for the decrease of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, for the control of erosion, desertification and maintaining biodiversity or its relevance for tourism and recreation.

We must keep in mind that our forests are capable of helping us to face our most problematic challenges. Juntos por los Bosques produces five decisive factors in this context:

 

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  1. Forests create employment, foster the development of the rural regions and establish territorial cohesion.

 

 

 

 

2. The forest is one of the most important weapons in the fight against climate change. Its products of wood and cork, with the aid of biomass, are the fundamental basis for a development of bioeconomy and clean energy.

 

 

 

3. They play a decisive role in the protection of soils and the prevention of desertification, since forests are able to regulate the hydrological circle. This can prevent more natural disasters.

 

4. Forests contain a large part of the world’s biodiversity which we have to maintain for ethical and strategic reasons.

 

5. Forests improve our quality of living by regulating the local climate, offering a unique scenery for locals, as well as tourists and are important spots for recreation and physical fitness.

 

 

 

 

If our forests can provide all the named advantages, although this depends considerably on an effective and sustainable forestry. We must ensure that owners and managers of forests follow sustainable rules in accord with the woods’ and environment’s needs.

 

 

What are the five proposed measures?

 

Página-31. Establishing a national forestry council as a consultative organ within the government for forestry matters.

 

 

 

Last week the appeal to the government to integrate this council into the ministry of agriculture and fishery, alimentation and environment was accepted.

 

 

 

2. Achieving the objectives of the Spanish forestry plan 2002 (Plan Forestal Español 2002.) This would be carried out with the aid of an appropriate endowment for the forestry sector in the general budget 2017 and the execution of the unutilised  2016 budget plans.

 

 

3. Start-up the socio-economic activation plan for the forestry sector PASSFOR by bringing together the committee representatives of this strategy.

 

 

4. Presentation of the measures for the personal income tax (IRPF), company tax, property tax, inheritance tax and gift tax in front of the ministry, to promote a sustainable forestry and mobilise existing resources.

 

5. Definition and decision of an ambitious working agenda for the legislation period in forestry matters

 

 

 

 

 

Why is SocialForest part of this initiative?

SocialForest has more than just one reason for participating. To start, SocialForest’s mission is also rooted in environmental and forest protection. With the aid of this association we want to augment the forestry sector’s political influence to give it a stronger voice in matters of forestry and wood management.  We believe that the main players in the forestry sector should be more integrated to better make decisions because they know the forests and can best assess its needs. With Juntos por los Bosques we can bring in our knowledge, experience and ideas. We have to become politically active in order to make a change in society and the environment. We must raise our voices together because that is where and how we can contribute to improvement and a positive development.

Another reason for our collaboration with Juntos por los Bosques is our active desire to create employment for social groups at risk of exclusion. We believe that the forest is our closest ally in this context. Juntos por los Bosques defines our woods as a creator of employment and territorial cohesion as well as a developer of rural regions; we add to this list; trainer and supporter of people with their social and personal development.

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