Urbión Model Forest

Country: Spain
Location: Region of Castilla and León
Year joined IMFN: 2006
Area of Model Forest: 120,000 hectares
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network

Contact: urbion@imfn.net
Web
: www.urbion.es

Forest profile and resources

The Urbión Model Forest is notable for being the most extensive continuous wooden area on the Iberian peninsula. The region of Pinares de Burgos-Soria covers some 120,000 hectares, and can be defined at the forest level by the production of native Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Typically, the forest is owned by towns and private landowners. Although this species of pine is the one most often cited, it co-exists with others, such as Maritime pine (P. pinaster), common beech (Fagus sylvatica), Austrian pine (P. nigra), Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) and Portuguese oak (Quercus faginea). 

The southern border of the region is home to one of the best representations of Iberian juniper, protected by the national park at Cañón del Río Lobos. It holds a great variety and wealth of mycological species, and is recognized for its collection of  edible wild mushrooms (Boletus edulis and Lactarius deliciosus, among others). With regard to the fauna, notable examples include the wild boar, roe deer and stag. Other representative species include the fox, badger, wildcat, hare, sparrowhawk, long-eared owl, and the (least) weasel, among others.

Economic profile

With more than 150 wood-related businesses and 2000 workers, the forestry sector in the region provides work for more than 50% of the active population (population of approximately 15,000 persons). The wood is marketed with the quality seal “Pino Soria Burgos”. The area has been managed for 100 years, not only for wood, but also for resin harvesting, mushroom harvesting, and other protected assets. 

The businesses located in the municipalities belonging to Soria represent 9.12% of the province’s total companies and 7.75% of its workers. By comparison, the province of Burgos represents only 1.54% of the province's companies and 0.83% of its total workers. 

In economic terms, the Services sector reports the highest number of businesses, with 40.29%, followed by agriculture (30.57%), industry (19.43%) and construction (9.71%). However, in terms of the number of workers, the industrial sector covers 50.26%, followed by services (30.47%), construction (11.01%) and agriculture (8.26%). 

The supplies from these forests and the transformation of their products have for centuries formed the basis of [the area’s] economy, forging its identity and its traditions, which are handed down from generation to generation. The hermitage of Revenga [Ermita de Revenga], located in a forest and home to three settlements (Canicosa, Quintanar and Regumiel de la Sierra) forms the cultural centre of the region. Also notable are tourism and the environmental aspects, derived as they are from the presence of these woodlands.

Why a Model Forest?

The geographic area of the Urbión Model Forest constitutes one of the regions with the greatest tradition in the exploitation of forest resources, and is currently one of the zones with the greatest public use, and where the populations are more involved in management of the forests. In the region, there are distinct forests that are the property of the town councils in the zone, and which currently are managed by the forestry services of the Autonomous Community. 

The Model Forest is positioned as a way to respond, in an orderly fashion, to the major concerns of the inhabitants in these zones, the businesses that currently are exploiting the products of the forests, and the forest managers, finding points in common. It serves as a forum where relationships can be established between different sectors and for providing assistance for facilitation, conflict resolution and leadership, so that members can work together to generate solutions that will contribute to the advancement of sustainable forest development. Not to mention that the ultimate goal of the Model Forest is to promote the integral and sustainable development of forest resources, generate awareness, and support conservation in the zone of Pinares de Burgos y Soria, as well as sustaining the local population and their quality of life.

Associates

The various representatives and governmental organizations are: the General Assembly the Board of Directors, the Work Commissions, and the Office of Management. The General Assembly is the supreme governing organization of the Association. There is a formally constituted Board of Directors, composed as follows for two years’ duration:

 

  • Chair: Mayor of Cabrejas del Pinar
  • Vice-Chair: Mayor of La Gallega
  • Secretary: Fundación Centro de Servicios y Promoción Forestal y de su Industria de Castilla y León (foundation / service centre for the promotion of the forest industry in Castille and León)
  • Spokesperson: Abejar
  • Spokesperson: Mixed commission from the town council of Soria and the Federated Communities of the 150 towns (pueblos)
  • Spokesperson: Mayoralty of Tolbaños de Abajo
  • Spokesperson: Sociedad civil vecinal de maderas de Covaleda (Covaleda local wood industry civic association)
  • Spokesperson: BURMADERA
  • Spokesperson: Federated community of Villa y Tierra del Comunero de Revenga

Strategic goals

  • To establish and strengthen the Urbión Model Forest
  • Education and training
  • Forestry and production development
  • Management and conservation of biodiversity
  • Cooperation, exchange and training of resources

Achievements to date

Among the activities underway in the Urbión Model Forest are the following:

  • Consolidation activities for the structure and mechanisms for participation, and the search for private financing
  • Communication and dissemination activities to reach the Spanish general public regarding the benefits of sustainable forest management (Zaragoza, 17 June 2007)
  • Preparation of an Ibero-American Model Forest Congress, to coincide with a meeting of the Ibero-American Model Forest board of Directors meeting in the Fall of 2008
  • Spreading the Model Forest concept to the national and regional Forest Services in the Mediterranean area (Rome, 11-13 July 2007)

Links to international policies

The actions being achieved in the Urbión Model Forest are tied to national and international policies concerned with the environment and the search for the sustainable management of the land.