More than 70 representatives from 15 countries in Africa and Asia visited the Foresta Modello Valle dell’Aterno, a Model Forest under development in Italy, to learn about the Model Forest concept.
On October 9th, 2019, participants involved in The Restoration Initiative (TRI), a program supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), toured the Sirente-Velino Natural Park and the developing Model Forest.
Both the Natural Park and the Model Forest rely on collaboration and knowledge sharing, which help local communities cope with global environmental challenges and threats to ecosystems. During the visit, participants learned how rural Italian communities have adapted to the complexity of a changing local environment, and are making the best use of natural resources and biological diversity throughout the landscape. For example, participants toured a truffle-oak orchard and learned first hand how this wild mushroom is produced in a controlled setting, and visited a managed mountain beech forest.
Participants gained valuable knowledge about the Model Forest concept and how coordination of multiple stakeholders from different land use sectors is key to addressing issues at a landscape scale. They noted similarities in terms of the challenges they face in their respective countries, and expressed interest in continued exchange with experts from Media Valle dell’Aterno to help ensure that knowledge is shared more broadly.
“There were multiple benefits from this event,” said Alessio di Giulio, lead for the developing Model Forest. “We met with skilled technicians from other countries and learned from their external points of view. The visit from FAO also increased our profile among municipal mayors and local communities, helping to raise interest in the Model Forest concept.”
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Photo credits: FAO