FAO visit the Aterno Valley Model Forest

One of the areas richest in biodiversity in Europe

On 9 October 2019 our member site the Aterno Valley in Central Italy was honoured to receive the visit of a large multi-country FAO delegation. Participants were engaged in The Restoration Initiative (TRI) and in the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM).
During the visit, the FAO delegation learnt that here forests are re-colonizing former pastureland and farmland and continue to shelter ancient varieties of cherry, apple and pear trees, and that there exist cereal varieties with low gluten content. Prestigious products such as saffron and truffles have the potential to create virtuous supply chains, enriching the local economy while safeguarding natural resources.
The Aterno Valley is a candidate Model Forest. A Model Forest is “a process for bringing a diverse partnership of individuals and groups together to realize a common vision of sustainable development in a large landscape”.
The Aterno Valley is the new name of the Medforval site formerly called Sirente-Velino, located in the Region of Abruzzo. The 29,000 ha includes 15 municipalities and is one of the areas richest in biodiversity in Europe, as shown in this video.

The Aterno Valley was recognized as a candidate Model Forest in 2018; under the auspices of the Sirente-Velino Regional Park and the Region of Abruzzo, it is now finalizing the participatory process with local mayors and several stakeholders to combine conservation and development. The Aterno Valley Model Forest promotes shared forest and farmland management planning, conserves cultural and natural heritage, encourages sustainable tourism, supports quality products, develops and strengthens local enterprises, and provides the services required by local communities. Model Forests – like all healthy and high ecological value forests – provide drinking water, clean air and well-being; these benefits will continue if development takes a sustainable path.
The International Model Forest Network currently includes 60 forest landscapes worldwide dedicated to sustainable landscape governance. In the Mediterranean there are already 7 full-fledged Model Forests: Bucak (Turkey), Ifrane (Morocco), Mirna River Basin (Croatia), Montagne Fiorentine (Italy), Provence (the Garlaban, Etoile, Sainte Baume and Maures forests in France), Tlemcen (Algeria) and Yalova (Turkey). In addition, Palencia in Spain and the Aterno Valley in Italy are candidate Model Forests.

Alessio Di Giulio alessio.digiulio@ilexitaly.com
Focal Point for the Medforval member site Aterno Valley