Medforval Annual Meeting 2024: Bridging Knowledge

and Experience Across the Mediterranean



Strengthening collaboration for conservation and sustainable practices

From June 5th to June 7th, 2024, the Aterno Valley Model Forest in Italy hosted the Medforval annual meeting. This event gathered 25 practitioners from nine Mediterranean countries and was part of the project “ASMed – From the Apennines to the Shouf: migrations of experiences and knowledge across the Mediterranean,” funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).


Meeting Highlights


ASMed – Supporting participatory Models for the conservation of natural resources

The AMSed project promotes a new programmatic and participatory approach to sustainable land management, fostering knowledge exchange of best practices between Italy and Lebanon.
Key project actors shared their experiences and activities, focusing on the three critical implementation sectors:

  1. Sustainable Management of Water
    Introducing tools like the River Contract based on the Water Framework Directive model, facilitating participatory planning to ensure proper management and enhancement of river territories.
  2. Small-Scale Farming Practices
    Strengthening local agricultural supply chains for small producers by adapting the principles of “Slow Food” to suit the local contexts.
  3. A Model Forest to protect forests and foster the local economy
    Enhancing agro-forestry landscapes through the creation of a Model Forest inspired by that of the Aterno Valley. On this matter, project actors shared approaches and solutions to enhance aspects such as the biomass supply chain.

An outdoor lab field visit provided with hands-on learning experiences from participatory models focusing on ecosystem services such as Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP), and biodiversity support through extensive pastoralism. This practical engagement was complemented by a scenic walk to the Prati del Sirente, providing a perfect blend of learning and appreciation of nature.

Practical training and insights

The workshop featured a rich learning session on two main topics: forest ecosystem restoration and ecosystem services.

Experts from FAO presented global case studies and best practices supporting effective forest ecosystem restoration, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region. Additionally, an expert from Etifor covered topics ranging from typologies and quantification to valorisation through payment for ecosystem services.

This comprehensive training session aimed to equip participants with practical tools and knowledge to support forest restoration initiatives and enhance ecosystem services in their regions.


Projects: Present and Future

A key highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the ongoing StrategyMedFor project by Istituto Oikos and CIHEAM-MAICh, key partners of the project and integral part of the Medforval network. They provided an overview of the project and achievements to date, emphasizing its aim to develop a comprehensive Strategy for Sustainable Management of Mediterranean Forests (SSMMF). This strategy will offer scientifically grounded recommendations on forest protection, restoration, and resilience management.

The meeting also served as a pivotal platform to discuss new potential funding opportunities, ensuring the network remains active and collaborative. Therefore, thematic priorities for the development of future projects were identified and discussed.


Conclusion: A Step forward for Mediterranean Ecosystems

Overall, the workshop was a resounding success, fostering valuable connections and advancing the shared goal of sustainable management and conservation of natural resources across the Mediterranean. It facilitated robust exchanges of knowledge and experiences, laying the groundwork for future collaborative projects within the Medforval network. Moving forward, the network continues to work towards a future where Mediterranean ecosystems thrive.

Photo by Lider Sinav – WWF Turkey


21 June 2024