Kickoff of the StarTree stakeholders’ group in Catalonia
On 2 July, 21 representatives of public and private institutions concerned with Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) gathered in Barcelona to launch the expert panel for the StarTree project. This panel will convene annually and will serve as a dialogue and collaboration platform for the development of the project in the regional case study.
StarTree is a European Project that will develop knowledge on the management and marketing of NWFPs, investigate business models and patterns of trade and analyse governance and innovation in the sector. The Catalonia case study is coordinated by the Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia (CTFC), and is mainly focused on the production, picking and marketing of mushrooms. José Antonio Bonet, coordinator of this group, introduced the project as well as the latest scientific contributions of CTFC in silvicultural management, social and forest owners’ perception.
Attending the meeting was Fernando Martínez-Peña, expert mycologist who shared experiences from Castilla-León in the regulation of mushroom picking and trade. As he explained, this initiative combined the development of mycotourism in the region as well as silvicultural models for forest managers, and an important component of environmental education.
This experience triggered a lively debate around wild mushroom picking in Catalonia. The group shared the common need to address the opportunities NWFPs offer rural economies, and the challenges implied for the different socio-economic, institutional and forest management dimensions. Thus the StarTree project emerges as a tool to enrich the process by providing relevant information. In this respect, some members suggested research topics of their interest.
StarTree is funded through the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission under the research topic of 'Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology' to promote a knowledge-based bioeconomy.