The Proença-a-Nova Declaration is the document that is being prepared after the International Conferences: “El aprovechamiento resinero: Montes con futuro” which took place at the Centro Ciência Viva da Floresta on 30 and 31 May and which brought together representatives from the Portuguese, Spanish and French sectors, as well as the public interested in this topic. These conferences were held within the framework of the SustForest Plus project, co-financed by the Interreg Sudoe Programme through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union. Among other situations, the declaration formalises the creation of the European Resin Territories Network (RETR), as well as what should be the main objective of this transnational association whose main mission will be to defend the natural resin activity of southern Europe.
During his speech, João Lobo, mayor of the Portuguese municipality of Proença-a-a-Nova, highlighted the creation of this Network as a very important milestone bearing in mind that, although the positive externalities of the forest and Pinus pinaster sector are recognised by all, "the European policy has insisted on letting them pass, so the Common Agricultural Policy must have a common forestry policy". In this sense, the priority objective of RETR, which brings together all the actors in the sector, is to press for the promotion of resin production as a future activity, taking into account the multiple benefits that it presents and which were listed by the different speakers on day 30 and seen on the ground on day 31, during the field visit to Seiça, Ourém.
"For the municipality of Proença-a-Nova, resin was an important source of income in the last century and today we have again a unique opportunity to relaunch this sector, always linked to the condition of having people in the territory, as a way to combat low density, to be an important contribution to the management of fuel and the defense of the forest against fires, in addition to that economically we are talking about a natural and sustainable product increasingly valued. João Lobo also said that, together with the municipality of Penela, also a partner in the project, contacts will be developed with municipalities with forest heritage to join the Network with the dual objective of creating greater political force, but also to develop the activity of resin and, in this way, create local wealth, so that "its people and its territory are enriched. This municipality will soon begin the project of interconnection of the resin activity with the municipal system of defense of the forest against fires, being already defined at least one area of intervention.
The International Conference began on May 29 with a working meeting with companies and institutions associated with SustForest Plus and ended on May 31 with a field visit to Ourém, where participants had the opportunity to visit different areas of the Seiça Forest Intervention Zone: an area of pine forest with natural regeneration after a fire six years ago and different stages of resin exploration production in pine forests aged between 20 and 80 years. During the journey between Proença-a-a-Nova and Ourém, the participants could see the consequences of forest fires, reinforcing the urgency of implementing concrete measures that allow forest management with the objective of the resin presented as the most viable taking into account the characteristics of the territory, thus offering an opportunity that, according to the unanimous opinion of those present, must be taken advantage of now, otherwise conditions such as those that have been created at present will not be met again.
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