The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition has recently awarded the Valencian engineering company Vielca Medio Ambiente the drafting of three Forest Resources Management Plans (PORFS).

Each of these studies corresponds to the forest demarcations of Segorbe, Requena and Alcoi, covering a study area that exceeds a quarter of the territory of the Valencian Community, and includes a total of 123 municipalities. These are three of the twelve forest districts in which the Valencian Community is divided, three of them belonging to Castellón, six to Valencia and three to Alicante. Work started in October 2022 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. According to Constan Amurrio, technical director of this firm, these consist of an analysis of the potential of forest resources, as well as establishing the foundations for sustainable forest use. The aim, according to the expert, is “to combine productive and recreational uses with proper conservation of the natural environment and landscape, adapting to the particularities of each region”.

What the work consists of

The studies take into account multiple variables. The starting point is the revision of existing forest soil mapping, adapting it to current reality, in accordance with the criteria of forestry legislation. Both products with a market value (wood, firewood, mushrooms, pastures, etc.) and environmental services (tourism and recreation, climate change mitigation, flood risk reduction, erosion control, etc.) are analysed in order to establish a planning framework that optimises the multifunctional nature of the Mediterranean forest, always with criteria of environmental sustainability and persistence of forest masses.

A multidisciplinary team of forest engineers, environmentalists and agronomists is involved in the preparation of these studies. As Amurrio points out, “the PORF basically serves to sustainably manage forest resources, trying to harmonize the different uses that may exist. It is a technical planning tool at the intermediate level (forest demarcation), which supports both political planning at the regional and national levels, as well as operational planning at the farm level.”

Ally in fire prevention

Although the PORF does not have as its direct objective the prevention of forest fires, many of the action proposals included in the plans will indirectly promote the prevention of forest fires. This is the case, for example, of reducing fuel in areas with high risk of forest fires, or planning the development of forest infrastructure, such as roads, which are of great help in the event of a fire. In addition, priority areas for action for the improvement of aquifers, control of forest pests and diseases, reforestation and many others will be studied and detailed.

The PORF of Segorbe, for example, covers the area where a few days ago one of the most devastating fires in the province of Castellón occurred, originating in Villanueva de Viver, and which has already affected more than 5,000 hectares of Alto Mijares.

100% Castellón

Together with the PORFS of Sant Mateu and Vall d’Alba, drawn up by the same engineering department in 2015 and early 2017, respectively, the Segorbe demarcation completes the forested territory of the province of Castellón, so that Vielca Medio Ambiente, belonging to the Vielca Group, covers with its studies the entire territory of Castellón.

The firm has proven experience in forest inventory, valuation and valuation of forest ecosystems, and development of advanced computer monitoring tools for forest and landscape restoration, both in the Valencian Community and beyond. In addition, its technicians have carried out an information campaign against fires for residents of urbanizations located in sensitive areas.