Forests are seen here as a global system comprising various interrelated and interdependent aspects – social, environmental, economic, cultural, etc. The environmental and economic aspects are closely related – the use made by the population of natural resources determines their area’s economic profile. The environmental dimension is also linked to social aspects because it can affect the personality of whole peoples. The distilled result of all these multi-dimensional interactions defines a community’s intrinsic characteristics, which is why Med-O-Med considers it essential to promote actions leading to integrated management of natural resources.
Kenny-Jordan et al. (1999) state that community forestry development involves any activities managing forestry resources that aim to improve the social, economic, emotional and environmental conditions of rural communities, based on their own reality and their own perspectives. De Camino (2001) defines Community Forest Management as management that is under the responsibility of a local community or a larger social group which claims long-term rights and commitments with regard to forests. In such activities, the communities combine economic and social objectives in order to achieve wellbeing. The sale of timber and non-timber products, the management of small forestry businesses, etc. are some elements involved in a proposal for sustainable Community Forest Management (Kenny-Jordan et al 1999).
Med-O-Med accepts this concept of CFM, which is significantly different from the purely economic or industrial business management view. It is seen as an essential tool for the conservation and maintenance of forestry and natural resources, in that it covers forest management and nature in an integrated way, guaranteeing healthy ecosystems. It also considers that communities should be recognised as potential allies and key managers of forestry resources.
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