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Education for Sustainability in the Context of Community Forestry

Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

Community forestry in Portugal is emerging as a promising form of multifunctional forestry that combines scientific and technical knowledge with the participation of the local residents in decision-making. These forests are governed by collective property arrangements (baldios) based on millenarian traditional usufruct rights of a local community of commoners (compartes). Participation is open to all the new residents regardless of their gender, activity or status. However, during the 20th century the connection between the commoners and the commons was severely disrupted by the Forest Services by compulsory afforesting the lands with tree species unknown to the local populations and provoking the decline of collective agro-pastoral practices, which was most severe close to urban areas. We describe our experience with a community of compartes that recently gained back control of its common lands and initiated a project to revitalize a degraded forest in the mountains after four decades of co-management with the State. We also detail the specificities and challenges that in the context of community forestry are crucial for the residents to authentically construct and take part in a commons land narrative, and the educational activities we have jointly developed to activate meaningful engagement in collective practices, intergenerational responsibility and active citizenship.

Keywords

  • Local Resident
  • Community Forest
  • Community Forestry
  • Daycare Center
  • Wild Mushroom

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Community forestry was initially defined by FAO as, “any situation which intimately involves local people in a forestry activity. It embraces a spectrum of situations ranging from woodlots in areas which are short of wood and other forest products for local needs, through the growing of trees at the farm level to provide cash crops and the processing of forest products at the household, artisan or small industry level to generate income, to the activities of forest dwelling communities” (http://www.fao.org/docrep/u5610e/u5610e04.htm).

  2. 2.

    SCRAM—Crises, risk management and new socio-ecological arrangements for forests: a perspective from science and technology studies, hosted by the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

  3. 3.

    Yanis Varoufakis, a professor of economics and former Minister of Finance of the Greek government, claimed that “anyone who wants to be a Minister should be disqualified from that position”. He considers that politics needs “reluctant politicians” that take administrative roles as a sacrifice and a genuine act of public service, one enjoy doing only for the altruistic pleasures of contributing to the community (conference accessible online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a3ZJE-mu3I).

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the project “SCRAM—Crises, risk management and new socio-ecological arrangements for forests: a perspective from science and technology studies”, co-funded by COMPETE—Competitiveness Factors Operational Program (FEDER) and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology—FCT (PTDC/CS-ECS/102041/2008; FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-009236). Anailton Guimarães Salgado also acknowledges the FCT for financial support provided by the grant SFRH/BD/75075/2010. Special thanks go to the professionals and commoners of Vilarinho, Lousã, especially Eugénia Rodrigues and Luis Trota, for their invaluable support in all the educational activities developed.

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Correspondence to Rita Serra .

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Serra, R. et al. (2016). Education for Sustainability in the Context of Community Forestry. In: Castro, P., Azeiteiro, U., Bacelar-Nicolau, P., Leal Filho, W., Azul, A. (eds) Biodiversity and Education for Sustainable Development . World Sustainability Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32318-3_11

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