Froxán Common Woodlands

The Froxán Common Woodlands is a community land of 100 hectares. Over the past century, mining produced severe environmental degradation while invasive forest species, including Acacia and Eucalyptus, were also introduced. Restoration and rewilding efforts lead to recognition in the UN ICCA Registry.

The community overseeing the Froxán Common Woodlands in Spain have overseen the restoration of its forest habitats.
The “Portinho” area of the Froxán Common Woodlands today.

Area

  • Habitat types: Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior, Temperate Atlantic wet heaths with Erica ciliaris and Erica tetralix, Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis, Galicio-Portuguese oak woods with Quercus robur and Quercus pyrenaica, Forest vegetation with Castanea sativa and Caves not open to the public.
  • Keystone species present: Iberain wolf
  • Fauna (mega) species present: Wild boar, European badger, Iberian wolf

Scope

  • Type of project: Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Projects creating local pride and common ownership and responsibility for wild nature amongst land owners, communities and resource users, leading to new alternative uses, Successful agreements with forestry entities about changing forestry practises into more nature-based management systems, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
  • Description: Since 2002 the Froxán Common Woodlands (Froxán Commons) regained full control over its territory after almost a century of government administration that left deep scars due to mining degradation and the overwhelming presence of invasive exotic forest species. The Community set out to restore natural forest habitats and seal off mining pits and shafts. In the past two years, this has been done in close cooperations with schools and environmental NGOs, fostering awareness on alternative and sustainable ecoforestry practices.
  • Aim: To fully restore the natural habitats of the Froxán Common Woodlands, maximizing the possibilities of the process itself as an opportunity for learning, education, building social awareness and continue to generate revenue and new economic alternatives for the community.
  • Vision: Sustainable self-managed community-based restoration, rewilding and conservation efforts, that are compatible with ecoforestry management practices, can bring about significant short and medium term shifts improving biodiversity, landscape and ecosystem services.
  • Accomplished in 10 years from now: To fully eliminate the most invasive exotic species, namely Acacia decurrens and Acacia dealbata, to further reduce Eucalyptus to under 10% of the territory, to consolidate and expand alluvial and oak forests and to improve watershed retention capacities, by fully restoring wet heaths in upper lands.
  • Uniqueness: Galician common lands are a unique form of property tenrure in Europe. Traditionally, commons were managed with a multigenerational outlook aimed at improving ecosystem assets for future generations. Recently, this has shifted to quick-profit exotic forest mono-cultures that reduced biodiversity and fostered wildfires.
  • Results so far: Around 90% of area degraded by mining has been restored, filling up pits and shafts and regenerating surrounding forests. Acacia has been reduced by 50%. Eucalyptus has been reduced by 30%. In these areas, forest succession has been maximized as a natural strategy to allow autochtonous forest species in mid- and understory to thrive and take over. In March 2017, the Froxán Commons was admitted into the UN Environment Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA) Registry.
  • Flagship species: Other
  • Other characteristics: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Research

Exchange

  • Inspirational value: Schools and parents associations have been a strong ally in recent years, fostering the connection between urban families and common land. Children (mostly 1-6) and their parents have been directly responsible for the regeneration of areas previously taken over with Acacia, and come back year after year to take care of the trees they planted and their surroundings.
  • Experience you would like to share: Community-led practices, educational possibilities for rewilding, participatory guarantee systems for products coming from wild areas.
  • Experience you would like to gain: Learn about where to lead the community in the future, including possibilities for nature-based tourism and other sources of community revenue.