MEDfOR - MEDITERRANEAN FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
MEDfOR is a two-year world-class International Master Programme focuses on the integrating theme of sustainability in Mediterranean forests and woodlands, which cover over 9 % of the Mediterranean region’s land area, to address topics that are specific to the Mediterranean forestry and that require special attention such as: forest as a unique world heritage, forest management and conservation and forestry role in the welfare of the Mediterranean communities.
THE MEDITERRANEAN FOREST AND FORESTRY
a) Mediterranean forests are a unique world natural heritage in terms of biological diversity, hosting around 25.000 species of vascular plants, (50% are endemic species) and a high degree of tree richness and endemism (290 indigenous tree species with 201 endemics) with an extraordinary genetic diversity;
b) Forest conservation and management affects the soil and water resources, both being key strategic resources for Mediterranean societies. Currently, 60% of the water-poor-countries of the world are in the Mediterranean region and it is expected that by 2050, 290 million people will face water shortages;
c) The forestry role in the welfare of urban and rural Mediterranean communities, is of extreme importance. Mediterranean forests provide highly appreciated marketed goods such as timber, firewood, cork, pine kernels, mushrooms, medicinal plants, as well as a high value on non-market services such as landscape quality, fodder, soil protection, water regulation, recreation possibilities, biodiversity and micro-climate amelioration.
However, Mediterranean forests are seriously threatened by drastic and rapid climate and land use changes, which add to long-standing problems related to desertification processes and forest fires. Other problems are associated with the over-exploitation and over-grazing of forest lands.
The global temperature increased, from 1850-1899 to 2001-2005, about 0.76 °C; while, for instance, in other regions, such as Spain, the temperature has increased by almost 2 °C from 1971 to 2000! Many parts of the Mediterranean region have already experienced a reduction in rainfall of up to 20%.
The IPCC, 4th Assessment (2007) predicts at the end of the century an average temperature increase for the Mediterranean region of about 4-6 °C and 20-50% less rainfall during the summer months. Expected climate changes will result in the expansion of Mediterranean-like conditions to new areas (IPPC 2007)
The increase of unmanaged forest in the north and deforestation and overexploitation in the south will increase the level of biotic (pests and diseases) and abiotic (fires, droughts, etc.) risks reducing the possibilities of the ecosystem adaptation to climate change and for resistance to desertification. Mediterranean forests are among the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world.
THE MEDfOR PROGRAMME
MEDfOR Programme answers a call for a coordinated approach throughout the Mediterranean basin to develop reliable information and tools - based on sound science and a multidisciplinary approach -, in order to improve Mediterranean forestry and natural resources management and policy-making.
The ultimate objectiveis to bring together the best expertise, human resources and facilities to educate the next generation of leaders in forestry and natural resources, and public and private land management throughout the Mediterranean region and to contribute to the solution of forestry, natural resources and environmental challenges throughout the region and the world.
MEDfOR is the only program in Europe or elsewhere that simultaneously addresses the economic, ecological and social challenges of sustainable Mediterranean forestry and natural resources management.
MEDfOR is offered by a Consortium of top ranked Universities supported by a consultation panel with several associated partners and stakeholders that come from leading international research and outreach organizations in all scientific areas of interest to Mediterranean Forestry and Natural Resources Management
MEDfOR is now in its 5th edition under the Erasmus Mundus Programme, and applications are open for a 6th edition of the Master Degree. Funding from the Erasmus Mundus Programme is not yet confirmed.
The Erasmus Mundus Programme is a co-operation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and promote intercultural understanding.The Erasmus Mundus Programme MEDfOR, is part of the Erasmus Mundus Programme initiated by the European Commission.
If you want to now more about the Erasmus Mundus Programme, check the website: European Commission’s web site. There you can also find a useful FAQ table, studies, statistics and other useful information about the programme.
El Norte de Castilla, 22nd January 2016