This is a project approved by the Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness of the Basque Government, in the call for cooperation aids, by Order of 28 June 2017.
The aim of this project, which began at the beginning of 2018, is to implement and dynamise an activity with therapeutic purposes in wooded forest lands in order to diversify forest products and services and to value the ecosystem services provided by these lands.
In addition, the project seeks to bring together a large part of the local agents in the primary, social and health sector of the Region of Busturialdea, as well as agents involved in research into the relationship between Green Spaces and Human Health to determine a list of therapeutic activities that use the ecosystem services offered by the wooded forest lands of the Region.
An important reference for this project is COST ACTION E 39: "Forests, Trees and Health and Human Well-being" (2004-2008). Founded in 1971, COST defines an intergovernmental framework in the field of technical and scientific research, enabling European cooperation. COST is organised in 4-year Actions, which consist of creating a coordinated network of national research projects on specific themes.
The COST ACTION E39 ("Forests, Trees and Health and Human Well-being") was created with the objective of increasing knowledge about the dominant health priorities identified within European countries and the opportunities offered by forestry and green spaces to face the problems associated with these needs.
The ultimate aim was to detect meeting points between the therapeutic, educational, social and rehabilitating virtues of natural resources and green spaces, and their contribution to health policy.
The national report of the COST ACTION E39 for the case of Spain showed that it is essential, for the correct use of the social and economic benefits derived from the interaction of the natural environment on health and human welfare, to implement co-participated pilot experiences that allow to verify this interaction.
Therefore, the present project pretends to give continuity to this international current, looking also for the valuation of the ecosystemic services provided by the wooded forest lands of the Region of Busturialdea and, in general, those of the Basque Country.
The USSE is carrying out the integral coordination tasks of the project and counts on the collaboration, as members, of the Association of Foresters of Bizkaia, the Association of Rural Development Urremendi and the Biscayan Association of Relatives and People with Mental Illness (AVIFES).
After the beginning of the project, there was a circumstance that was not foreseen in the project, but that the USSE has understood to be very interesting and necessary to include or link with the referred project and also believes that it can be very beneficial to make the forestry reality of Bizkaia known.
The USSE has the status of observer organisation in the "Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests" or FOREST EUROPE process, a high-level forum on forest policy in which 46 signatory countries from the Pan-European region participate. It turns out that among the actions included in the work program of the process for the period 2016-2020, the USSE participates in a group of experts for the improvement of the social dimension of sustainable forest management in the context of the benefits that forests offer for human health and well-being ("Expert Group on Human Health and Well Being").
To access the project website click on the image above.
The project ended on 30 June 2019 with the presentation of the conclusions obtained throughout the development of the project. Among these conclusions, we would highlight the visibility that private forest owners and their management had and the impact of forest bathing on the health of people with mental illness. In the link below you can access the report on this impact: