By the term ‘forests’ we mean the ecosystem itself as a resource with all the prevailing inputs and diversity available for forestry and related industry activities incorporating the economic, the environmental and the socio-cultural dimensions of the sustainable management of forests.

The forestry sector has long had a problem in communicating with the new partners and stakeholders, particularly in making forests and forestry relevant outside our own sector. Rather than engaging with stakeholder groups on our own agenda we must tailor our approach so that we make ourselves relevant and valuable to theirs. This requires careful analysis of the problems faced by others, and a solution, rather than issue or problem, based approach where effective communication must be incorporated into the policy and the planning from the outset rather than at the end of a process, 
Geographically the framework addresses the Mediterranean countries with both its northern and southern bordering countries as well and the Near east.  
Forests and other wooded lands are highly integrated into the Mediterranean and the Near East landscapes. Through millennia, the civilizations have been using multiple social, economic and environmental goods and services provided by these ecosystems. As a consequence, the present landscapes are the result of a long-term interaction between populations and forest ecosystems. These multiples goods and services provided by forest ecosystems contribute directly to food security of the rural population in the Mediterranean and the Near East region (from the SFoMF).
  1. Forests hold important attributes that can eventually create conflicts among different people interests resulting in mixed, controversial and confusing messages.
  2. Forests are affected by policies at national levels designed for various purposes. To foster coherence, it is essential to engage stakeholders at all levels in an open dialogue on forests.
  3. Divergence and gaps are significant between the reality and the public perception concerning forests. Communication with the External environment is important in providing a realistic perception of the forests and their attributes  
  4. People have a lack of understanding on sustainable forest management which might create a false perception on the perverse actions society could exert on the forests affecting the forests potential role of mitigating climate change.
  5. There are numerous institutions and organizations in the forest sector. There is no common message, no common voice.
Challenges are significant to the forests in our region. Controversial approaches and perceptions have increased the gap between the reality and the decision makers. Attempts for the sector need to maintain and build upon broad support and trust. This will require clear, systematic and concerted communication on forests. We need to make messages on forests timely, effective, clear, and relevant; update them regularly; while using the broadest range of communication channels.
The Mediterranean and the Near East Region, with over 1 Billion people across three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia) and a rich cultural and natural heritage, is an ecological region with a specific climate, where environment and societies have evolved together for centuries. 
Climate change is already a reality in this region where the forecasts of increasing climatic and weather extremes, are adding new threats and risks to cope with. These factors reinforce the already existing pressures, degradation phenomena and the vulnerability of Mediterranean ecosystems and populations.

Copyright © 2019 Mediterranean Forest Communicators Network.