Study cases (III): Baroña Forest Community

Baroña Forest Community (Porto do Son), including the Communal Forests of Barbanza, Enxa, Xián, Dordo, Costa de Abaixo and O Sobrado, covers 846 hectares. It is made up of 186 houses that are registered as holders and their management makes a clear commitment to the multifunctional use of the forest. In recent years the houses recovered the right to the collection and direct sale of firewood, and also the production of pine resins.

The fall in the price of wood, following the construction crisis that began in 2008, led to a search for diversification in the community’s production.

The fall in the price of wood, following the construction crisis that began in 2008, led to a search for diversification in the community’s production. The average income from wood sales has fallen from €80,000 per year between 2002 and 2012 to roughly half of that figure today, offset by new practice.

New practice, which include resin production, firewood sales and others, provide an average of €40,000 in the case of resin and around €12,000 in the case of firewood sales. This makes the Porto do Son community the largest producer of resin in Galicia and allows the creation of four new jobs that represent a workforce of between 9 and 13 workers depending on the season.

This makes the Porto do Son community the largest producer of resin in Galicia and allows the creation of four new jobs.

At the same time the community members have the right to free provision of firewood directly from the forest for their own use. This practice increased the consumption of local firewood exponentially, which contributes to the economy of the families and to the environmental sustainability of the area. The recovery of horse and goat breeding also means an adaptation of past uses that also reduces the existence of excess natural fuel that may favor the extension of fires, if they exist.

No less noteworthy are other uses which the community is engaging in, including recreational ones. These include activities for young and old; tourism activities in the area; honey and mushrooms production; community land lease for public facilities such as a sea rescue base, a football field, a horse reserve, wind turbines, firefighting facilities, picnic areas, etc. The community is also engaged in the recovery of historical heritage and guides for visits, which are combined with a large number of training activities.

Throughout the coming months of research, the interactions between the community and the territory, the logics of the management, the commercialization networks, etc. that were and are in Baroña, as well as in the communities of Froxán and Laíño, will be unraveled, which will allow us to understand in a more accurate way the socio-environmental framework of the area.

Related posts

In the authoritarian context of the Franco dictatorship the door was opened to a productivist model imposed by the State and also linked to the corporate capitalism of the regime. In this new model the territory loses its character of integrated system.
The territorial structure of Galicia, in which parishes and villages are the basic cells of its organization, kept its productive character almost intact until the mid-20th century. Despite changes in lifestyles, a whole series of community values have generally been maintained, which can only be understood from a social perspective.
Barbanza Ecosocial Lab, promoted by Histagra research group (University of Santiago de Compostela) and Fundación RIA, is a pioneering space for research and action that aims to consolidate eco-agro-innovative proposals that contribute to move the region towards more sustainable practices.
The village and the parish are the basic units of the territorial organization of Galicia. Knowing their origins, productive logic and community relations could provide keys to their role today and in the future.
The house and the communal forest are not separate entities, but are part of a system of inter-relationships which was the basis of a self-sufficient economy that supported the Galician and Barbantian population.
Baroña Forest Community (Porto do Son) covers 846 hectares. Within it there are 186 houses that are registered as communal and in their management make a clear commitment to the multifunctional use of the forest.