Barbanza Ecosocial Lab launches its online platform

The interactive website of the Barbanza Eocosocial Lab project,, launched on Friday 5 June, 2020. The Lab’s online home is a platform for meeting, knowledge-sharing and information, and is available in Galician, Spanish and English. Through engaging graphics, maps, videos and articles, online visitors can access the work, the people and the stories around the project and its research on sustainable development in the Barbanza peninsula in Galicia.

What is the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab?

Barbanza Ecosocial Lab is an initiative promoted by the Fundación Rede de Innovación Arousa (RIA) in collaboration with the HISTAGRA research group at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. The initiative was made possible thanks to funding from the Fundación Banco Santander and support from the Cátedra Juana de Vega.

During two years, the project will give visibility and support to uses of territory that contribute to its environmental, social and economic sustainability. Ultimately, the project aims to demonstrate that protective models that favour sustainable and innovative development of agro-livestock and forestry practices are possible and desirable.

To achieve this objective, the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab focuses its activity on three areas of the Barbanza Peninsula: the Barbanza, Enxa, Xian, Dordo, Costa de Abaixo and O Sobrado communal forests, managed by the Comunidade de Montes veciñais in Man Común de Baroña, in Porto do Son; the Froxán communal forest, managed by the Comunidade de Montes veciñais in Man Común de Froxán, in Lousame; and finally the brañas de Laíño, in Dodro.

The location of the three study areas on the Barbanza Peninsula

After the first year, the Laboratorio Ecosocial do Barbanza will conclude with the development of an Atlas of Sustainable Use. This will be a compilation of historical and current knowledge, in which the practices of land use are evaluated according to criteria of sustainability and innovation. In the second year, we hope to be able to promote practices that meet these criteria through technical and financial support.

What are its recent activities?

Between January and March, before the extraordinary situation we are now experiencing, Fundación RIA and the research group HISTAGRA, had made advances in the data collection phase of the project, carried out field trips, and conducted more than fifteen interviews with inhabitants of Baroña, Froxán and Laíño as well as visiting the archives of the three municipalities.

1_Salida de campo 1
Project team go on a field trip with geographer Luis Guitían Rivera to gain a better understanding of the Barbanza peninsula
3_Visita archivo Dodro 3
Fran Quiroga and David Fontán (HISTAGRA) look for information on past land uses in Dodro municipal archive

Most of the people interviewed were over 70 years old and, through their memories or stories told by their parents, they could speak about a time when a great variety of activities were carried out in the forests– all of them interrelated. Through these interviews, knowledge is passed on about uses and processes, knowing which agricultural and forestry uses were carried out, which have stopped and which difficulties have prevented their continuity. The research team is also gaining a better understanding of the relationships that existed between different parts of the territory and identified patterns that are repeated in all three locations. Knowing the past of these communities and understanding the logics that made them sustainable and self-sufficient are key to promoting their reactivation and to designing strategies for the future.

Laiño 6
Interview with Rosaura Eiras Rial, María González Rodríguez, Manuel Iglesias Rial and María Dolores Vigo Susavila, residents of Bexo (Dodro)
2_Entrevista 3
Interview with José Boo Romero, Carmen Rodríguez Deán and Antonio Boo Romero, residents of Baroña (Porto do Son)

At the beginning of March, the health crisis forced an interruption in the fieldwork and interviews. Soon we hope to resume this work and conduct interviews with younger people who can tell us about the uses of the mountain today and what challenges they face in carrying out their activities. Since March, the research group HISTAGRA has filtered all the information gathered in the interviews (which can be consulted in the digital archive Terra e Memoria), organising it based on topics such as production, agricultural and forestry management, marketing, community governance or identity and culture. From this work, 11 articles have been created and are already available through the Research section of the website of the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab.

Periodically, the website will publish new articles, either prepared by the project team or by invited experts, and become a meeting place for multiple voices.

The website

The website of the Laboratorio Ecosocial do Barbanza is aimed at a wide range of visitors and readers. Firstly, it is for the people close to the study areas, who will recognise many of the practices mentioned that were carried out in their environment. The content is also aimed at the scientific community, which we hope will find in the Laboratorio Ecosocial do Barbanza a repository of information under which to develop future research and projects. Finally, it is for public administrations and private entities working in fields related to territorial planning, in order to provide them with keys that allow them to promote sustainable strategies and actions., which is available in Galician, Spanish and English includes 11 articles produced by HISTAGRA and Fundación RIA, accompanied by graphics, maps, videos and links to other articles or external pages. These articles can be accessed from the home page or through the Research section, where they can be filtered through the categories that we have assigned to each one. also includes an interactive map, a tool that will allow visitors to locate the study areas and consult a wide variety of data such as protection figures, cadastral information and other aspects that condition the uses of the territory. These functions will be progressively incorporated during the development of the project. A central part of this tool is a comparator that allows visitors to see in an easy and intuitive way the territory’s evolution over the last 70 years.

The interactive map was created in collaboration with the Instituto de Estudos do Territorio of the Xunta de Galicia, which granted the cartographic information under a Creative Commons Attribution International license “CC-BY 4.0 INT”.

The interactive map, among many other features, allows you to see in a simple and intuitive way the evolution experienced by this territory during the last 70 years

Videos will be available on the website featuring fragments of the interviews carried out both with the residents of Laíño, Baroña and Froxán (to promote the understanding of the territory from the voice of its protagonists), the project team and other experts. The videos, besides being included in the articles, will be available on our YouTube channel and will include subtitles in Galician, Spanish and English.

In addition to the articles published on, the videos will be available on our YouTube channel

As the project progresses, more videos will be published and made available in new articles and on this YouTube channel.

The new articles, videos and map functionalities that are incorporated into the website will also be published on our social network profiles (barbanzaecosocial on instagram and facebook).

Related posts

The Barbanza Ecosocial Lab looks to the past and seeks to imagine a sustainable future based on a biocultural heritage that still underpins the communities that inhabit the territory.
27/02/24 | The six partners of the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab meet in Rianxo to start a new phase of the project with the support of Fundación Biodiversidad.
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.
Located on the bank of the River Ulla, near its mouth into the Arousa estuary , Brañas de Laíño (Dodro) represents one of the largest wetlands in Galicia. Historically its use was communal, although at present they are not officially recognized as a communal space, nor are they managed by the local population.
Froxán (Lousame) is a village marked by the fact that it was one of three that were occupied at the end of the 19th century by the San Finx mines. These mines exploited tungsten, which led to the common land being occupied and the local population being denied its management.
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.