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Of all the topics with which Galicia is usually explained, individualism is undoubtedly one of the most frequent and strongest. In spite of this, the collective sense still prevails in rural areas, at least more strongly than in other areas of our society.
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 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.
The Lab’s online home is a platform for meeting, knowledge-sharing and information. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 area in which the Ecosocial Lab project is being developed is the Barbanza, a peninsula located between the Noia and Arousa rías (estuaries), a territory with a considerable population density and with a deep anthropization.
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.
A substantial part of the territory occupied by forests (over two million hectares in total), mostly in many regions of the southern half of Galicia, is managed by this little-known figure, despite the fact that it includes half a million owners in common; a fifth of the inhabitants of Galicia.