Silva Mediterranea

Over 90 years of Mediterranean forest management

The mission

The mission of Silva Mediterranea is to:

  • Periodically review the trends in the use of forest land in the Mediterranean area and to assess the impact of changes implemented in the agricultural, industrial and urban sectors;
  • Advise member governments accordingly on reorientation or improvements necessary to meet changed situations or newly-emerging needs;
  • Periodically examine progress in forestry technology within regional and ecological contexts in order to better assess present forest land utilization methods;
  • Identify forestry research priorities in the Mediterranean area, determine forestry research projects of common interest to member governments in the region and recommend measures necessary for forestry research institutes in the region to carry out these projects;
  • Determine and carry out, in collaboration with member nations and with the support of the appropriate national forestry agencies, technical studies and surveys to assist in the formulation and implementation of national forest policies.

The history

In 1911, the idea of Mediterranean forestry cooperation was launched and in 1922, a Mediterranean Forestry League was established under the name of Silva Mediterranea. In 1948, Silva Mediterranea evolved into a FAO statutory body as a Committee of Mediterranean Forestry Questions where the Mediterranean member countries of the European Forestry Commission, the Near East Forestry Commission and the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission could meet, share experiences and establish cooperative programmes. Silva Mediterranea adopted a conceptual strategic framework, the Mediterranean Forest Action Programme in order to support Mediterranean countries in setting up their own forest policies and implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio, 1992), which urged all countries to draw up national forest programmes. Where research was needed, the Committee established cooperative research networks on subjects identified during sessions. Six research networks were established on:

  • Forest fire management;
  • Selection of multi-purpose species for arid and semi-arid zones;
  • Silviculture of species: Cedrus spp.;
  • Silviculture of species: Pinus pinea;
  • Selection of stands of Mediterranean conifers for the production of seed to be used in reforestation programmes;
  • Silviculture of species: Quercus suber.

2002 - Silva Mediterranea gears up for change

At the committee's 18th session held at FAO headquarters in Rome in April 2002, the future of Silva Mediterranea was the main topic on the agenda. Based on an external review of Silva Mediterranea and its networks carried out as recommended by the committee's previous session in Antalya, Turkey in October 1997, a number of changes were recommended to reinvigorate Silva Mediterranea. The committee proposed that the research networks be phased out and replaced by working groups with a specific mandate and clear objectives, outputs and time frames. It urged Silva Mediterranea to establish more effective alliances with other institutions working in the Mediterranean region.

The meeting suggested that Silva Mediterranea should address in future: the finalization of past work that holds potential for delivering important and useful output; activities leading to the sustainable management of Mediterranean forests and woodlands; and the contribution of Silva Mediterranea to sustainable development in general. Silva Mediterranea was asked to approach forest issues in the region in ways consistent with new paradigms and developments emerging both in the Mediterranean region and in the international policy dialogue on forests. The participants noted that Silva Mediterranea should be more responsive to the needs of countries, in particular in the following areas:

  • Improving the responses and contribution of the forest sector to the well-being and socio-economic advancement of the population, including poverty alleviation and food security;
  • The contribution of the forest sector to the implementation of the international conventions on biological diversity, climate change and desertification control;
  • Forest sector planning through national forest programmes; and
  • Achieving sustainable forest management.

Member countries of Silva Mediterranea have since worked to implement these recommendations.

2013 evaluation of Silva Mediterranea

The Committee Silva Mediterranea decided at its 21st Session in Antalya in 2012 to implement an evaluation of the Committee.

Given that the above decision was made coincidentally with the end of the WG’s working plans period (2009-2012), the initial mandate of the evaluation focused on the achievements of the working groups referring specifically to their 2009-2012 working plans. The evaluation was made by an independent panel composed of Ms Christine Farcy, Mr Alain Chaudron, Mr Ameur Mokhtar, Mr Placido Plaza, and Mr Giuseppe Scarascia. The evaluation started in January 2013. A midway progress report was presented on 17 June 2013 during a working session in Rome. The draft evaluation report was presented at the 5th meeting of the Enlarged Executive Committee of Silva Mediterranea on 4 December 2013 in Hammamet, Tunisia. The final version of the evaluation report was presented on 27 June 2014 at the extraordinary session of the Committee organized during COFO 22.

Report of the evaluation 2013 of Silva Mediterranea Committee 

last updated:  Tuesday, February 18, 2020