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Model for the valorisation and sustainable management mycological resources (MYAS)
Date du début: 1 août 2001, Date de fin: 31 juil. 2004 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Mycology (study of fungi) is an increasingly valued field of knowledge and resource. However, habitats where fungi are found are under threat from an uncontrolled influx of mushroom pickers and fanciers. This can lead to serious environmental damage to habitats and mushroom-growing areas, and can also clash with other forest uses, for example, creating problems on forest tracks and roads. Current fungi harvesting practices produce little in the way of economic benefit for either forest areas or their owners. In Spain, these problems were compounded by serious forest fire in the summer of 2000. This wiped out more than 2500 hectares of forest with high mycological and natural diversity. Areas that suffered belonging to the municipalities of Almazán, Matamala de Almazán and Tardelcuende, are within the project's area of action. Objectives The fundamental objective of the project was to design a Mycology Valuing and Sustainable Management Model as a demonstration project. The model would be applied to a forest area with very rich mycological diversity in the south of the province of Soria (Spain). The model would be transferable to other areas with similar characteristics. As such, the project aimed to develop an example of natural resource management that can serve as a driving force for Sustainable Rural Development and a form of protection, conservation and improvement of natural habitats and mycology resources. The project will promote the use, management and enjoyment of the mycology resource and its natural habitats through a work programme in which all the social and economic agents are involved. Results The expected results of this project were: - Conservation improvement and habitat regeneration. - Sensible exploitation and varied uses of the mycological resources. - Myco-tourism developed in the region: guides, botanical walks and visitor information centres. - Increased interest in mycology and deriving of social benefits from forest habitats. - Encouragement and support for integrated and sustainable development of the fungus sector within the framework of rural development. Those results have been achieved and the most relevant points have been the following: - Development of a model for greater protection and conservation of the resource. This model has been accepted by 65 percent of the harvesters and has extended the use of good harvesting practices (86 percent of the harvesters). Furthermore, the fungi have been integrated into forest management (PORF AF Almazán, 1st Castilla-León PORF) - Create a unique selection of myco-touristic activities: - Specialized centres and equipment: Nature Centre “Río Izana”, interactive mycological sites, Botanic-mycological garden (will be inaugurated in XX 2005) and 15 mushroom paths - Network of mycological establishments showing the GASTROMYAS quality label (13 restaurants, 1 bar and 7 lodgings with mycological services) - Association of Mycological Guides “Río Izana” - Change in mentality in institutions and society in general, who now consider mushrooms as a natural resource to be conserved but also as a productive resource contributing to rural development. - Existence of local specialists (technician, guides, cooks and forest guards) and various environmental education activities have increased knowledge about mycological culture and conservation. - During the project a new transformation firm (ELFOS FUNGI) was established, there were new plantations of sprophite fungi, new mycological associations (“Río Izana”, “La Pícola Nicola”, “Asociación del Royo” and “MYAS”) as well as recreational activity companies that also offer mycological activities (Soriaventura and StopStress).