What is the forest worth?

A web portal is being created for marketing the ecosystem services generated by the Taro Valley forests

The development of a web portal for Taro Valley forests marks a common effort to enhance the social resilience of the valley. Designing a common strategy for communicating and commercialising forest services will improve livelihood and incomes for rural dwellers.

Stakeholders in the Taro Valley arrived at a common decision during the first Multi-Actor Group (MAG) meeting, held in October 2018, to create a portal to commercialise recreational permits for wild mushroom collection. All representatives of Consorzio Comunalie Parmensi (CCP) and other important forest owners from the valley agreed to step towards a common web platform to sell recreational services generated from the forest, among which recreation wild mushroom picking is currently the main source of income. Stakeholders asked CCP to coordinate the design and implementation of the web portal, as well to search for financial support for the endeavour.

CCP looked for similar case studies where a web portal is used to promote and commercialise forest services and key case studies were invited to participate in the second MAG meeting to present their experience and activities. The idea was to use a similar web-portal to inspire the design of the CCP site, understanding limitations and potential uses, based on a common discussion with the main end users: wild mushroom pickers and companies from the hospitality and catering industries.

Having a unique strategy will improve forest profitability, reducing competition while enhancing cooperation among local organisations, both public and private. A key challenge will be the power division beyond the management of the portal

In the meeting, local stakeholders endorsed plans to continue with the web portal implementation and showed willingness to design a common marketing strategy within a unique brand. It was also tentatively agreed to reinvest future revenue to enhance private economic initiatives.

Next steps for the CCP Innovation Action are to raise funds for co-financing the web-portal and to define the governance process for effective management of the portal.

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