Forests of High Ecological Value (BAVE) are the last testimonies of the almost natural evolution of our territories and a challenge for the preservation of European biodiversity. They are areas of great heritage value. They provide us with ecosystemic services such as soil protection and water control, while at the same time playing a fundamental role in the face of climate change. Furthermore, the BAVEs and their ecological continuity are key elements of green infrastructure, yet they do not necessarily benefit from adequate protection or management. In this context, the CONECTFOR project aims to promote the emergence of a cross-border strategy to preserve the biodiversity and ecological continuity of these forests by strengthening knowledge, developing management recommendations, and carrying out tests in pilot sites, and transferring acquired knowledge to stakeholders.

Different regions have developed methodological approaches to the BAVEs and there is a large amount of local experience on the conservation and development of these forest areas. Up to now, the analysis has been largely based on biological or ecological criteria linked to the habitats of each territory, without integrating the past that connects them or the wide range of actors affected into a general vision. However, their characterisation requires consultation - based on solid scientific knowledge - between the different actors responsible for their management and preservation, to achieve a shared acceptance of their interest and their inclusion in the planning instruments of the Pyrenean territories. Their conservation necessarily implies the integration of the former in the management and the reinforcement of collaboration between the latter.

The main objective of the project is to develop, test and implement forest management recommendations aimed at owners, managers of natural areas and administrations involved, through a dynamic of agreement, based on a better characterization of ecosystems. of high ecological value and of the network that guarantees its connectivity. That is why the project aims to:

  • To characterise the Forests of High Ecological Value at the scale of the Pyrenean territories involved (based on existing work) as well as the connectivity between these biodiversity reserves to allow the proper functioning of the ecological processes that take place there.
  • To support decision making by managers, owners, and institutions regarding the management of these forest areas and the ecological corridors that connect them.
  • To develop a network of "demonstration areas" that will be the basis for territorial energizing and specific awareness-raising on the importance of the management and conservation of this Pyrenean green infrastructure.

The results of the project should protect and improve the quality of transboundary ecosystems and contribute to improving the management of BAVEs through knowledge on the definition, distribution, and connectivity of BAVEs on both sides, with joint methods of characterization, particularly in pilot sites.

Finally, it is expected that the results can be integrated into forest management policies, strengthening participatory management.

It is a European project co-financed 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the framework of the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA) 2014-2020.