Owners group their forest plots into ASLGF to manage their forest and produce essential forest oils
In the south of France, 20 forest owners on the same massif, wished to engage in sustainable and multifunctional management of their forest. They are interested by a production of wood, but also by the environmental quality of the massif, and for other valuations including the production of essential forest oils.
These objectives are not easy to conduct when the forest is small. To obtain a Simple Management Plan for their forest, they have chosen to read it together, in order to harmonize and pool their management.
Private forest is often very fragmented: forestry operations and forest products marketing are difficult on small areas. Owners have organized themselves into a forest management association (ASLGF) to group their plots into a single management unit. Their objective is to jointly lead the development of their forests. In addition to harvesting wood, they also registered collective production of essential oils of Scots pine. They wish to label themselves as a Forest Economic and Ecological Interest Group (GIEEF).
In 2018, 14 owners created the Association Syndicale Libre de Gestion Forestière (ASLGF du massif de Chabre-Cians) on 1,014 ha of forest. They have registered their plots there for joint management, but each owner retains his property rights and his management choices.
They wrote a concerted PSG, approved in January 2020, with a forest diagnosis of the massif and a coordinated program of projects: silvicultural work (depressing - thinning), wood cuts, sanitary cutting, silvopastoral cuts, services ... Wood or non wood products will be valued collectively. Contacts are underway for the distillation of Scots pine.
Other owners have joined them: they are now 20 owners on 1275 ha.
A distillation experiment of pine and juniper had been carried out, about thirty years ago by one of the owners. Grouping of plots makes it possible to widen the supply for distillation over more area and obtain a more regular supply. But it is a production still unknown to the majority of the association's members: a market study is to be carried out.
Considerations must be made so that the distillation of Scots pine is organized in conjunction with silvicultural work to improve stands, and obtain better technical and economic optimization of harvesting.
ASLGF facilitates contacts and contracts for wild plant gatherers with forest owners.
Impacts and weaknesses
The ASLGF is a voluntary grouping of forest plots, each subscribing owner retains his proprietorship and his decision-making power.
The forest has an important resource of Scots pine and a local economy exists, several distillers are present in the region.
Individually, each owner had insufficient areas and production quantity. Thus grouped, they can better contract with loggers and distillers; they can produce more significant volumes.
Contacts were made by the manager with distillers, to better understand the needs of the sector and to study possible partnerships.
The ASLGF is considering the purchase of adequate equipment for collection and perhaps for distillation.
If this valorization materializes, the distillation could perhaps be diversified by widening it to other plants present in the forest plots.
Finally, distillation, integrated into forest management objectives, can promote better preservation and diversity of the AMP resource.