The association "Gemme la forêt d'Aquitaine"
Historically, the resin extraction on Landes pines was widely practised and was the main activity in the region's forests until its disappearance at the end of the last century, mainly due to international competition. Today, the demand for bio-sourced and local products is increasing. The local resin and its new methods of extraction offer many qualitative, environmental and social advantages that could be developed by niche markets. The revival of the activity is therefore widely considered and envisaged, hence the creation of the association.
The association "Gemme la forêt d'Aquitaine" was founded on 7 March 2014. Its aim is to revive resin extraction in the Landes de Gascogne forest. It is with this objective in mind that the members of the association have decided to come together in order to pool knowledge, research and initiatives across the entire value chain: from the forest to consumer expectations through processing.
The use of the association's website is rather satisfactory, which proves the interest and curiosity of the public for the approach.
The association took part in several events in 2019: a conference at the library in Anglet in May, a tour on resin extraction organised by the Groupement de Productivité Forestière du Lot-et-Garonne in Biscarosse in June. This notably allowed to measure the interest of forest owners for the return of resin extraction in their forests.
At the same time, the association is a partner in the European project SustForest Plus, whose objective is to revive resin extraction in southern Europe. The association participates in the elaboration of the French strategy and sets up experiments to improve the productivity and profitability of the activity.
The association brings together several stakeholders at different levels of the value chain. Indeed, the board of directors is made up of foresters ( Silviculturist, Pro Silva France, Alliance Forêt Bois, Forestry Association Useful Forest Management of Biscarosse, Urcofor, Ceresa), tappers (Biogemme Holiste), industrialists (Cgt Groupe Gascogne, Biolandes, Uirpm).
Any person can freely join the association, whether it is an individual or an association, local authority, company or industrial.
It should be noted that the Landes Departmental Council has been supporting "Gemme la forêt d'Aquitaine" for several years.
Impacts and weaknesses
The main strength of the association is that it mobilizes a diversity of actors necessary for the revival of resin extraction. This regrouping accentuates the scope of the reflections and gives more weight to the approach.
The main weaknesses of the association are its lack of long-term visibility, its too discreet activity and the difficulty to obtain figures on the sector.
These difficulties are also felt in the SustForest Plus programme. The association and the members of the project are therefore working on the search for figures to better characterize the resin sector and the profitability of resin extraction.
The association is going to update the communication supports and create a video to promote the association and resin extraction in the Landes de Gascogne.
Thanks to the association, new contacts have been established and new markets identified.
Gemme la forêt d'Aquitaine will continue in the coming years to look for short circuits to develop the local resin, collect data and conduct experiments to improve the activity.
As this is a project of general interest, the association hopes that public stakeholders will get involved to support the approach.