BIOVALOR Project starts

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Project BIOVALOR starts. An initiative around bioproducts, digitalisation and Green employment to fight against depopulation.

Soria, 13 September 2022.

BIOVALOR Project (forest and agricultural sustainable management to obtain high added value bioproducts against the demographic challenge) begins. The objective of this project is to develop the potential extraction of high added value bioproducts, especially essential oils and extracts, from forest species, and medicinal and aromatic herbs grown in agricultural marginal lands with low productivity for traditional crops.

Savory (S. montana), one of the pre selected medicinal and aromatic herbs to grow during BIOVALOR

The Project is meant to answer the main challenges of the farming and forestry sector, such as abandoned agricultural lands, rural depopulation, the advances of desertification and biodiversity loss due to climate change and single-crop farming. For this purpose, there will be two action plans. Firstly, a sustainable forest management, allowing the use of pine and savin pruning remains to extract essential oils and, secondly, the intermediate crop grow of medicinal and agricultural herbs, alone or combined with traditional woody crops. The aim is to promote this practices as a viable and attractive option to the farming and forestry sector. In addition to the latter, another outcome of this project is the implementation of technological solutions for digital farming and harvest mechanization.

The specifics objectives of this Project are: creating green employment and motivating a new productive fabric in depopulated areas; increasing resilience of farming and forest ecosystems against climate change; developing a new business model based on innovative harnessing of forests, and medicinal and aromatic herbs in marginal lands; and the valorisation of bioproducts and by-products extracted from native species..

Map of the BIOVALOR action area with a preselection of demonstrative areas

BIOVALOR will be carried out until December 2025. The study and action area is among the most depopulated regions in Spain, located between the provinces of Soria, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Teruel and Zaragoza. This makes a total area of 59 047 km2 distributed among 24 farming areas and with an average population density of less than 10 people per square kilometer..

The Project is coordinated by the CIEMAT (Centre Energy, Environment and Technology research) and in which participate CESEFOR (Centre for Forestry Services and Promotion the Forestry Sector in Castile and León), CITA (Centre for Food Research and Technology of Aragón), ASFOSO (Forestry Association of Soria) and UPA (Union of Small Farmers and Livestock Breeders). It is supported by Fundación Biodiversidad from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) under the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), funded by the European Union-NextGenerationEU, with a grant of 1 858 863, 35 euros.

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