Forest Intervention Area (ZIF)
Portugal - Zona de Intervenção Florestal (Portuguese)
left: ZIF Information Session (Photo: AFLOMAÇÃO)
right: Forest Intervention Areas in Mação Municipality (Photo: João Soares)

Forest Intervention Area (ZIF) is a territorial unit, where the main land use is forestry. This approach assembles and organizes small forest holders and defines a joint intervention for forest management and protection. Defined by law in 2005, and revised in 2009, each ZIF of private forest has to include at least a contiguous area of 750 ha, 50 landowners and 100 forest plots, and has to be managed by a single body, defined by ZIF members.

Aim/objectives: The ZIF overall objective is to promote the efficient management of forest and to mitigate current constraints of forest intervention (e.g. land size and tenure). Other objectives are to develop structural measures for fire prevention, to integrate local and central administration actions and to implement the national and regional forest management policy at the local level. The final purpose of ZIF areas is to improve productivity in rural forest areas, contributing to rural development

Methods: The idea emerged after the catastrophic wildfires of 2003 and was developed and presented by a group of stakeholders (landowners, forest associations, City Council, among others) to the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries. The ZIF approach was legislated by Law 127/2005, and revised under Law 15/2009. Each ZIF assembles small properties, which will be jointly managed by a single entity, which can be a non-profit-making and voluntary organization or some other group of people approved by the forest owners. Each ZIF will have a Forest Management Plan (PGF), where the forestry operations and activities for ZIF area are defined accordingly to the guidelines of the Regional Plan for Forestry Management and Planning (PROF), and a Specific Plan to Forest Protection (PEIF), which includes actions to protect forest against biotic and abiotic risks. The management entity should have a team with qualifications and experience in forestry and with technical ability to design these plans.

Stages of implementation: The legal constitution of ZIF includes six mandatory steps, namely the constitution of the founding group (group of landowners with at least 5% of a continuous area inside the ZIF), the prior consultation meeting, the public consultation, the final audience meeting, the proposal submission to the National Forest Authority (AFN) and legal publication of each ZIF (already done). After these procedures, the PGF and PEIF of each ZIF will be designed by the management entity and evaluated and approved by AFN. The implementation activities can then be implemented by the management entity or by individual landowners following the rules described on the plans. PEIF validity is five years and PGF validity is 25 years (still in preparation). [See figure below].

Role of stakeholders: The founding group is mainly composed of forest owners and producers and is the starting point for creating a ZIF. The management entity administers the ZIF in order to achieve their main purposes and the aims defined on the plans. AFN will support and monitor ZIF activities. ZIF non-supporting landowners are obliged to have a PGF for their land, as well as to accomplish the PEIF of the ZIF.

The landowners inside the ZIF who are non-supporters do not have a clear role. Based on PROF - Plano Regional de Ordenamento Florestal (Regional Plan for Forestry Management and Planning), for ownerships of > 25 ha, the owners are obliged to have a PGF - Plano de Gestão Florestal (Plan for Forestry Management) for their property.
Location: Santarém, Mação
Approach area: 400.00 km2
Type of Approach: project/programme based
Focus: mainly on other activities
WOCAT database reference: A_POR001en
Related technology(ies): Prescribed Fire (POR02), Primary Strip Network System for Fuel Management (POR01)
Compiled by: Celeste Coelho, University of Aveiro
Date: 2009-02-10
Contact person: Celeste Coelho, Department of Environment and Planning, Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal;

Problem, objectives and constraints
­- lack of forest planning and management, forest fires, land structure and tenure, land abandonment, rural depopulation and ageing.
- To promote the sustainable management of forest; - To coordinate the protection of forest and natural areas; - To reduce the conditions to fire ignition and spread; - To coordinate the recovery of forest and natural areas affected by forest fires; - To give territorial coherence and effectiveness to the action of local administration and others actors.

Constraints addressed
   social / cultural / religious Social resistance to this approach. Landowners fear to lose tenure rights. Difficult to reach and find owners due to inheritance and out-migration. Rural depopulation occurred in the last decades. Financial support, creation of new job opportunities in rural areas. 
   institutional Scepticism about the practical effects of this approach. Very high costs for implementation and lack of private investment ZIF pilot areas will motivate implementation and investment into other ZIFs. 
   financial High implementation cost. Governmental incentives 
   legal / land use and / water rights Land structure and tenure (private holdings) Minimum area to constitute a ZIF is 750 ha 

Participation and decision making
Stakeholders / target groups Approach costs met by:

land users, individual

SLM specialists / agricultural advisors

politicians / decision makers
government (Permanent Forest Fund)100%
local community / land user(s) (ZIF implementation activities: National Strategic Reference Framework (60%), Land users (40%))0%

Annual budget for SLM component: US$ > 1,000,000

Decisions on choice of the Technology(ies):  mainly by SLM specialists with consultation of land users
Decisions on method of implementing the Technology(ies):  by SLM specialists alone (top-down)
Approach designed by:  national specialists
Implementing bodies:  other (Private organizations), local community / land users, local government (district, county, municipality, village etc)

Land user involvement
Initiation/motivationInteractive Balance alternatives and take decision to test the agave forestry information sessions about ZIF approach; informal contacts, door-to-door approaches and formal agreement of the landowners to become ZIF members. 
PlanningPassive information sessions to present the ZIF plans (PGF and PEIF). 
ImplementationInteractive management activities can be made by the land owners or by the ZIF management entity. Regular meetings with ZIF members 
Monitoring/evaluationInteractive not defined yet 
ResearchInteractive on-farm research, good practice demonstration and collaboration with research projects. 

Differences between participation of men and women:  No
Involvement of disadvantaged groups:  Yes, moderate
Yes (in the sense that the majority of forest owners are usually pensioners, with low incomes)

Organogram:  Legal process related with the ZIF constitution (blue) Elaboration and approval of the ZIF plans (orange) Implementation of the plans (orange)

Technical support
Training / awareness raising:
Training provided for opinion leaders
Training focused on information sessions and individual contacts with opinion leaders
Advisory service:
Name: Information sessions
Key elements:
 1. ZIF process
 2. Explaining rational of ZIF for specific municipality and its conditions like depopulation, forest fires, etc
 3. Elaboration of the ZIF plans
The extension system is well set up to ensure follow-up activities
The extension system is very adequate to ensure continuation of activities.
Yes, great research. Topics covered include sociology, economics / marketing, forestry, politics, ecology
Mostly on station and on-farm research.
The approach includes technical and local knowledge. The idea was prepared and presented by a group of stakeholders (landowners, forest associations, among others) to the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries and legislated by the Law n. º 127/2005, 5 August.

External material support / subsidies
Contribution per area (state/private sector): Yes. through FFP (Permanent Forest Fund) and QREN (National Strategic Reference Framework).
Labour: Voluntary. landowners can work on their properties or can be substituted by the ZIF management entity. Some activities, such as the implementation of the Primary Strips Network System for Fuel Management can be supported by the municipality services.
 - Equipment (machinery, tools, etc): Printer, toners, map production..  Fully financed
Credit:   n. a.
Support to local institutions: Yes, great support with
City council supports the forest association activities.

Monitoring and evaluation
Monitored aspectsMethods and indicators

Changes as result of monitoring and evaluation:
  (* The monitoring procedures are not structured yet)  (* The monitoring procedures are not structured yet)

Impacts of the Approach
Improved sustainable land management:  Yes, great; Reduction of the number and likelihood of forest fires.
Adoption by other land users / projects:  Yes, many; The initial social resistance to the approach will diminish through the existence of a successful ZIF.
Improved livelihoods / human well-being:  Yes, moderate
Improved situation of disadvantaged groups:  Yes, moderate; It is expected that the increase in land productivity through the implemented technologies will help to improve the socio-economic situation of these rural groups.
Poverty alleviation:  Yes, moderate; It is expected that the implementation of this approach will contribute to the improvement of rural socio-economic conditions through productivity increase, creation of employment and promotion of local products.
Training, advisory service and research:
-Training effectiveness
 SLM specialists: good
-Advisory service effectiveness
 Land users*: good
Information sessions; Dissemination
Land/water use rights:
The land use rights / water rights hindered the implementation of the approach (greatly).  The ZIF join small properties and their management is undertaken as a single property, guide by a forest management plan. This entity can be a non-profit and voluntary organization or an other group of people approved by the forest owners and/or producers.
The approach did reduce the land/water use rights problem (greatly).
Long-term impact of subsidies:
Positive long-term impact: Greatly

Concluding statements
Main motivation of land users to implement SLM:
 Rules and regulations (fines) / enforcement
 Affiliation to movement / project / group / networks
 Forest fires
Sustainability of activities:
 No the land users can`t sustain the approach activities without support.
 The forest owners do not have the financial capacity to apply and support these activities by themselves.

Strengths and how to sustain/improveWeaknesses and how to overcome
Social conscience through awareness campaigns and information sessions provided at national and local level.
Prevention of forest fires the increase of forest management will contribute to the decrease of large forest fires. The implementation of integrated and global measures to fire prevention will be suitable within the ZIF approach.
Restoration of burnt areas The use of forest species to enable the protection and recovery of degraded soils or soils with high erosion risk has a very positive influence on the rehabilitation of burnt areas. However, many of these species are not economically attractive at short or medium term. The management of the land using ZIF model will allow the definition of the most affected areas for an urgent intervention.
Increase productivity present land tenure and structure of forest holdings constitute a bottleneck for forest productivity. The integrated management of the ZIF will allow a better management and use of the land, increasing the exploitation of timber and non-timber products and also increasing the resilience to wildfires.
Improve forest management promotion of the planting of more fire-resilient species which are better adapted to the local conditions. AFN should: (i) provide information about the guidelines; (ii) develop new policies and tools, which are more suitable to the local level; (iii) support and implement public awareness campaigns about forest values and services, and (iv) provide financial support to ZIF constitution and implementation activities.
Unattractive investment (low public support and lack of private support) the need to review and reform the existing QREN or provide others means of support. Incentives to private initiative or donors should be found.
Highly bureaucratic nature of the ZIF approach simplification of the bureaucratic process
Rather complex process: unclear role for the non-adherent landowners within the ZIF; ZIF has to follow many laws and plans; control and monitoring activities still not defined clarification and simplification of the bureaucratic process of the ZIF
Costs related to the approach major financial support from the government needs to be provided.

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