A total of 73 Andalusian landowners, most of them from Granada, signed on 14th May, the founding act of the Granada Chopo Marjal Producers Association. Among the members of the group, almost 60% are small owners (between 1 and 5 hectares) and around 15% have more than 20 hectares.
During the event, the association elected the board of directors, which will be chaired by Victoria Carreras and formed by the vice president, Juan Carlos Cano; the secretary, Alberto de la Torre, the treasurer, Manuel Benítez, and five members. The honorary president will be Javier de Teresa, president of the Social Council of Granada, and there will be an advisory commission of technicians from the LIFE project and Ifapa.
The group brings together 1,270 hectares of cultivated poplar, within the framework of the LIFE Wood for Future/Madera para el Futuro (LWFF) project, led by the University of Granada and financed by the European Union. The initiative also has the support of the Confederation of Foresters’ Organizations of Spain (COSE).
The association’s objectives are:
- To carry out common management of poplar trees to obtain premium quality, sustainable and certified wood.
- To configure the resource to be able to supply the industry constantly; develop a brand with the denomination of origin.
- To sell or auction batches of wood jointly to get better prices and stabilize production.
- To exercise a common defense of their interests with regards to agricultural insurance, CAP aid, and the sale of carbon credits for emission markets.
- To act as a single entity when dealing with different Administrations.
To achieve these goals, one of the first initiatives will be to ask the Ministry of Agriculture and Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía to include populiculture among the beneficiaries of the aid coming from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, as it is currently not on the list.
One main point is that populiculturists carry out productive forestry investments and maintain good practices that are especially beneficial for the climate and the environment, one of the criteria for granting these aids.
This association is the first in Spain in the poplar sector. The 1,270 hectares of cultivated poplar, belonging to the 73 producers who have joined the initiative, represent more than a quarter of the total area dedicated to this crop in Andalusia. Of course, the group is open to new members.
More poplars against pollution
The promoters of the group highlight that the association will be a booster for the poplar bioeconomy. As a matter of fact, of the total amount of hectares, 318 were already cultivated, but with different crops, such as garlic, cereals, asparagus, and corn, or fallow.
This implies that the cultivation of ‘Populus’ in the province is recovering. In the last two decades 75% of the poplar planted area had been lost in Granada, going from more than 12,000 hectares to less than 4,000.
Specifically, 116 of these new hectares of poplars are in the Vega de Granada, which is especially valuable considering that Granada is the third city in Spain with the worst air quality and poplars have a remarkable capacity to capture large quantities CO2 from the atmosphere as well as filter polluting gases from urban traffic.
In addition, these poplar groves provide other environmental benefits, as they help reduce temperature and cool the environment, filter water contaminated by fertilizers used in other crops, prevent erosion, and attract plant and animal biodiversity.
A brand with Granada roots
The association’s logo and brand as well as those for the wood from these plantations were presented at the assembly. The graphic identity is inspired by the marjal, a traditional surface measure in Granada that has its origin in the Nasrid Kingdom and is still used in many commercial transactions in the province. It corresponds to 528.42 square meters.
The colours of the logo, reddish for the brand of wood and green for the association, are those of the flag of Granada. The set of normal and inverted A’s of this word of Arabic etymology symbolizes both the tree, from the roots to the crown and the wooden houses that will be built with them. This was chosen as one of the main objectives of the LIFE Wood for the Future project is to create a network of companies that use poplar wood for sustainable and industrialized construction work.
LIFE Wood for future
LIFE Wood for Future/Madera para el Futuro is a project that obtained funding from the LIFE Program of the European Union [LIFE20 CCM/ES/001656] for the environment and climate action for the next 4 years.
The project’s members are the University of Granada, the Provincial Council, the Confederation of Foresters Organizations of Spain, the University of Santiago de Compostela, and the spinoff 3edata.
The LIFE program celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. During these years it has promoted more than 5,500 projects for environmental improvement and climate action in the European Union.
If you want to get involved in the project or receive more information about the Marjal Chopo Producers Association of Granada, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.