Building Positive Relationships: Parks, Government, Healthcare
Presentation and Discussion

Selvans: Protecting Old Growth Forests

Francesc Giró i Amigó
Sélvans Project

Sèlvans works hard to safeguard the most valuable forests, the most mature ones, which contain ancient trees and retain a more complete natural structure. Our aim is to form a wide network of high conservation value forests, with some sectors assigned to free natural dynamics and others subjected to minimal intervention so as to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Within this basic framework, there is a subset of therapeutic forests: a woodland infrastructure to help us reconnect with nature that complements urban green zones and creates a remarkably high-quality range of health and wellbeing services throughout the region. The creation of the network of therapeutic forests and the corresponding Sèlvans quality standard is based on 6 principles: the peace and quiet of the landscape and the naturalness of the forest, a specialized guidance to facilitate the group’s immersion and connection with this environment, stewardship agreements with the forest land owners, a minimal infrastructure that blends in with the surroundings, a synergy with local stakeholders, and a link to a medical research programme.

Francesc Giró Amigó has a degree in Biological Sciences by the University of Barcelona, and a Master’s degree in Nature Conservation by the University of London.

From 1986 to 1990 he works at the Wetlands Natural Parc of Aiguamolls (northern Catalonia), responsible of the restauration programs for the wetlands, and the planning of public use. Between 1990 and 1995 he serves at the Ministry of Environment of the Catalan Government, developing programs for the conservation and restoration of rivers and wetlands. At the end of 1995 he leaves public administration and works as a freelance in different nature conservation projects, also related to ecotourism. In 1997 he founds “Natura Foundation” (later renamed to “Acciónatura”), where he has been working till 2017 as its director.

From 2013 to 2017, as Acciónatura hosts the Sèlvans program, and together with Jaume Hidalgo i Colomé (father of the Sèlvans project), Francesc helps not only to advance land stewardship agreements and funding to preserve the most valuable forests, but also helps foster the deployment of forest therapy in Catalonia.

In 2017 he receives an honorable recognition by the Catalan Government, valuing his more than 40 years devoted to nature conservation.