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"Wood craftsmen: depositories of tradition and custodians of nature

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Professionals who work with wood manually are becoming not only craftsmen and depositories of traditions, but also custodians of the environment and of the nature that provides them with the raw material they need.

They are sculptors, carvers, wood turners, carpenters, cabinetmakers or "luthiers" who accumulate a significant amount of knowledge linked to many traditional trades, but who also look out to the future seeking the generational renewal they cannot find.
To this end, the "Jornadas de Trabajo de Autor en Madera” (Signature wood-working days) are held in the cultural space of Matadero of Madrid, a forum that brings together for the third consecutive year professionals from this sector to show a great variety of products made of wood in a traditional way, combining design, functionality and sustainability.

Alberto Azpeitia, co-organiser of the event, has emphasised the importance of giving visibility to these trades and the ancestral knowledge that underlies each one of them, and has observed that in other countries the governments pay public funds towards that transfer of knowledge to safeguard them and ensure their preservation.

In statements made to EFE, Azpeitia said that wood "is not a raw material of the past, it is a resource of the future" and he stated that no other material fits better in the modern concepts of "circular economy" and sustainability; "whenever you plant trees you have raw material, it is a natural cycle that never ends".

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Future technologies impact on the ancient culture of shepherding

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Modern technologies have made their way into the ancient culture of shepherding, with the trade - crucial to the make-up of so many ecosystems - being brought up-to-date to ensure it continues to be handed down the generations and farms remain viable.

To guarantee the transfer of knowledge and stop the trade from going into extinction there has been a proliferation of “Shepherding Schools” contributing to greater professionalism in the sector and above all, better skills.

Shepherding has for centuries been a key element in ensuring many ecosystems are kept in good condition, and to a large extent the survival of the trade depends on the health of many natural areas.

And shepherds are the first link in the chain: a process that encompasses not only the environment, but the prevention of environmental risk, and the modelling of the landscape, as well as food security, animal wellbeing, land management, and the conservation of culture and tradition.

It may or may not have much to do with the romantic image of ancient farmers guiding their flocks: Batis Otaegi, head of the Escuela de Pastores del País Vasco (Basque Country Shepherding School) is bringing values such as a love for nature and passion for animals back to the foundations of the trade.

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Los ecoturistas quieren más y mejores senderos y menos centros de visitantes

atardecer formenteraLos ecoturistas quieren más y mejores senderos e infraestructuras para acceder a los recursos naturales y no tanto grandes instalaciones como los centros de visitantes y de interpretación que han proliferado durante las últimas décadas en muchos países.

Casi la mitad de los ecoturistas deciden sus destinos en función de esas infraestructuras y de que sean seguras, pero su decisión depende también de que puedan realizar actividades (senderismo, observación de aves u otras) que les acerquen a esos recursos naturales.

Los argumentos son del profesor estadounidense James Barborak, director del Centro para el Manejo y Capacitación en Áreas Protegidas de la Universidad Estatal de Colorado y miembro del grupo de Turismo y Áreas protegidas de la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN).

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