"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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The common denominator of all professions and exhibitors who are present at this meeting is the use of "certified" wood always originating from "rational" forest use, total respect for a natural resource that, if properly used, "is unlimited".

Forest certification has served precisely to curb the deforestation suffered by the planet and to prove that this raw material comes from a properly managed forest and that this management is compatible with the conservation of natural resources in areas that are often included in the Natura 2000 European network.

Numerous artists exhibit in this forum, from the manufacture of simple wooden utensils to sophisticated violins, artistic carvings or completely handmade furniture, boats built exclusively in wood or real "Xylotheques" (wood collections).

Alberto Azpeitia has emphasised the need for proper management of the forest masses in order for the resource to last, and has cited the example of Finland, which is the main wood producer in Europe and at the same time the only country in which the forest mass increases each year.

Spain is the European country with the largest forest area, recalled Azpeitia, who stressed that this forest gathers many native species that are very valuable for the production of noble and quality woods, such as oak, ash or chestnut.

“We have turned our backs on the countryside and many natural resources are being lost", states the organiser of this Exhibition, who said that this distancing from the rural world has had a very negative impact on all activities of the primary sector, such as agriculture, livestock farming, fishing or forestry.

Azpeitia finds regrettable that this abandonment has already led to the extinction of many traditional trades, and has emphasised the interest in that all the wisdom and knowledge that had been required for centuries should not be extinguished with them".

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Difundir el significado y los valores de la Red Natura 2000 es el objetivo del Proyecto LIFE+ "Infonatur 2000", cofinanciado por el instrumento financiero LIFE de UE y que coordina la Junta de Extremadura, y en el que participan la Diputación de Lérida, el Patronato de Turismo de Gerona-Costa Brava y la Agencia EFE.

Más información sobre la Red Natura 2000 en http://infonatur.gobex.es

[9/06/2017]

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