FireFlocks

Fireflocks coordinates a network of public and private agents to produce and consume flocks products that contribute to wildfire management

Photo of Jordi Vendrell
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Jordi Vendrell Flotats

Initiative's representative date of birth

16 March 1984

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Spain

Headquarters location: city

Taradell

Where are you making a difference?

Catalonia, Spain

Website or social media url(s)

www.ramatsdefoc.org @ramatsdefoc https://www.paucostafoundation.org @PauCostaF

Date Started

September/2016

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

People closely identified with a territory willing to preserve forest and rural areas that become increasingly abandoned, with subsequent loss of biodiversity and vulnerability to wildfires. A shepherdess, a firefighter and a butcher concerned about consecutive seasons of fires and the gradual loss of a local culture associated with pastoral practices, designed Fire flocks while having informal conversations in the middle of Mediterranean forests of the province of Girona in Catalonia region, Spain. The Fire flocks project is today widely acknowledged as a model of sustainable wildfire management in the Mediterranean region.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The Mediterranean basin is characterized by unmanaged forests submitted to an increased vulnerability to wildfires as a result of climate change. A few fires are responsible for large burned areas that exceed the suppression capacity of fire services. Fire experts keep saying that "suppression is the response, but not the solution". The solution involves susustainable forest management practices in fire-dominated ecosystems.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Fire flocks brings together an array of public and private stakeholders interested in the continuity of pastoral practices, converging their needs, and articulating a chain of food production and consumption based on value-added products from extensive livestock practices that contribute to fire prevention in wildland areas. This translates into a Fire flocks label targeted at products from flocks whose impact on the landscape is aligned with the planning requirements to achieve stable landscapes to fire disturbance. Moreover, through this label end-consumers are notified about their contribution to help mitigate the risk of wildfire.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The innovation provided by Fire flocks lies in the coordination of the various actors involved across the value chain of the labelled products, which starts when these products are produced by the flocks and ends when they are consumed by the population. The project encourages that shepherds, firefighters, butchers and restaurants to work together toward a common goal: to reduce forest vulnerability to wildfires and to stop the loss of pastoral systems in the territory that nowadays keeps increasing due to the lack of resources to keep these practices active. Fire flocks designs an innovative model of forest management, fire management and marketing approach of value-added agri-food products.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

One of the strengths of the project is to enable synergies among the diversity of agents -public and private- involved in a variety activities: forest management, conservation of ecosystem services, fire risk management, extensive livestock, marketing of value-added products, and consumers willing to incorporate these products into their diets. This close collaboration among agents has already been achieved and is essential for the continuous running of the project. Without this collaborative approach the viability of Fire flocks would not be possible.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Fire flocks is already causing a positive impact on the economy of the shepherds participating in the project as it is increasing the number of sales of their meat and dairy products at a fair price. Up to date, the Fire flocks network is integrated by 18 livestock farmers and 25 commercial establishments (butchers and restaurants). The tendency observed so far shows that there has been a 12% increase in the number of sales in the butcheries and 40% increase in the restaurants. The social impact can be measured with the total land area that is being utilised for grazing by the project participants, which is currently around 500 ha in the province of Girona. Other social impacts arising from the project are: (1) giving prestige to the trade of shepherds and their traditional practices in the Mediterranean region, (2) involving small trade in product marketing channels while emphasizing on the role of these establishments in the society, and (3) educating the end-consumers.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

The growth in terms of project impact is ambitioned by expanding the geographical area and involving a greater number of agents (shepherds and establishments associated). The consolidation of the project is occurring in the province of Girona, but further efforts are underway to expand the project across and the Catalan territory. Furthermore, pilot tests are already being performed to replicate Fire flocks in other regions, like La Vera, Extremadura region and in Valencia (Spain), in the north of Portugal, in Corsica (France), etc. The project is causing great interest in different Mediterranean regions with similar concerns regarding forest management and fire vulnerability, and they see Fire flocks as a very good solution.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

The social value is expressed by the shepherds who are part of Fire flocks when they happy tell us that are selling more products and that the project helps them to project their social and environmental tasks when grazing in forest areas. The economic value is expressed by butcheries and restaurants when they want to incorporate Fire flocks products because it increases the prestige of their establishments and they can tell their customers about the origin of those products. The social value comes to us as when forest owners contact us to know what they need to do to participate in the project. The economic value arises when we monitor an increase in sales.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The execution and expenses of Fire flocks has been so far guaranteed by means of private funding. Nevertheless, for a medium and long-term funding we propose three strategies that are economically sustainable: (1) generate funds from the sale of the Fire flocks products that can help pay for expenses derived from the project; (2) involve local private companies offering them the possibility to sponsor strategic areas by making an annual contribution (€/ha/year); and (3) seek for synergies with the public administration, which needs to see how people is interested and supports the project.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Current team: Full-time Coordinator: Emma Soy Massoni, PhD on Agronomy Part-time Technician: Guillem Canaleta, MsC on Environment Part-time Community manager: Cèlia Conde, MSC on Communication The evolution of the team's composition will include more dedication of the part-time team, but also the inclusion of new team members with profile suitable for the consolidation and expansion of the project.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges

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