StarTree General Assembly News
StarTree General Assembly was a busy week for the 44 participants who met in Riga, Latvia, from 7-10 May. At least one representative attended from each of the 24 StarTree consortium partners who were hosted by the Latvian State Forest Research Institute (Silava).
Significant progress was made on protocols for data collection for the project and on timetabling activities to get the data collection process underway, a considerable undertaking across the 14 regional case studies. Data collection will encompass the research focuses of four work packages: Resource management, Economy & Marketing of NWFP, Institutional dimensions of NWFP and Innovation structures & processes.
A field trip included visits to stakeholders and a multipurpose tree plantation with presentations from Latvian SMEs who form part of the Latvian Regional Stakeholder Group. Participants visited a basket-weaving SME who described how their now thriving business started “with one small basket”.
They also heard from young entrepreneurs who have turned to the forest for their livelihoods: family-run businesses with innovative products such as hair brushes made of wild boar bristles and sparkling fermented birch sap juice sold as a non-alcoholic champagne alternative. The group tasted the birch sap and a health drink “Ho-Fi”, a sodium chlorophyllin-water solution, made from the waste biomass (small branches and needles) of pine and spruce cut for timber.
Time was also spent discussing the stakeholder engagement process and project dissemination. The project website was officially launched: www.star-tree.eu . You can follow StarTree on Twitter https://twitter.com/StarTreeProject and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/startreeproject.