Barbanza Ecosocial Lab

A living laboratory for multifunctional land management

The Barbanza Ecosocial Lab is a transformative initiative that, in a collaborative and multidisciplinary way, works together with local communities to promote a transition towards environmental sustainability and increase resilience in the territorial management of the Barbanza mountains through the promotion of biodiversity, the circular economy and the creation of green jobs.

Current funding entity

Fundación Biodiversidad del MITECO


Funding entities in previous phases

Fundación Banco Santander
Fundación RIA
Cátedra Juana de Vega


Lead entity

Fundación RIA


O Barbanza, A Coruña

Taking the previous work of the last four years as a starting point, in 2024 the Lab has been selected in the call for grants for the promotion of the forest bioeconomy of the Fundación Biodiversidad of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), receiving a boost of 2 million euros for the sustainable management of the territory within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

RIA coordinates this project formed by the Plataforma pola Defensa do Monte, the University of Santiago de Compostela (through CISPAC and the research groups Histagra and Uxafores), the University Pablo de Olavide, the Council of Rianxo and the Fundación Montescola.

The origins of the Laboratory

The Barbanza Ecosocial Lab was born as a research and action project to demonstrate a hypothesis: in order to guarantee the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the territories, the active participation of local communities is essential.

From the outset, the project has focused its attention on a very specific region of Galicia, the Barbanza peninsula, in order to—in the first phase (2020), research—highlight the forms of land management historically carried out by local communities and—in successive phases (from 2021), action—promote initiatives in the region that are governed by the same principles of sustainability.

The aim is to draw lessons from this process to show possible approaches to economic, social and environmental issues that are relevant beyond this territory.

The proposal selected by Fundación Biodiversidad

Taking this work as a starting point, the proposal selected by Fundación Biodiversidad is the result of the joint work of Fundación RIA, Plataforma pola Defensa do Monte and the common land communities (CMVMC), the CMVMC of Baroña, the University of Santiago (CISPAC and groups Histagra and Uxafores), Pablo de Olavide University of Seville, Montescola Foundation and the City Council of Rianxo, who join forces to implement this transformative project.

With the objectives of generating employment and economic opportunities, conserving biodiversity and preventing forest fires, throughout 2024 and 2025, interventions will be carried out in the forests to reactivate abandoned areas, introduce regenerative livestock farming and use and transform resources in a sustainable way; capacities will be generated through a programme of training workshops, educational actions and environmental volunteering; the potential of community land management, collective energy use, as well as soil rehabilitation and carbon sequestration will be evaluated. Finally, the whole process will be communicated to serve as an inspiration for other territories and to inform public policies.

Find out more about the Laboratorio Ecosocial do Barbanza through the project’s website.