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FUNCTIONS AND BENEFITS

Environmental

Natural areas play a major role in protecting against the sun and regulating water resources and even the climate. The environmental benefits of the great natural area that is Collserola have a direct impact on the health of the millions of people who live around it.

Moreover, forestry land (woods, scrub, meadows and land used to cultivate trees) provides an important source of income for a country. Besides wood, and all its by-products, these resources include edible fungi, medicinal plants, fruit, hunting, pasture, etc. Moreover, all these are renewable resources.

Finally, natural areas are important places for leisure activities and a vital educational resource for a society whose urban population is rising steadily. The Park is a place for meeting and encounters, one in which popular traditions, legends and customs are deeply rooted. Moreover, we should not forget the great aesthetic value to be found in positive experiences of contact with nature, as well as the opportunity for artistic development and discovery.

We can, therefore, speak of three important functions with regard to natural areas: environmental, productive and social.

 

Productive

Woods are an important resource in the world economy. Forestry resources are renewable, and current technical criteria enable such resources to be managed in ways compatible with the conservation of natural systems.

Apart from wood, forests also produce a vast range of other resources: medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plants, fungi, wild fruit, pastureland, etc. in some cases, these resources can be as or even more important than the wood that can be obtained; this is true particularly where wood production is low or where a highly valued product, such as truffles or pine seeds, can be found.

 

Social

Natural areas are a vital part of human heritage. In recent decades, rising income and increased leisure time, along with improved communications systems, which have made such places more easily accessible, have combined to make the recreational and cultural services provided at such sites increasingly important amongst developed societies.

The outstanding features in the social function of Collserola Park are as follows:

 

Landscape value and spaces for discovery

Collserola is a great leisure space with considerable aesthetic value, as well as a vital educational resource for a society whose urban population is rising steadily.

Throughout history, natural areas have provided a constant source of inspiration, awakening our curiosity. There is no doubt that a visit can uplift the visitor’s spirits, improve their mood. They are a source of inspiration and artistic development, as can be seen in the countless artistic manifestations linked to the Serra.

Such sites also foster positive experiences of contact and communion with nature. They are outstanding places for discovery and a great opportunity for learning. The amateur naturalists and associations of scholars that have been inspired by Collserola provide excellent evidence of this.

 

A space for meeting and tradition

For centuries, human communities have created close bonds with nature that have been manifested in a wide range of different ways according to period of history or local custom.

Nature has always been an important repository of popular traditions, legends and customs:

Here, these traditions include aplecs and romeries, gatherings and processions, which go back centuries: Sant Medir, Sant Iscle, La Salut, El Rocío…

Legends such as those of Sant Medir and the Gegant del Pi.

“Fontadas” (visits to fountains): picnics in the Serra became a popular activity during the early-20th century. For example, amongst factory workers, who sought a healthy environment to compensate for the toll taken by their exposure to industrial activities. Some 250 references to fountains in the Serra have been documented.

 

Rambling associations with long traditions in organising popular walks.

At the same time, natural spaces are also perfect for meditation, to enjoy peace and quiet, solitude, whilst listening to the sounds or nature or seeking complete silence.

Consorci del Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola
Ctra. de l'Església, 92. 08017 Barcelona. T: 932 803 552

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