Men and chestnut groves have coexisted for centuries, taking care of each other...
The man cultivating the chestnut tree for the nutritional richness of its fruits, and for its wood, dense and durable, with many uses.
The rural exodus and the importance given to short-term economic objectives (uprooting of chestnut trees for tannin extraction) have accelerated the decline of our chestnut grove.
Climatic hazards, but also the progressive passage from cultivation to harvesting, the lack of maintenance of the orchards and the non-renewal of the "old chestnut trees" have favored the decrease of the production and the development of fungal diseases.
The chestnut grove is a semi-natural formation inherited from traditional uses and practices. The abandonment of these practices gradually leads to degradation.
From this observation and in order to offer a new future to the chestnut trees within the Massif des Maures, a project was born.
This project, initiated in the commune of Collobrières, is supported by three local partners: the Collobrières Town Hall, the Association Castanéicole de l'Espace Forestier Collobriérois and the Syndicat des Producteurs de Châtaignes du Var. Its objective is to rehabilitate the chestnut groves and to create the conditions for their sustainable maintenance.
In order to achieve this, we are currently working on the elaboration of an action plan for each parcel, taking into account the location of the parcel, the state of the chestnut grove in place, the cost of rehabilitation of the parcels and the objectives of the various owners.
In certain situations - suitable plots and agricultural presence - the rehabilitation of old orchards will be undertaken in order to boost fruit production. In other cases, farmers and owners are already considering chestnut silviculture in order to enhance the exploitation of the wood.
In addition to the economic activities, the chestnut grove still has multiple interests.
Indeed, the maintained chestnut groves have proven their role as firewalls during the last fires. Rehabilitating the chestnut groves on strategic axes will thus allow to reinforce the fire prevention measures.
Finally, many people (owners or not, residents or not) are concerned about finding a certain quality of landscape in accordance with the cultural heritage of the Maures. The Chestnut Festivals are part of this movement of renewal of the Var castaneïculture. They make the public aware of the work involved in the exploitation of a chestnut grove, and try to revive the traditions linked to the presence of the chestnut tree.