Iberianature Forum

Plants and Fungus of Iberia. Pretty flowers, stinking fungus, trees and shrubs. => Trees => Topic started by: Clive on September 01, 2007, 17:41 PM

Title: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on September 01, 2007, 17:41 PM
I am getting a little confused as to the statistics of the forested area of Spain.

The below quote taken from the second page (third from last post) of

For example, the area around Vilafailia is incredibly rich in certain types of birds (bustards, etc) precisely because of ancient deforestation. These are the so-called psuedo-steppes, man-made but vital for certain wildlife at an EU level. It mimics the true steppes of Asia, but with a summer drought. Given that forest is expanding almost everywhere in Spain (where urbanisation isn't) this type of habitat is far more precious.

I would like to know who has access to data that substantiates the claim that “forest is expanding” In real terms that is, taking in to account forest land that has burned and is now subject to desertification but is still classified as forest.

There is land outside of my window designated as forest with barely a tree on it. It was “forest” before the fire the year before last but now it is Mediterranean scrub and maquis (called hedgehog zone because of the low growing prickly plants that are there now). As the land dries and the wind blows, the goats are left to overgraze and the soil is eroded we are left with designated “forest” land that actually doesn’t have a tree on it.

Nearly 27,000 hectares of forested land have burned in Spain this year, 66 per cent less than during the corresponding period in 2006 and the lowest level since 1997, the daily El Pais has reported. But am I to believe that more than this amount has been replanted as forest? No I don’t think so.

Because I worked in forestry and land management I am always interested to see those rows and rows of tree protectors across mountains so I always stop and take a look to see what species has been planted and what condition the saplings are in. I rarely get to identify the sapling because they are almost always dead and gone. I pity the poor eco volunteer that sweated to dig the whole and plant the doomed sapling.

I believe that forested area statistics are meaningless when desertification and land classification are not taken into account.

My definition of a forest is a dense growth of trees, plants, and underbrush covering a large area. What I see outside my window is not a forest but it is classified as forest...It is not even wooded....

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on September 01, 2007, 18:03 PM
Clearly not everywhere is expanding. That would be impossible and clearly anywhere at serious risk from desertification suggests that forest is not expanding, or is under risk, in that area.

Certainly in Catalonia forest is expanding almost everywhere. It is cited as the main reason for the change in bird species in the region over the last 20 years. http://www.iberianature.com/material/birdatlas.html

There has been widespread abandonment of the countryide across huge areas of Spain in areas where people once grew crops and cut down trees for firewood.

I'm not entirely sure that you definition of forest is correct, but whatever the case it takes centuries to arrive at climax states of forest.

But what you rightly want our bonafide references. Let's start looking for them:

Castilla y León
La Comunidad recupera en 50 años el bosque perdido en 5.000

By the way,  have you seen an old photos of Grazalema?
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on September 03, 2007, 14:19 PM
Well, now I am even more baffled after a conversation with a Spanish friend with regards to the amount of trees in the Sierra de Grazalema and in Spain generally. He actually left my house scratching his head with a mission to find out more information from the older people that he knows.

This guy was born in the room that is now our bedroom in a small valley close to Grazalema so he has memories of what the sierras were like 45 years ago. The conversation went like this.

Clive: "Are there more trees here now that there was when you grew up here?"
Al: "Oh yes, many more"
Clive: "So, the mountain opposite the house... Did that have trees on it when you were a kid?
Al: "no it was completely bare"
Clive: "that would be because of the lime making pits though yes? So there must have been wood there for them to make the fires that are needed to make lime powder. So there must have been trees there before the lime production started..."

At this point we agree that yes before the lime pits there must have been "forest" in order for the lime pits to be there...So logically the bit in between during lime manufacturing was not "normal"

Then we start talking about old sayings and memories.

Al: "People say that in the old days a squirrel could travel all the way from the Pyrenees to Seville without setting foot on the ground"
Clive: “in the old days it used to take 3 days to get from Malaga to Cadiz on horseback and you never came out of the forest”
Al: “right then, there must have been more trees before because there is no way a squirrel could do that now. There aren’t enough trees!”

Bearing in mind that Andalucia is part of the desertification process it makes sense that here there would be less trees than before. But how do we explain the squirrel?

We then talk about the abandonment of farms and land and we both agree that nature has reclaimed land that was once maintained arable or grazing but we struggled to define whether this land is now “forest”. We both agreed that it is simply “campo” and had another beer.

I can’t wait till he comes back with answers from the village elders.....


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on September 04, 2007, 01:23 AM
"People say that in the old days a squirrel could travel all the way from the Pyrenees to Seville without setting foot on the ground"

This is from Pliny the Elder. It often appeared in Spanish school texts in the last century. That's where you're neighbour would have got it from.

Though no doubt much more wooded, Iberia would have treeless areas too - part of the Ebro basin for instance has "always" been moorland.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on September 04, 2007, 01:24 AM
When I go away I often like to look at old photos of the area in bars and such. It's incredible how treeless Spain was until it began to turn around in the 1950s. Let's look into this more. I find it utterly fascinating too.
My mate Francis (Civil War parrot post) taught the director of Barcelona zoo English for a year. He told Francis that the single most important change for nature Spain in Spain in the last century was the reforestation programme begun in 1950s and continued into the present, aided by the abandonment of the countryside.
There's a UN? study that was published last year which I annoyingly can't find about the change in forest in the world in the last 30 years. Number 1 increase is Spain and number 2 is Ukraine (because of Chenolbyl) I guess I'll find it soon.
Another angle is what is true Iberian forest? Some think that much forest would have been considerbly thinner than today's forest, perhaps like a denser dehesa, due to the much greater presence of grazing animals. - like Africa savanah forests, fundementally kept clean by some fire and massive rabbit cropping, and  by huge migratory herds of deer, ancient cows and whatnot, travelling across the Pensinsula in search of food.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: lucy on September 04, 2007, 09:22 AM
The Catalan pre-Pyrenees has seen alot of re-foresting.  I saw photos in Montgrony like the ones you mention Nick - the sanctuary and hostal were startlingly isolated on the bare mountain side, which was given over to pasture.  Now there are only a few clearings among mainly pine forest. 
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on September 08, 2007, 01:14 AM
Dear all,

If you travel the length of the sistema central, you can clearly see vaste stands of natural reafforestation.......nearly all of it deciduous oak. Typicallly it very dense, the trees are tall and spindly. Off the top of my head there's sq km of it in the Riaza area - north facing, Piornal/Jerte area,  lesser expanses, if memeory serves me correctly, of  deciduous oak and encina in the Tormes valley in the Navacepada area and other areas can be seen driving from Madrid into the sistema........... and there is loads more ..........However, loads off it remains deforested ( I wrote some stuff on this under trees about history of scots pine in the S.C. .... not sure how to link ). Again the Rioja Sierras have large areas of what looks like 'new' natural regrowth of d. oak......and I think the Sierra de la Demanda is similar( It's the only large sierra I've not been to.....un dia...). If you took these few areas I've mentioned we are talking 100s of sq km of new 'real' forest.

All this is due to change of land use in the 50 years..........there's loads of interesting questions, opportunities and threats too......related to this topic.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on September 08, 2007, 01:58 AM
Dear all,

I was reading about the bear paw in Navacepada and it reminded me of something I saw in the area some years ago........it's related to my previous posting and the theme but I thought I'd start afresh.

I cannot rmember where exactly.....I think it was the Menga pass area that links Avila.......... I remember it being high up in what is the Gredos (part of the Sistema Central). Here I came across a large area many sq km, where there were 100 plus year old  or perhaps nearer 200 plus year old oak trees (at that height it is hard to guess the age.....my best guess would circa 200yr). BUT they were many 100s of m apart AND there was negligible regrowth ( I'm sure the land was grazed) and  the trees were not part of boundarys...........You rarely see this and so it looks strange. My only explanation was that there had been a forest here about  200 years ago, but it was felled and few young trees had been left which have now matured...............or perhaps the end process of forests death by grazing ( though there no or very few very old oaks so this is not so likely)..........

Does anyone know was there alot of Spanish ship building using Spanish oak for the Trafalgar fleet, or was it mostly French ships built with French trees that made up the fleet.

Also does anyone know where the trees came from that built the Spanish ships for the Lepanto and Armada fleets?

Thanks steveT

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on September 08, 2007, 21:07 PM

Here's part of the article I was looking for:


End of Deforestation in View?
Among the 50 nations studied, forest area in percentage terms shrank fastest from 1990 to 2005 in Nigeria and the Philippines, and expanded fastest in Viet Nam, Spain and China.

Growing stock fell fastest in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines, and increased fastest in the Ukraine and Spain.


The graph shows Indonesia down roughly 2% per year in forested area and down 4% in density. At the other end of the spectrum is Spain, which increased its forested area by 2% per year and its density by almost 1%.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on September 08, 2007, 21:14 PM
The full article is this


But it won't open
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on September 09, 2007, 20:48 PM

This was really interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks steveT
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Jill on September 10, 2007, 21:22 PM
Hi Steve T (et al)

I think that the trees which were used to build ships in the distant past must have come from pretty near the coast. I've read that it could take up to two years to drag a big oak tree from the Weald to the Kentish coast. It sounds pretty unbelievable, but the depth of mud on the roads made haulage almost impossible. Anything that couldn't be fitted on the back of a horse used to be shipped around the edge of that  rain-sodden isle. Here, things will obviously have been a lot drier and therefore less muddy but the hills and mountains would have been tremendous obstacles. I can't honestly see anyone dragging trees all the way from the centre of Spain to the coast.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on September 11, 2007, 23:16 PM
Dear Jill,

I can see that dragging the logs would be hard, but some could be pre-processed ie into planks insitu. Also if you have no big trees near the coast ( they will often be the first to go ) or they are of the wrong species you will have to go inland ..... however hard it may be to extract them.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on September 30, 2007, 01:05 AM
Greetings All,
Yet another great iberianatureforum thread that I missed out on while ligging lolling about on beach. Still a lot of reading to catch up on, but just to stick my oar in so that this thread doesn’t get one of those red-letter warnings on it, I too have been perplexed by the spurious claims by politicians and which are then, of course, oft-repeated by the journalists. Don’t really want to señalar con el dedo (En. anyone?) any autonomous particular region but Nick’s link is a case in point: the regional minister says that his region is predominantly forest and rural land. OK, no-one doubts that it is rural, but to equate rural with forest is (intentionally) misleading. Possibly what they are doing in order to reach their mind-boggling stats., is to equate monte with forest.

Another example of this misleading is that ever since I came to Madrid (more or less around the time squirrels could leap from tree to tree), I have heard mayor after mayor repeat time and time again - ad nauseum and whenever someone complains about the number of centenary trees being cut down to build yet another tunnel or car park - that Madrid is the European capital with most parkland and trees. And I have put this wonderful piece of hype to the test by often asking Madrileños if they know which capital city in Europe, etc. etc. To a man (and woman) they have all repeated the bilge they have been force-fed. My only explanation is that they count each tree – whether full-grown or not - as having a canopy of so-many square metres (taken to its extreme that means a 6-metre square patch of dry land with four trees with very little folliage might be calculated as comprising 12 square metres of forest/park/woodland)

As for trees being used for shipbuilding, I was told that most of the wood for the ships going to the Americas came from Extremadura i.e. the region furthest away from the coast - possibly 'cos being so far inland it was the only place where there were still big trees left?

Re. the reforestry from 1990 to 2005
Spain, which increased its forested area by 2% per year and its density by almost 1%.
can someone better at basic arithmetic than yours truly do the basic maths on that one. I get roughly 30% increase for the first figure - which just cannot be true (as Clive mentioned, we've all seen large expanses of land with pathetic specimens of shrivelled trees). On the other hand, has anyone done a similar stat. analysis on the areas burnt over the same period? As I mentioned elsewhere, there must be humungous amount of fraudulent figures involved in reforestry - as in just about any (commercial) activity involving subsidies and EU-funding.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on September 30, 2007, 11:16 AM
Hi there all
 Coming in late on a thread again...
Subject of trees and this particular area which is supposed to be becoming desertified. In our first year we have planted about 150 trees, all doing quite nicely thank you . Between the casa and P lumberas there is a very new olive grove being planted and we are talking of thousands of trees. I was reminded yesterday showing some friends from England the area around here and correcting their mispercepti ons by showing south side and north side of the mountains here. Watching their jaws drop as we moved round from barren soaring mountains to pine and oak covered  slopes. I am not trying to take away form any of the debate - just saying that at another level this rather overlooked area in terms of Spain is coming alive because of tree planting.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Sue on September 30, 2007, 16:19 PM
Hi All,

We have not yet agreed on a definition of forest and it would be interesting to see how much we alter in our descriptions and unless we know the official definition we can only guess at its meaning.

SueMac you mentioned that you have planted 150 trees but not whether they are native to your area or cultivated for fruit. It is also interesting to note that you talk about trees grown for a crop ie olives in the same thread as forests. So does that mean that you consider them one and the same?

For me personally, the monoculture of an olive tree plantation does not blend easily with the topic of native forest. An olive/fig/pear or whatever plantation is usually associated with use of pesticides and a complete ground clearance strategy, thus I cannot see this as any more than a planted crop. Yes the roots are able to fix the soil to an extent but this is not a natural environment.

Regards, Sue
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on September 30, 2007, 22:34 PM
Hi there
Our personal trees are a total mix from fruit to pines, to almonds to  flowering shrubs.  My neighbour has also put in pines.I  still think you are missing the point  - someone showed a picture of Almeria under plastic - I cant quote you what has been going into  the earth in this end of Murcia and  Andalucia but it is going to help against soil erosion. Also  the northern slopes are beginning to look a bit like forests to my untrained eye. Turning back the clock after much time of neglect on the land has to start somewhere.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on September 30, 2007, 23:09 PM
Hi SueMac and all, some interesting points being raised here.

(SueMac). The pines you have planted for example, are they(were they) endemic to the area in the past?  Or are they species of pines that really have no place in the hot and dry landscape of southern Europe.

The areas such as the badlands in the Granada Plateau around the Guadix for example hasn't been formed in the recent past by neglect, nor has the dry area of the Tabernass desert. these are naturally occurring treeless zones. (much the same but geologically different from the Ebro delta scenario that Nick mentions in an earlier post here.

As for soil erosion, thousands of olive trees planted in a monoculture system will (and does) cause more soil erosion than a sensible multi crop well managed piece of land. (olives to me are a crop plant and don't make a forest). Soil erosion due to bad land management is one thing but the desertification of Southern / eastern Spain has been happening for a very long time and I feel that planting a few trees now that are evolved from the wetter and cooler north will not halt the inevitable transformation of this part of the world.

I think Sue has a very good point that the definition of a forest in the mind of the people posting here needs to be aired. (my first post in this topic has my definition)

Then the difference between native forest (virgin and natural regrowth) and crop planting of "pine" trees needs defining and also a study of what exactly lay between Cordoba and the Sierra Cazorla before those mind bogglingly enormous olive groves were planted.

TP has also raised some very valid points about the definition and usage of words such as "monte" and at this point I am of the mind that the bigger powers that be are cooking the books as usual...(yes, even at the European level)


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: lisa on October 01, 2007, 12:31 PM
Just quickly, a definition of "bosque" and more from the Spanish Ministry for the Environment  (http://www.mma.es/secciones/cambio_climatico/areas_tematicas/flexibilidad/sumideros/index.htm) (MMA);

"Bosque: superficie mínima de tierras de entre 0,05 y 1,0 hectáreas (ha) con una cubierta de copas (o una densidad de población equivalente) que excede del 10 al 30% y con árboles que pueden alcanzar una altura mínima de entre 2 y 5 metros (m) a su madurez in situ. Un bosque puede consistir en formaciones forestales densas, donde los árboles de diversas alturas y el sotobosque cubren una proporción considerable del terreno, o bien en una masa boscosa clara. Se consideran bosques las masas forestales naturales y todas las plantaciones jóvenes que aún no han alcanzado una densidad de copas de entre el 10 y el 30% o una altura de los árboles de entre 2 y 5 m, así como las superficies que normalmente forman parte de la zona boscosa pero carecen temporalmente de población forestal a consecuencia de la intervención humana, por ejemplo la explotación, o de causas naturales, pero que se espera vuelvan a convertirse en bosque;

La definición adoptada por España establece como parámetros básicos:

Cubierta mínima de copas: 20%
Unidad mínima de superficie: 1 hectárea
Altura mínima de los árboles en su madurez: 3 metros

My personal definition of a forest is a large area of trees and undergrowth in which it is possible to get lost whereas woods you can walk out of.
In Spanish, the adjective "forestal" is used extensively but forest = bosque and woods = bosque. I think selva = jungle.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 01, 2007, 14:48 PM
Greetings Lisa and All,
Thanx for that defintion, Lisa - would be interesting to see if all the autonomous communities have adopted that national def.  >:D

My Diccionario de la Naturaleza (Ed. Pedro Cifuentes et al, ETS Ingenieros de Montes, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 1993) starts its definiton of "bosque" with the following:

Aunque la palabra "bosque" tiene un claro contenido para cada uno de nosotros, no es fácil de definir. Hay muchas maneras de enfocarlo, oscilando entre el concepto de "un área dedicada a la producción de madera" -definición usada en las viejas leyes forestales-  y el concepto actual de ecosistema como interacción de todas las criaturas vivas de un área determinada, entre sí y con el medio inorgánico.

Which basically says:
a) we all have our own idea and there is no easy definition;
b) Spain's old forestry laws clearly defined forests as areas for wood production;
c) the present-day definition is that of an ecosystem in which all the living creatures of a certain area can interact among themselves and with their inorganic surroundings.

The book in question then gets incredibly technical and defines types of bosques in Spain.

While we are still at the early stage of agreeing on an iberianatureforumers' definition of forests/bosques/woods, maybe we should also define the concept "get lost in", 'cos I know of people who can get/have got lost in even the smallest copse - sounds travel badly over large distances when among trees and at even 100 metres. As I mentioned elsewhere yonks ago, I always wear bright-coloured clothing and carry bright-coloured rucksacks, etc. when planning a trip outside the city walls - if I'm with kids, I want them to be able to see me from a distance, and if there's even the remotest possibility of hunters, likewise.  :dancing:

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 01, 2007, 22:49 PM
Greetings All,
At first reading of Lisa's posting of the MMA's definition I missed the significance of the following:
así como las superficies que normalmente forman parte de la zona boscosa pero carecen temporalmente de población forestal a consecuencia de la intervención humana, por ejemplo la explotación, o de causas naturales, pero que se espera vuelvan a convertirse en bosque;

In other words, the official definition includes all the areas that are temporarily left bare after having been devastated by fire or used up by the wood/paper industries - that is, the figures might just add up if you count the land which should or could or did have trees growing on it and add it to all the land that actually does have trees growing on it.

That said, I'm sure that if you were to add up all the official figures you'd come up with an area larger than the surface area of the whole Ib. Pen. (see my previous posting on this thread re. hype) >:D

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on October 01, 2007, 23:25 PM
Now I have a problem  Clive who had a little accident has asked me to repost my last message on trees of this are or at least some of the points I was making. That's difficult with a brain like mine.  But I think I can remember the main points.
Firstly we have planted aleppos, pinetrees here that are endemic to the area and are flourishing under our care and especially as we have had good quantities of rain for this region this year and last.  This area was very badly hit three years ago by serious late frosts and just about killed everything in sight - that is hard to believe now helped I believe by our good husbandry and learning from our Spanish friends.
Which brings me to the second point - this area had suffered badly from people just walking off the land and abandoning just about everything.  Some still return for hunting or lease out which is a big source of irriitant because all they want in scrub land.
however there is a flourishing almond area here and people can come back just for weekends to look after those plantations.  As far as I am concerned there are areas usually on the north side of the hills which are flourishing with pine and oaks and olives and qualify as forest land to me. It is certainly being husbanded by foresters.  All of this is good in helping to stabiise a very fragile and unusual ecosystem.   There are also flourishing shrubs and trees here that cant be more Spanish for instance the pomegranate, the fig, carob, junipers, canes which are essential to house building techniques in this area.  We have planted silver leaf trees which are acting as wind breaks. Of course this land is too high for oranges or lemons. And not a gold course anywhere near us.  Think the nearest is about 25 kiometers away. Mostly Spanish people cant understand why we should want to live where we do. That probably goes for most British poeple for that matter.
Some money has been around to help this area in protecting Puerto Lumbrera like the Robinwood Project.   All this in the end will be for the general good. for both the natural environment and the people who live within it.The other side of our Cabeza de Jara is the begininng of the desert areas of Almeria They may be a natural occurring desert but the whole region is  still to some degree interdependent. So one does worry about what is happening on the other side of the mountain.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 02, 2007, 01:18 AM
Dear all/wildside and nick

This is a really interesting area. Just a couple of points. There was a paper written about 10 years ago plus, and featured in Quercus about past forest/tree cover in the Almeria area, and the conclusion was that there was probably more in the recent past than we think (Tabernas was still as it is today).....as did the Guadix area.

Quoting my Bible - 'The BP Mapa de Caraterras.......( You might think i'm joking but this old book is brilliant)'The Ebro valley area Bardenas Reales/Monte Olvete/Pana De Negra probably never had forest/tree but most of the rest of the Ebro valley was  sabina albares and pine forest, Sabinar de Pallaruello and La Retuerta de Pina are relic stands. Sabina albres was used as winter fodder for sheep and this was one of the reasons for deforestation here.

My point is that there are really probably only a very few localised places that probably never had forest/tree cover in Spain.


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on October 02, 2007, 11:08 AM
So Steve.... You got to bite the bullet..

Is there more forest cover in the Iberian peninsula now than say 100, 500 or 1000 years ago?

I think there is less forest now but I am out voted by those guys in Europe what have studied it better..... :)

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 02, 2007, 12:30 PM
Greetings All,
Any idea if Lisa's 100,000,000 trees (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,463.msg3279/topicseen.html#msg3279) have already been included in the mindless stats. official figures being bandied about?  :technodevil:

Surely the area they [will] cover would be existing forested land as defined by the powers-that b.* Which therefore means said trees don't/won't actually exist ... or is that logic too fuzzy? Virtual forests? Definition, anyone?

*Maybe I'm being too pessimistic here, but while we all know of cases in which protected land has been/is being de-protected in order to build ** - among other things, future feeding grounds for the voles forced into exile from C&L - aka gold courses - but I, for one, and please correct me if I'm wrong, have yet to hear of urban land being converted into a natural area and/or hotel complexes being knocked down.

Of course, there are a couple of cases in which houses have been knocked down for various reasons, but these were built in existing developments, and there are a couple of recent cases of prevarication in the courts of first instance ... >:D

Maybe this is not the right thread, but re. the above issue of courts, courts seem to be very willing, and agile, when it comes to evicting people who get behind in their mortgage payments, or squatters in abandoned buildings, etc., but are somehow slower and more thoughtful when it comes to knocking down someone's "chalet", however illegal, as they want to uphold the constitutional right to people having a home.

**Today, at last, the courts (of first instance  :dancing:) have admitted the case against Madrid's former regional minister for urban planning regarding a protected monte he had deprotected in order for it to be developed - by a company run by his wife. What's the betting on the statute of limitations coming into play in this case? Or former ministers - however regional - only being able to be judged by the Supreme Court. Or ...

Sorry for the rants: got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Despondent-and-can-someone-please-post-a-nice-bit-of-cheerful-news-or-a-pic.-of-a-luridly-coloured-butterfly or-orchid-might-do-the-trick-regs.,
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 02, 2007, 21:57 PM
Dear Clive,

Antes de morder la bala............I'd like to digress as I think it is an important point. I was reading Jared Diamonds book Collapse ( I much prefered his Guns, Germs and Steel - which I think is one of the most thought provoking books I've read -  If your interested in the realationship between history and geography it gets no better than this book  )...........anyway in the book he talks about forest husbandry in Japan and how the forests there, and there's loads has been managed for centuries - way back to the first millenia and perhaps beyond. This managing was extensive, very long term and even detailed to the last tree in some areas.....incredible!!!!!

My point is that we forget how important trees were in the past and that there was alot of land set aside, for long term forestry exploitation. Spain was no exception.....nowhere near the scale of Japan.......but when trying to find the location of timber for the Lepanto and Armada fleets by reading research articles ( I did not reslove this one ) .....it was clear that around the 1500s  Galicia, Asturias and the Barcelona  were areas where timber was being grown and cultivated in the time scale needed to produced big trees - this being done under royal decree or guidance ( apparently the incentive being monarchs investing in their dynasty ie timber = ships =power for the next in line )......I'm not so convinced but thats what I read. Interestingly alot of the managed forest was for industrial use smelting and other uses ie bricks and ceramics.

All this is poorly documented and some of the documents that do exist clearly indicate, that some at least of the forests were poorly managed. So we know little of the extent of managed forest cover for royal/national interests ............. my guess is it was small though. However each urban centre must have also had its timber source for construction ......... old Spanish buildings often use MASSIVE beams they had to come from somewhere.......Even so my guess is managed forest in Spain was probably small 1500 onwards.....but I could be wrong...but it is a factor all the same and one that is not often mentioned.

Back to the bullet......from what I've read I'd go for.........
100 years ago definately less trees

500  almost certainly less trees

1000 years ago almost certainly more trees

Just one more point if you look at Spanish paintings 500 - 100 y.a. hill sides/mountains always look fairly treeless ( same in Uk paintings ).....ok this proves nothing but worth noting.

Sorry if this rambled a bit..........steveT

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on October 03, 2007, 09:46 AM
Dear all

This debate is interesting but meaningless it seems to me unless it is described region by region given the immense size and weather variation of Spain. I thought Steve T starts to address some more important points.  In the south wood has always been precious in terms of building and explains the importance of aluminium production in this area.(If anyone is interested I have an arty photo among the five of Nogalte showing aluminium and bauxite in the rocks. See other post.
  It is quite funny that it was me who introduced my spanish builder firend to a reclamation yard for "massive" pieces" of old wood, run by English people.
Now this may please some and annoy Nick but again I have gone back to  chapter 2 in 'In Spain's Secret Wlderness" by Mike Tomkins who describes the Sierra Expuna in a visit in the 70s ie over 30 years ago and discusses with a friend how and why the park came about. He then takes a visit to ICONA (National Institute for the Conservation of Nature) to meet the Murcian  Director of the day.

I am going to try and quote it here because I think it helps reinforce my views already made (Apart from the fact I just love any excuse to talk about the Espuna)

........."At the turn of the century most of the area was owned by a man called Ricardo Codorniu who loved trees.  Few mountains in this hot dry arid region supported any trees and so he had made it his life's work, with a few helpers to stop soil erosion by planting trees throughout much of the Espuna range.  He planted mainly carasco pines black pines and white pines and these were complemented by acacias with lombardy and canadian poplars along the edges of five river beds.  While these 'rivers' were dry most of the year, only running with water when it rained heavily, the soil in them was damper than elseewhere.  Other seeds also took root in time so that there were now more than 30 species of tree including the beautiful flowering madronas juniper oak ash willow hawthorn to be found there.  Under their shelter variousgrasses and busses thrived because the trees reduced the power of the winds.  Planting was basically complete by 1929 and the Reserve was now run by the forestry engineers of ICONA.

The amazing result of all this was the return of a flourishing wild life.  Small mammals like mice and voles prospered.  Insects increased.  Hundreds of nest boses were hung in the trees. Rabbits fed on the new grasses multiplied rapidlly. Now that they had a larger food source the few foxes wildcats and genets in the area also thrived.  Young golden eagles drifting for miles as they lookeded for new territories found the rabbits lizard mice and voles and excellent nesting sites and so there were three nesting pairs returned to the area. There wer two oro three pairs of short-toed eagles.  Wild boar returned to the area.............
Carlos told me proudluy that the lessons in Espuna were now being applied to ither dry wildlife areas of Spain as more private lands came into ICONA's hands"

Rereading this myself I know that the Nogalte in 2007 isnt doing too badly at all - as long as we can keep the hunters at bay.

Perhaps I should be putting up a bid for the Espuna Project.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on October 03, 2007, 11:03 AM
Hi Sue mac and all,

Sue mac I don't necessarily agree with you when you say the debate is pointless unless taken region by region. As far as I am aware the ancient Mediterranean forest stretched across the whole of Andalusia and as far North as the southern slopes of at least the Sierra de la Demanda. That is a lot of forest...

In our recent trip one thing that we did notice was the presence of evergreen oaks pretty much everywhere we went. Further north they become replaced by deciduous sessile oaks and Pyrenean oaks. As we run South cork oaks and other southern shrubs become present. One of the most fascinating things was the coverage of the Cistus species wherever there were green oaks and the lygos went further north than Madrid. In many places remnants of this forest remain and in others it is very obvious to see it returning.

As for Mediterranean forest Nick has a brief paragraph at http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/category/almeria/

This old forest must have been a huge resource and was cut down and systematically burned across the regions. Sometimes for fuel and building materials but probably the deforestation at that time was caused by feudal wars and land clearance. Nick is the expert on this but I believe the fear of wild animals and invaders drove the people to burn huga tracta of land that was covered in this type of forest cover...

The man made (planted) forest of Espuña is beautiful and I am due a visit over that way as soon as I get a chance but the fact remains that it is an artificial planting of trees that in the long run did not evolve in this part of the world

It is also a fact that many of the forest fires across Iberia are fires of "managed" non endemic woodlands that have not been managed properly or have had there status changed to "protected" which stops the workers from doing their job properly.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on October 03, 2007, 12:05 PM
Sorry Clive but what has the fact it is man made got to do with the price of eggs? Man has been manipulating or not since time immemorial.
I am pointing out that the dry regions need to be seen  differently from say Asturia - as we know climate matters and climate change is going to be even more of an issue requiring man to make decisions abou this country and others. I go back to pointing out that we are impacting on our environment by planting  in a very fragile environment - as are others.  You will notice from my posts we have more than our fair share of very interesting animal life.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: SueMac on October 03, 2007, 12:37 PM
I forgot to say that if you look at what "man" probably of Spanish or Portuguese descendence has done in the last 100 years (which seems to be a figure that appears to have some meaning) did in the Amazon basin against what Cordoniu and his friends did in the Sierra Espuna then give me man made forests every time.
Also one tree does not a forest make.... it is just an indicator or even possibly a snap shot of previous periods of natural history imho
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 04, 2007, 00:21 AM
Dear Clive,

I wrote you a long reply yesterday and its  disappeared!!!!!! I'm sure I posted it......I don't know what happened.....sorry. Mind you it was a bit waffly so probably best it got lost in the ethers.

Bueno mordiendo la bala....

100 ya definately less trees.

400 ya almost cetainly less       D. Attenborough's the First Eden gives mid 16th century as a date when the old forest areas of Spain that existed then are effectly what we see today......but in the last 50 yrs there's been alot of new forest growth.

500- ya  possibly less

1000ya definately more

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on October 04, 2007, 10:22 AM
Hey Steve, Your post is there scroll up 6 posts to find it.... :)

I think now we are getting somewhere by splitting up the time scales... It would make an interesting study to create new topics like "Iberia's wildlife and forests 1000 years ago"

For example it is only a few decades since the melting of the last glaciers on the Sierra Nevada which must be altering that area immensely.. i think the remnants now are 40 odd high altitude tarns where the sources were. trees and shrubbery will certainly start to expand in that region that in earlier years was above the "tree" line due to the colder temperatures. The same must be happening in the Sierra de la Demanda and the Pyrenees and other peaks above 2000 ish metres.

Do you have a particular link for info on Attenboroughs first Eden studies ?

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 05, 2007, 00:11 AM
Dear Wildside,

The Book is one of his first or first....1987!!!!!!!!! ISBN 0-00-219827-4 The First Eden ........basically a natural history of the med basin from just after its creation to now..... it's excellent.

I agree the tree line must be moving up across Iberia........as are must all the vegetaion zones. And I guess this will spell the end also of some refugia.....eg the most southerly beech stand in Montejo (sistema central) or the yews that are clinging on to some of the highest peaks.......apparently some are really far south!......for example.

I read some where that nearly all the glacier/small ice fields that exist in Spain or have just melted in recent past, are effectively accumulations made during last mini ice age. And that there was no annual snow/ice accumulation since the end of the ice, until the mini ice age.......though I need to reseach ths to find out if it's true........which is an important consideration.

NB I'm sceptical because the ice age ends with several millenia of warming followed by  a 1000 yr cold snap 11500-10500 ya called the Younger Dryas and this produced huge new ice cover in Europe's mountains.....I had always thought that the year round ice fields/glaciers that exist or existed until very recently on Iberian mountains date from this point ( and clearly thru the last ice age)..... I'll look in to this......mind you Spain as all of Europe went through the Medieavil Warm Phase (circa 1000ya) ......this few centuries of warming might have melted ice accumulations on all Iberia mountains?

And yes a new topic would be great! ........perhaps also looking further back at auroch and bison extinction dates....and causes......as these hebivores must have had an impact on tree density......as the 'true' ( climatic climax) forests of Europe/ Spain are believed to have been more Savanah like and open.


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 16, 2007, 22:30 PM
Dear Wildside........and anyone else whose interested,

I'm still following up your idea. I've read loads of stuff but haven't got clear or simple picture yet about fauna and forests in Spain circa 1000 AD. It seems that different areas have specific de and in some cases reafforestation histories........it's fascinating stuff......but I've got bogged down in forests the up to 6000 years ago time frame.

If your interested this a few basic bits.

After the ice age up to 6000 bp (before present) Spain was predominantly covered in 3 species of pine.

After this point, Spain for a few millenia it is warmer and wetter than present.

Broad leaved trees move in.

A similar distribution of tree species to today is established.....but it is not exactly the same as the climate is slightly different.

The first signs of burning for pasture are 4500 bp and in only a few locations, interestinly in the Sierra de la Culebra area ( Lobo Landia ).

Many first signs of burning for pasture are around the 2700 bp mark ( interestingly this ties in with Celtic migration - I think - did'nt read this though just me remembering a few dates).........though this varies and there is regrowth in many places ..... some times by one species that is more resistant to fire.........though I'm not clear on some of this.

Some clearance even this early is dramatic ie 'total' removal of forest from Sierras.

From Celto-Iberican times there is well documented climate variations on the 100s of year time span( one being for example the little ice age)......but human impact is by far the greater force on any change in forest and species distribution.

Several papers seem to point to several areas of current pine tree woodland that are currently thought to be 'man made', as now being considered to be relic or atleast relic with some human 'management'......and in many cases would be more extensive than previously thought.......ie that pine may be a more important native species than was previously considered.

This is as far as I've got, so far...............


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on October 17, 2007, 10:16 AM
This is great stuff Steve. Many thanks for your research
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Sue on October 17, 2007, 17:52 PM
Hi SteveT,

some good info that you are researching here..

After the ice age up to 6000 bp (before present) Spain was predominantly covered in 3 species of pine.

..did they mention the scientific names of these 3 pine species??

Technopat and Clive will like this quote from Bosques de España (http://www.tecnun.es/Asignaturas/ecologia/Hipertexto/12EcosPel/118BosqEsp.htm)
 "11 millones de hectáreas, hasta un total de 26 millones, están cubiertas por arbustos y se han clasificado como tierras forestales potenciales."

11 million hectares are classed as potential forest  So that counts as forest in political speak.

The site is brief and not up to date but talks about forest growth and decline through fire until 1997.

Regards, Sue
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 17, 2007, 18:35 PM
Greetings Sue and All,
Thanx for that, Sue. The following struck me, of course:
Según el Segundo Inventario Forestal español (1995) España desde 1975 a 1995, ha ganado 400 000 hectáreas de arbolado, esto es un territorio equivalente a la superficie de la provincia de Pontevedra.
Aunque este dato no es totalmente fiable porque el criterio de lo que se considera como bosque ha sido algo distinto en 1995 de lo que fue en 1975, ...

(as in: "According to 2nd inventory (1995) Spain's forested land has increased by 400,000 hectares - equiv. in area to the province of Pontevdra - although this figure is not all that reliable as the criteria for defining forests have changed since the 1975 inventory ...")

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on October 18, 2007, 01:12 AM
Dear all,

Dominant 3 pines, before about 6000 bp were P. sylvestris, P. nigra and P. uncinata. Other trees were generally confined to refugia in the south and then migrated north eg other pines and evergreen and deciduous oaks.

One other very important factor was Spains huge altitude variations and the subsequent provision of many varied micro climates and hence refugia for trees.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on October 18, 2007, 10:07 AM
Here's a map I found in the excellent La Diversidad Biologica de España, various authors, Prentice Hall. Available in my local Poble Sec library and presumably elsewhere

It shows idealised vegetation distribution at the last glacial maximum at end of the last (Wurm) Ice Age, at 18,000 years BP. The serrated edge indicates today's coastline, with the coastline shown the result of the fall in sea level of 100 metres.

According to the book, much of Spain is steppe. The cold steppe is treeless, while the continental steppe has scattered Pinus and Juniperus.

The Mediterranean flora and presumably the lynx, the black vulture and the rest are pushed into a corner of Southwest Iberia, and a bit of the Ampordán.

We could go back further to the creation of the typical Mediterrean flora, but for the moment this could be our year zero.

I want to bash this all together into a proper article soon.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on October 18, 2007, 10:35 AM
Thanks Nick... I reckon that you are right and this is as far back as we should go... 18,000 BP (before present)...

Let's step forward in increments of 1000 years and see what we come up with...?

looking at that map above I can guess that as the ice retreats northwards the Atlantic and Mediterranean forest moves in to colonise the warming areas...

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on October 19, 2007, 14:25 PM
We've taken up the topic of the Enviromental History of Spain here

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 19, 2007, 15:16 PM
With a link to this instance of contemporary forestry published by the Olive Press, with comments by iberianatureforumers (http://www.theolivepress.es/2007/10/16/a-fairway-to-treat-nature/)?
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on November 19, 2007, 11:06 AM
A very interesting article at the BBC

One of Western Europe's earliest known urban societies may have sown the seeds of its own downfall

Before the appearance of the Argaric civilisation, the slopes of Sierra de Baza were covered with a diverse forest dominated by deciduous oaks and other broad-leaved trees.

The area's tree cover was rapidly removed

But about 4,200 years ago - just after this civilisation emerges - significant amounts of charcoal appear in the pollen sequence. According to the study's authors, this is a sign Bronze Age people were setting fires to clear the forests for mining activities and grazing.

Not long afterwards, about 3,900 years ago, the diverse forest ecosystem disappears, to be replaced by monotonous and fire-prone Mediterranean scrub.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: steveT on November 19, 2007, 21:30 PM
Yes ..... I was just about to post it........

It fits in with the picture that many other researchers are putting forward ....... ie serious deforestation in specific regions .....some 2 - 4000 ya .... man being the most significant cause.

NB other areas having deforestaion much later.

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on January 17, 2008, 18:35 PM
Whilst looking for information about Eucalyptus in Iberia for the topic at

I came across a web site that I have never seen before with some amazing content about forest plantation schemes of Spain... I haven't looked at the whole site yet but this page is amazing in its statements... Especially talking in millions of hectares!

Results of the afforestation program

A much more detailed analysis is required to give an insight into the full impact of the afforestation program on the Spanish economy as a whole. It is only since 1952 that the rhythm of work has been steadily increasing, and figures of over 100,000 hectares per year were not reached until 1953. But the case of the province of Huelva may be singled out to show some particular effects of the program.

In this province, the State Administration purchased or acquired by contract a total of about 84,000 hectares between 1942 and 1956. At the time of the transaction, all the land was covered mostly with undergrowth and scrub. The entire area was virtually uninhabited, except for the temporary presence of shepherds and a few farmers practicing shifting cultivation, moving to new tracts every 12 or 14 years. The only livestock was a few herds of goats, of very low yield. It could be said that the whole area was unproductive and uninhabited. Both the climate (not more than 400 millimeters irregularly distributed) and the soil (the most alluvial, podsolized sands) were extremely adverse.

The area afforested during the last few years is some 60,000 hectares, one half of which was planted with fast-growing species, mostly eucalyptus, acacia, black poplar, and the rest with slower-growing species, mainly pines.

As a result of this work, 21 new communities, with schools, recreation centers, etc., have been established, housing more than 10 thousand new settlers, 260 kilometers of new roads have been constructed, and a plant for cellulose pulp has been erected. This has completely changed the environment, transforming an almost desert region into one which is modern and highly productive. In effect, a transformation has been wrought in the very geography of the region.

A sum of slightly over 280 million pesetas has been invested in this projects, and this figure includes the purchase of the land. Approximately 10 thousand hectares of eucalyptus have already become productive, yielding annually more than 50,000 cubic meters of wood, at a value of 25 million pesetas, and it is estimated that the value of the reclaimed land now amounts to some 3,000 million pesetas.

I guess the quote above sums up the system for many parts of Iberia and
a transformation has been wrought in the very geography of the region.
Will be the main reason for the decline in biodiversity in these areas since the fifties.

off to look at this website a bit more
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on January 17, 2008, 19:20 PM

Type Spain into the search box...

The shark paper is amazing...
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on March 28, 2008, 22:27 PM
Greetings All,
Today’s Consejo de Ministros (En. anyone?) was presented with a report by the national parks agency (belonging to the environment ministry) as to the state of the trees in said areas: as of 1st January 2007, 24.3% were diseased or dead.

Casi una cuarta parte de la superficie arbolada de los Parques Nacionales está enferma
La contaminación, los incendios y la construcción de centrales energéticas son las principales causas

EUROPA PRESS - Madrid - 28/03/2008

La situación que atraviesan los Parques Nacionales españoles es grave. Según el informe que ha presentado la Red de Parques Nacionales (que depende del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente) al Consejo de Ministros un 24,3 por ciento de la superficie arbolada de los Parques Nacionales está enferma o muerta. El informe recogía la situación de estos espacios naturales a 1 de enero de 2007.


Este informe recoge la degradación de las masas forestales entre 2000 y 2006. Recuerda que hace algo más de un año había en España 13 Parques Nacionales, con una extensión de 330.000 hectáreas (en las que no están contadas las 18.396 que ocupa el Parque de Monfrague en Caceres porque fue nombrado zona protegida después), es decir, un 0,62 por ciento del territorio español. De ese espacio, casi un tercio (aproximadamente la superficie de 100 campos de fútbol) se encuentra en muy malas condiciones.


All of which confirms Technopat’s notoriously dim outlook on the health of protected areas in this country and elsewhere, needless to say. As for the health of non-protected areas ...

I know it’s a bit much, after copying and pasting their article here, but given iberianatureforum’s newfound correct-spellingness, after passing over the 2 humdingers in Spanish in the above paragraph, and as a sort of therapy aimed at not getting too depressed at the start of a weekend, I thought we might try to spot the more subtle spelling mistake in the following one:

Además, en el periodo 2000-2006 se produjeron 129 incendios en los Parques Nacionales, que quemaron un total de 1.867 hectáreas (1.140 corresponden al parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada), es decir, un 0,56 por ciento de su superficie. Por otro lado, se ha detectado la presencia de 91 especies que no pertenecen originariamente a estos territorios y podrían convertirse en un peligro para las auctóctonas (de ellas 29 son especies de fauna vertebrada y 62 son variedades de flora).

Full article here at El País

If anyone has serious problems in understanding anything, all you have to do is whistle
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: lisa on March 29, 2008, 14:49 PM
Ow! autóctonas  :)
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on June 24, 2008, 12:33 PM
Greetings All,
Finally getting into the habit of checking out Nick’s iberianature.com before loggin’ in here to the Forum, and this morning came across an interesting snippet regarding protection of the yew forest in Sierra de Sueve - which I subsequently tried to find out more about, but to no avail. So if anyone can come up with further details…
However, did come across an article from the El Mundo Magazine (http://www.elmundo.es/magazine/2007/386/1171387456.html)  (from Feb. 2007) in which 10 “experts” rated/ranked 8 of Spain’s forests, and said forest was included. As usual, the methodology seems suspect, but the general content is nonetheless interesting.
•  1. Laurisilva canaria 6 votos.
•  2. Bosque mediterráneo de Los Alcornocales (Cádiz) 5 votos.
•  3. Bosque atlántico de la Reserva Natural de Muniellos (Asturias) 3 votos.
•  4. Pinsapares de las sierras de Grazalema y Las Nieves (Cádiz /Málaga) 3 votos.
•  5. Monte mediterráneo de El Pardo (Madrid) 2 votos.
•  6. Pinares de pino silvestre de Valsaín (Segovia) 2 votos.
•  7. Hayedo de Irati (Navarra) 2 votos.
•  8. Tejedas del Sueve (Asturias) 2 votos.
The experts consulted were:
Gonzalo Nieto Feliner, director del Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid;
Alejandro Sánchez, director ejecutivo de la Sociedad Española de Ornitología;
Juan López de Uralde, director de Greenpeace;
 Juan Carlos del Olmo, secretario general de WWF/Adena;
María de los Ángeles Nieto, portavoz de Ecologistas en Acción;
Antonio López Lillo, botánico;
Susana Domínguez Lerena, ingeniera forestal;
Emilio Blanco, botánico;
Luciano Labajos, botánico y jardinero
Alfredo Merino, quien esto escribe, que actuó como notario de las conclusiones.

Over-to-yew regs.,

Sue and Clive’s Sierra de Grazalema came in 4th.
I seem to remember y’all some of you not taking me seriously when I mentioned elsewhere that the Spanish Armada was responsible for large-scale felling of tres. The following “… y las demandas madereras para la Armada española pusieron cerco a los míticos bosques ibéricos…” from the same article bear me out (Sp. anyone?).
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on June 24, 2008, 23:13 PM
Not just the Armada Tp......

When sumac and mrtle became rarer in Andalucia and Extremadura (due to over exploitation of course) for the use in the tanning industry the cork oak was then harvested for its "tanbark" Local to me here in the Serrania de Ronda the hillsides are bare where once stood cork oak forest... 25,000 hectares were clear felled over a period of 21 years in the late 19th century to provide the raw material for the tanning factories...

The Sierra de las Nieves natural park (http://www.grazalemaguide.com/sierra-de-las-nieves) today is around 20, 000 hectares.....Just to give an idea of the size.....

In the same instance felling to remove the home of the wolf (in order to make it easier to hunt and kill plus clearing to plant mono crops was widespread....


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on February 11, 2009, 13:29 PM
Greetings All,
Just half-watched an interesting documentary on Spain's reforestation (?) (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=2208.0), which among other things, mentioned the five (5) million trees felled only at the end of the 16th century for ship-building - oak for hulls and pines for masts.

This, together with successive sales of humungous amounts of public forest to private landowners who did with it what they know best - capitalize aka ... no this is a family forum so shall keep me thoughts to meself - led to serious deforestation, which in turn led directly to serious flooding problems all over the country.

The 2nd Republic set up a forestry commission to reforest the country, but plans were interrupted by civil war and some years later Franco started a reforestation programme, generally consisting of planting wrong species in the wrong places.

Today's refor. progs. are interesting, one of which was esp. dear to my heart:
planting trees 1.5 metres to 2 metres apart and fillin gthe gaps with spores of Boletus edulis (Sp. anyone?)  :dancing:
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Bob M on April 11, 2009, 16:02 PM
We're not short of naturally regrowing forest here in the Basque country. Lot's of it is either oak or holm oak. Often when I try to follow a "path" which my GPS tells me exists it's simply impossible to get through for the regrowth.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 07, 2009, 19:17 PM
Greetings All,
Time for bedtime reading tree update:
WWF, in collaboration with Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, has just published its report, “Los bosques que nos quedan. Propuestas para su restauración” (http://www.wwf.es/que_hacemos/bosques/noticias_bosques/?11261/WWF-analiza-en-un-nuevo-informe-cmo-debera-ser-el-mapa-forestal-de-nuestro-pas)

Highlights include:
-Woodland in Spain covers some 13,1 million hectares (based on the II Inventario Forestal Nacional and the Mapa Forestal de España), which is 29 per cent of the surface they should be covering.

-Half of the forested land in Spain doesn’t have [enough] trees - La mitad de la superficie forestal española está desarbolada (Can any of youse guys 'n' gals come up with a better translation of this one?)

-Only 13 per cent of forested land is under some sort of management scheme.

-Less than 1 per cent of forested land is certified by some sort of forestry certification scheme.

-Forest fires affect 120,000 hectares a year

WWF reckon that by 2030 it will be necessary to restore two and a half million hectares by planting 2,000 million trees and bushes at a cost of 4,000 million euros and generating 150,000 jobs, adding that their calculation differs greatly from the government’s proposal of recovering 60,000 hectares with 45 million trees at a cost of 90 million euros and 3,000 new jobs.

The-biggest-mistake-the-human-race-ever-made-was-to-come-down-from-the-trees regs.,

Bob, when you refer to regrowth, what sort of land are you referring to? Protected parkland? Cotos privados de caza?
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Clive on October 07, 2009, 19:58 PM
Mind boggling and if we go back to my original observations in this old as an oak tree topic I think thats the gist of my thoughts.
Half of the forested land in Spain doesn’t have [enough] trees - La mitad de la superficie forestal española está desarbolada (Can any of youse guys 'n' gals come up with a better translation of this one?)

Land classified as "forest" might not have any trees in the same way that land classed as "agricultural" might hold three golf courses and 5000 houses.... :)

I think the key is in how land is classified and this effects the figures... I look out onto a mountain from my office and I see less than 10 percent covered in trees.... It is a "forest" though
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on October 07, 2009, 20:44 PM
Greetings All,
Lies, lies and statistics as someone once put it.
Stop me if you've read this one before :technodevil:, but the former mayor of Madrid, Álvarez de Manzano,* one of the biggest bigots (OK, so sue me) yours truly has ever come across over years of following who's who in Spanish politics, once claimed that Madrid has more parks and trees than any other city in Europe.

Of course, anyone who has ever been to central London, just to name one city at random, knows that is not true. However, many madrileñ@s I speak to still believe it, and as good citizens, defend it vigorously. I was never able to find out what he based his ridiculous statement on, one of many,** but I reckon he probably had someone calculate the number of kilometres of roads in Madrid and extrapolate the number of trees per kilometre, etc., etc.

* Mayor of Madrid condemned by the Court of Public Audits to return 103,463.43 euros (http://www.abc.es/hemeroteca/historico-12-04-2003/abc/Nacional/el-tribunal-de-cuentas-condena-al-alcalde-de-madrid-por-su-cuenta-restringida_173929.html)

**the same bast sinverguenza (En. anyone?), following the murder of yet another woman at the hands of her partner, more or less said that such crimes were obviously more frequent among couples who were not married. Over the following couple of days, when it transpired that the couple were in actual fact married, and the mayor was forced to rectify in public re,. the civil status of the victim, he stated that he was entitled to his own opinion and nobody could criticise him for that.

And-I-was-looking-forward-to-a-calm-evening regs.,
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on April 02, 2011, 19:03 PM
Greetings All,
Just a snippet to add to Nick's list of mindless stats.:
 Greenpeace: sólo a la especie Eucalyptus globulus, en la península ibérica se localiza el 53% (31% Portugal, 22% España) de la superficie mundial ocupada por esta especie. (http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/Blog/te-imaginas-que-el-eucalipto-fuera-slo-un-rbo/blog/33773)

(The Iberian peninsula contains 53% of the world's surface devoted to Eucalyptus globulus)

"Bad" trees are better than no trees?



The snippet refers only to that specific species, not eucalyptus in general:
http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/news/Los-ecologistas-proponen-soluciones-para-acabar-con-el-problema-de-las-plantaciones-de-eucalipto/ ...Tras Galicia, la región con más superficie de eucalipto en nuestro país es Andalucía (156.000 ha), seguido de Extremadura ( (75.000), Cantabria (60.000 ha), Asturias (58.000 ha) y el País Vasco (14.500 ha). España dispone del 7% de la superficie mundial dedicadas a las plantaciones de eucalipto, que suman más de 20 millones de hectáreas. Brasil, India y China son los principales países con este tipo de plantaciones. Si tenemos en cuenta solo a la especie Eucalyptus globulus, en la península ibérica se localiza el 53% (31% Portugal, 22% España) de la superficie mundial ocupada por esta especie.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on April 02, 2011, 21:26 PM
Damn that's telling TP, many thanks for that one. Will post this somewhere. Forest fires in Galicia? Crops of trees burning more like.
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: lilme on April 08, 2011, 10:25 AM
At rainforest.mongabay.com (http://rainforests.mongabay.com/deforestation/archive/Spain.htm) you'll find some information about the change of forest cover in spain (http://www.casamundo.co.uk/spain/) from 1990-2005.

Spain's not the only country with a problem of deforestation. Once the whole lot of Germany was forest and marsh, but nowadays we have to actually rebuild forests. I think the biggest forest left in Germany is the black forest (http://www.blackforestinfo.com/) (called like that because the trees stand so close that you'll have the impression it's black underneath). Most trees there are pine trees.

What's the largest area of forest you have in Spain? And what kind of trees grow there most?
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Simon on April 26, 2011, 09:51 AM
Hi Lilme et al,

I'm not sure but I think the Irati Forest (http://iberianature.com/simonsblog/category/navarre/) is the largest natural forested area in Spain. It certainly is with regard to Beech tees (Fagus sylvatica) - if not in the whole of Europe*.

I also recall seeing a TV feature* on the Internation Day of the forests, saying that Catalonia was the most forested of Spain's Autonomous Regions - but that was on the Catalan TV Channel (http://www.3cat24.cat/)!


* it wasn't really a feature, more a comment made by the presenter during a report, so I can't find this on their search facility  >:(

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: nick on April 26, 2011, 11:00 AM
Massive question Lilime,

I recommend you read through this thread from the begiinning as we all did quite a bot of research on this question:

Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on May 29, 2011, 18:22 PM
Greetings All,

Am posting this here and at the TV programmes thread for future cross-referencing purposes*. Just saw interesting documentary called Naturalmente on La 2 RTVE A la carta: Naturalmente (http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/naturalmente/naturalmente-29-05-11/1114730/). OK, so the source was the Centro Tecnológico Forestal de Cataluña, so as Simon insinuates, maybe it has to be taken with a pinch of salt (Sp. anyone?). No, but seriously, it did feature a 2-min. interview with my favourite Sp. nature chappie, Joaquín Araujo (http://www.joaquinaraujo.com/suobra.htm).

Look-after-'em-bosques-folks regs.,

*No, Simon. Not cross purposes
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Simon on May 30, 2011, 12:28 PM
How unkind of you Professor TP - I've never met an angry porpoise in my life! They are the bhuddist monks of the Cetacean community.



PS while we're om the subject;
"verb [ intrans. ] move through the water like a porpoise, alternately rising above it and submerging : the boat began to porpoise badly." - which I think describes Piqué's dancing  (http://www.tv3.cat/videos/3551070/El-Barca-balla-amb-Shakira)ability quite adequately!

PPS more:
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French porpois, based on Latin porcus ‘pig’ + piscis ‘fish,’ rendering earlier porcus marinus ‘sea hog.’
Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Simon on May 31, 2011, 00:11 AM
A sort of PPPS: it's easy to forget how much good music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui01QDDEMMw) there is out there - or perhaps was! this is for you P - whether you like it or not!


Title: Re: Forested area of Spain.
Post by: Technopat on June 01, 2011, 00:23 AM
Greetings Simon,
Although it forces me to stay (stray?) off topic, I graciously accept yer peace offering - only 'cos it happens to be one of me all-time favourites, on a par with "Steamroller Blues" with that great "I'm a churnin' urn of burnin' funk." (Sp. anyone?) :dancing: