DEFORESTATION IN SPAIN
PORTUGAL & SPAIN MEETING
6-14 OF NOVEMBER 2010
WHEN DID SPANISH
Deforestation started in Spain during the Roman
occupation in the first century BC and continued over the
next two thousand years and more, to meet the
population´s needs for fuel, housing and strategic
materials (timber to build boats).
The consequence is that most of the southern part of the
country has scant forest cover, without trees or with
extensive Mediterranean-type scrub. However, growing
conditions are favourable in the north, and forestry
activities and industries are vigorous.
With 14.4 million hectares of forest cover, Spain is the
fourth country in Europe in terms of forest resources
(following Sweden, Finland and France, but excluding
the Russian Federation). Forests, which occupy almost
29 percent of the country´s total land area, are
increasing by about 86 000 ha per year, both through
natural expansion and through the forest plantation
programme that has been under way for more than 50
years, with soil protection and erosion prevention as its
main aims. Spain has received funds from the European
Union in support of this programme.
The most productive forests are found in the Atlantic
coastal zone and are composed mostly of pines (Pinus
pinaster and P. radiata) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus
globulus), although some mixed natural forests of oak
(Quercus robur and Q. patraea) and beech (Fagus
sylvatica) are still found. In the Pyrenees, there are
forests of silver fir (Abies alba), beech and pine,
depending on altitude. The remainder of the country,
where Mediterranean conditions predominate, is notable
for its wealth of biological diversity.
Forest fires are a major problem, although there are
large variations from year to year: on average, between
60 000 and 150 000 ha are burned each year, but the
figure was over 400 000 ha in 1994.
Concern has been expressed over the effects of global
warming on Spanish forest ecosystems, in as much as
the predicted warmer, drier climate is likely to cause
more fires and also the desertification of some zones of
Spain uses a lot of paper, but actually
about 42 percent (a relatively high
proportion) of the paper consumed in
Spain is recycled, providing a major
component in the fibre needed for paper
WHAT CAN WE DO?
• Use renewable energy.
• Prevent fires.
DON´T CUT DOWN SO MUCH
DEFORESTATION: THE WORLD
IN OUR HANDS