Fire, drought and humans have all failed to reduce the share of forests in Spain. Since 1990, forests have increased by 30% in Spain. In the midst of the climate crisis, this figure provides a glimmer of hope.
The Spanish weather site eltiempo.es writes that Spain has become a lot greener in the past thirty years. Satellite images confirm the increase of forests in Spain. With more than 7.5 billion trees spread over more than 18 million hectares, Spain ranks second among European countries. Only Sweden has more forest mass than Spain.
Increase in forest in Spain especially despite threatening factors
Meteorologist at eltiempo.es, Mario Picazo, says: “These are special figures given that the forests in Spain are exposed to fires, drought and logging almost every year.” How can it be that Spain has increased its forest? According to Picazo, this is the result of the exodus from the countryside and that trees have literally been given the space to grow further as people no longer let livestock graze or crops grow on their land.
Spanish government ‘green course’ helps
Although there are still annual forest fires, the director and founder of Reforesta says that in recent years fewer fires have destroyed forests. In addition, the “green course” of governments ensures the preservation of many Spanish forests and in some cases their expansion.
According to the latest figures from the Ministry for Ecological Transition, oak, pine and beech are the most common trees in Spain. Most of the forests are located in the Basque Country, Navarre, Catalonia and Galicia. It is important to emphasise, according to conservation organisations and the Ministry, that trees temper the climate, provide more oxygen and moisture in the air, plus provide shelter and food for other plants and animals.
Threat of deforestation still present
The threat of deforestation is still present all over the world. In the last 30 years, the world has lost a total of 420 million hectares of forest, according to the latest report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). While the figures in Spain are encouraging, experts ask people not to be complacent. “A lot of forest does not necessarily mean that the forests are healthy. That is something that people and governments must continue to work for,” says Picazo.