Surprising: This is the most wooded area in Spain

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Laguna Negra in Soria wooded areas and forest

When thinking of the most wooded areas of Spain, regions such as Galicia, Asturias or the Pyrenees will come to mind. Yet, against all odds, one of the greenest areas in the country lies somewhere completely different.

Spain is one of the greenest countries in Europe and has the third largest forest area in the European Union, after Sweden and Finland. Around 36.3% of Spain’s territory, equivalent to 18.4 million hectares, is covered by forests. Since 1990, the forest area in Spain has increased significantly. In 1990, approximately 27.65% of Spain’s territory was covered by forests, while in 2018 this increased to 36.91%. This increase is due to, among other things, replanting programs and the decrease in agricultural activities. This has made more land available for forest growth.

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Regional distribution of wooded areas

Spain’s forests are very diverse and consist of several species, including oaks, pine trees, eucalyptus and beech. The forested areas are unevenly distributed across the country. The northern regions such as Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia have a high percentage of forest cover. More than 50% of their surface is covered by forests. On the other hand, regions such as Murcia and the Canary Islands have significantly less forest, with only 27% and 18% of their surface covered respectively.

What is the most wooded area in Spain?

The greenest area in Spain is located in the province of Soria in the autonomous community of Castilla y León. Especially the areas around the Laguna Negra, the Sierra de Urbión, the Monte de Valonsadero and the Moncayo here are extremely green. Soria has almost 7,000 trees per inhabitant, making it one of the most forested provinces in Spain. According to the National Statistics Office INE, the province covers 10,306 km², of which 620,831 hectares are forest. That accounts for 60.2% of the total surface area.

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The Laguna Negra

The Laguna Negra is located in the Parque Natural de la Laguna Negra y los Circos Glaciares de Urbión. An area full of dense forests of pine, beech and oak, surrounding an impressive glacial lake. At an altitude of 1,753 metres, Laguna Negra is known for its dark waters that reflect the surrounding forests and mountain peaks.

A unique ecosystem

The area around the Laguna Negra offers not only beautiful scenery, but also rich biodiversity. The forests are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including species such as Scots pine, birch and holly. It is also home to many animals, such as the eagle, owl, fox and roe deer, and smaller species such as the marten and the gray dormouse.

Soria has an extensive wooded area which contributes to its status as one of the greenest regions in Spain. The forests extend over several natural parks and reserves, such as the Parque Natural del Cañón del Río Lobos, the Sierra de Cebollera and the Moncayo, the highest peak of the Iberian System with an altitude of 2314 metres.

Why is Soria so green?

Soria’s climate, with cold winters and mild summers, together with its location on the Spanish plateau, provides ideal conditions for lush vegetation. The rainfall, although not as abundant as in Galicia and Asturias, is sufficient to keep the landscape green for most of the year. The mountainous geography with valleys and rivers contributes to the necessary humidity for plant growth. The management of the green landscape is in the hands of local authorities who work together with residents of Soria. A lot of attention is paid to the conservation and regeneration of the forests. Sustainable tourism is promoted to preserve these natural spaces.

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