After the great forest fire that has devastated Sierra Bermeja and that has calcined some 10,000 hectares, Ecologistas en Acción has considered “mandatory and urgent to protect it as a national park and plan its restoration, rethinking the management of its mountains in order to reduce risks in the future”.
According to a report prepared by members of Ecologistas en Acción, it has been found that most of the burned lands are consortium municipal public forests, and, therefore, managed by the Junta de Andalucía.
“Montes that should have a model management”, they have defended. In this sense, the environmental organization has criticized that “prevention plans have not been applied to reduce the risk of expansion of forest fires. In addition, these mountains have ceased to be used economically for wood, resin and livestock decades ago ”.
According to the environmental organization, “it is time to analyze the cause of the recurrent forest fires in Sierra Bermeja and plan their forest restoration with a new model that reduces the risks of expansion of forest fires.”
They have proposed that the Sierra Bermeja Forest Restoration Plan should be prepared by a multidisciplinary team, with the participation of scientists, administration technicians, city councils, and with a process of participation of the local population and interested social agents.
The report also stated that almost everything that was burned “is an immense mass of black pine (Pinus pinaster), very dense, without practically any discontinuity, which has favored the expansion of the fire.”
Repopulations with distinguished pine (Pinus radiata) have also been great allies of fire, they specified, adding that since 1950 “29 major fires have taken place in this mountain range, more than two per decade.” However, ecologists have indicated that there have been numerous unburned islands within the perimeter of the fire, which will serve as a “reservoir of biodiversity and dispersal nuclei for the regeneration of the forest.”
“Also important is the existence of cork oak groves, which have slowed down the fire, and that once again, the cleared areas, the grazed pastures, the cultivated enclaves and the chestnut groves have functioned as firebreak areas” they have specified.
Thus, Ecologistas en Acción sees “necessary to open a debate on the plan to be adopted so that a continuous mass of pine trees does not reproduce again, but rather to generate a more biodiverse forest mosaic, with enclaves of cork oaks, gall oaks and chestnut trees, and with areas dehesadas and grasslands in order to reduce the risk of fires ”.