The Sierra Bermeja National Park Platform has prevailed over the statements made by the political and technical leaders of the Junta de Andalucía regarding the pine forest of Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja. From the Platform, they believe that they have minimized the impact of the fire in the area: «The catastrophic of the fire, which has affected this unique forest on peridotites, this Malaga mountain and the Genal Valley, it is becoming clear as the burned area can be accessed«.
From the Platform, they have verified the loss of a large number of Spanish firs: «Only by making a count along the popular ‘Paseo de los Pinsapos’, 694 burned specimens have been recorded, so that all the affected Spanish firs must exceed the thousand copies, and could even amount to several thousand. In addition, it is increased by the loss of an inestimable number of populations of other endemic flora species (unique in the world), including some that could have become extinct ».
In relation to the fauna, they affirm that at least nine of the fourteen endemic species of Sierra Bermeja have seen their habitats charred, and four more have been partially affected. «Most of the vertebrate fauna, the majority protected, were able to flee; not so the reptiles and amphibians, many of which succumbed under the flames. In addition, populations of hundreds of species of insects and other invertebrates, some unique in the Malaga province “, they have pointed out.
Likewise, they have also made mention of the Historical Heritage, which has been affected by the Sierra Bermeja fire. The hill where it is located the Castillo del Nicio, in Estepona, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, “has been completely burned, having caused various damage to the castle walls due to falling trees and the intense heat.”
Failure of management and conservation plans
According to the Platform, the first data points to “a huge loss of protected habitats at European level” in this area: endemic scrub, resin pine forests or the Spanish fir itself, all of them included in the Natura 2000 Network and the Natural Area of the Network of Protected Natural Areas of Andalusia (RENPA).
The Platform has emphasized that the management of these spaces, which provide us with irreplaceable environmental services such as soil and water protection, air purity or the biodiversity reserve, corresponds to the Junta de Andalucía: the failure to conserve our ecosystems, policies, laws, plans and the management of protected areas, which, however, have received millionaire budgets in recent decades. In the case of Spanish fir, it should also be noted the failure of your Recovery Plan, approved by the Junta de Andalucía in 2011, as being a protected species in danger of extinction, there has been the loss of a huge number of specimens, which in the reduced population of Sierra Bermeja is even more serious ”.
The Sierra Bermeja National Park Platform has indicated that it expects those responsible for this management to assume their responsibilities, and that the administration begins to work reorienting the objectives of its numerous environmental policies in agreement with specialists, prioritizing a more efficient management of the environment that allow future generations to enjoy this valuable ecosystem.
After the 1966 fire, in which the Los Reales Spanish fir was also burned, the mayors of Genalguacil, Jubrique, Casares and Estepona met with the civil governor so that Sierra Bermeja was declared a National Park. On that occasion they did not succeed. After the fire of last August, the request for the declaration of Sierra Bermeja as a National Park has become a true citizen cry, having already exceeded 75,000 requests on the Change.org platform.
«We hope that on this occasion the Territorial Delegation for Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía will be sensitive to this just citizen claim and fulfill its commitment: the extension of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park to the entire Sierra Bermeja without further delay or more excuses, such as the prior need to declare a natural park (which is not a requirement) and because Sierra Bermeja meets all the requirements of the National Parks Law, being the best representation of the peridotitic ecosystems of the Iberian Peninsula ”.