Monday, January 17

National Parks buys a historic pine forest in Madrid to protect it

National Parks has bought what is known as Pinar de los Belgas, a 2,056 hectare piece of land in the western mountains of Madrid next to the Guadarrama National Park that belonged to the company SA Belga de los Pinares del Paular, which still exploited the forest to extract wood. The purchase of Pinar de los Belgas includes part of the Cuerda Larga, Peñalara and the Cabezas de Hierro mountains.

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The lands will now become part of the property of the Autonomous National Parks Organization, to be managed jointly with the Pinar de Valsaín, which although not part of the Guadarrama National Park, for the purpose has the same protection under the figure of a zone. of special protection. El Pinar de los Belgas has a colony of about 120 pairs of black vultures, a similar number to that of neighboring Pinar de Valsáin, in Segovia, which makes them the second most important in the country after Monfragüe.

With this purchase, National Parks meets a historic claim from 25 years ago. The area was commercially exploited since 1840, although the management carried out by the SA Belga de los Pinares, responsible for the land until now, has been the one that has allowed the conservation of the forest.

Julio Vias, an environmentalist and expert in the area and a member of the Sierra Norte de Guadarrama Natural Park Board of Trustees, congratulated himself this Friday on the purchase, which has been expected among conservationists for decades. “The most important forests in the Sierra de Guadarrama are Valsaín (in Segovia) and Paular, in Madrid. The National Park had become a bit lame without the Pinar de los Belgas and with this purchase a claim is made. historical “, assesses this expert, who has also worked in this pine forest for years.

“The Pinar de los Belgas is of fundamental importance as a protective forest for the main water supply basin of the Community of Madrid, which is the upper Lozoya basin and all the reservoirs,” adds Vias.

A year ago the so-called manifesto of the Pinar de los Belgas was made public, which was signed by a large part of the academic, scientific and conservationist world, which asked the ministry to buy the pine forest taking advantage of European recovery funds, a request that the ministry today complies with the purchase of the pine forest.