The Basque Government has released official data on the plague that plagues the pine tree (Pinus radiata) in its territory. The calculations indicate that there are 40,914 affected hectares distributed in 16 counties, 33% of the 123,432 total hectares. The figures are collected in a written parliamentary response to Deputy José Ramón Becerra, of the Elkarrekin-Podemos formation and member of EQUO Berdeak.
The province of Gipuzkoa is the most affected. By regions, the one that presents greater damages is Donostia-San Sebastián in which 69.96% of the territory (1,775 hectares of 2,537) has been infected with the plague called the brown band or red, by the tonality that trees acquire. Behind, Tolosa is located, with a condition of 62.64% of its 5,394 hectares of radiata pine and Urola Cosa with 52.79%. The pathogen has attacked with less virulence the Cantabrian Alavesa region, in which 18% of the pine surface has been infected.
The pathogen began damaging the pines of the San Sebastián region and was spread since last May by the rest of Gipuzkoa, as reported by EL PAÍS. The fungus is deposited in the needles (pine leaves) and penetrates inside, causing the leaf to deteriorate and its redness. The tree ends up being without leaves and loses its photosynthetic capacity, which ends up slowing its growth.
|Region||Sick adult pine trees (hectares, 2018)||Total pine trees (hectares)||% condition|
|Foothills of the Gorbea||822||3.155||26.04|
Euskadi has a wooded area that covers 54% of the territory, 397,223 hectares according to the latest official inventory. The conifers, and in particular the radiata pine, constitute the bulk of these plantations, about 130,000 hectares in total, the majority of private owners (approximately 80%).
Parliamentarian Becerra calls on the Basque Executive to "assume its responsibility in the management of the disease," after hearing "the important degree of affection of damaged pine plantations." The deputy adds that he can not pretend to discharge his obligations in the provincial councils. The Minister of Economic Development and Infrastructure, Arantza Tapia, indicates in the letter to the parliamentary group that her department is "coordinating the actions to be developed", but within its powers. As for the authorization of aid aimed at alleviating the economic losses that the disease may cause, Tapia maintains that it corresponds to the provincial councils.
"It seems that each council, of which each institution, is making war on its own when, in the face of a problem of such dimensions that the forestry and logging sector have called it a hecatomb," Becerra adds in a statement. The environmentalist party insists on its vindication of a new model of forest policy that involves progressively planting slow-growing and native noble species – tin, oak, beech, cherry – and generators of greater added value and wealth in the medium and long term .
The councilor reminds them, however, that pine or eucalyptus are "the basis of an important forestry industry, support for many jobs and the generation of an important added value to the economy of rural areas." Therefore, it considers it appropriate to promote "a sustainable and responsible forestry, which guarantees the future of this sector".
EH Bildu has registered in the Chamber, for its part, a proposal not of law in which it asks the Basque Government to prepare a shared diagnosis with the provincial councils within a period of three months to start up a different forest planning, as reported by the EFE Agency. They also request that a public debate be opened later with the agents of the sector.