The solution to combat the plague that plagues the pine tree (pinus radiata) of the Basque Country passes by disinfecting from the air with copper oxide the forests affected by the evil of the brown band or red. This aerial treatment has been chosen by the Basque institutions to deal with the three types of fungus (Dothistroma septosporum, Lecanosticta acicola Y Dothistroma pini) that have infected 33.15% of this conifer, 40,914 sick hectares of the 123,432 occupied by this species. The Basque Government and the provincial councils of Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa have already submitted a request to the central government to carry out these tasks of aerial fumigation that in other places has given good results against similar pathogens.
The air treatment with cuprous oxide would be carried out in the spring of 2019 if the ministry gives its authorization, as explained on Thursday by the Minister of Industry, Arantxa Tapia, in a hearing with the regional authorities of Environment of the three Basque territories. The inter-institutional plan against the so-called plague of the Basque pine includes three areas of action that Tapia has commented: "The generation of knowledge about the disease and the affection that is taking place in the forest area, the adoption of measures to deal with this bad and the recovery of the wood sector ".
The total wooded area reaches 54% of the Basque Country, one of the highest percentages in the European Union. The forestry and wood sector accounts for 1.5% of Basque GDP and employs around 21,000 people. "We are facing a relevant problem that affects a key sector," said the minister before announcing the measures that the Basque institutions want to adopt. 80% of radiata pine plantations are owned by individuals.
The crash plan includes "forestry aid" to encourage the cutting of heavily affected pine stands and the repopulation of these areas with plants more resistant to the disease imported from France. The councils have announced that they will simplify the administrative procedures for cutting trees, provide infrastructure to apply disinfection treatments and organize storage areas of cut wood for sale, among other measures.
The commercial exploitation of radiata pine, native to the southern coast of California, is one of the mainstays of the timber industry. This variety of conifer represents 80% of the authorized logging. The forest inventory of Euskadi figures wood stocks at 62.6 million cubic meters, with an interannual growth of 3.4 million compared to 2.1 million cubic meters that are cut in the same period.
The Basque Government and the provincial councils have ensured that they will develop a "joint" strategic plan and in collaboration with the forestry sector that has a dual objective: "That the Basque forest sector maintain its identity, carved for decades around values like the competitiveness and the sustainability, and to avoid the abandonment of the forestry activity in our mounts ", has stood out the deputy of the branch of Gipuzkoa, Ainhoa Aizpuru.