The fir forests of Malaga restart their path to become a national park
The Malaga firs, the southern firs, take the path to become a national park. More than a year and a half later that the Government approved the plan for the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, the preliminary bill is reactivated this Thursday when the period of public information opens. From here, the process must lead to the referral to the Cortes because it is they who have the power to grant the maximum environmental figure to these forests considered a redoubt of the ice age that found refuge in the Ronda mountains in Malaga.
The Government approves the project for the 16th national park to protect Malaga firs, a fossil from the ice age
Although within the 23,000-hectare map drawn by the Ministry of Ecological Transition 10 of the 27 natural systems included in the national park law are counted, the ecosystem on which the declaration pivots is that of "firs and pinsapares". The fir tree is a type of fir described as a species in 1838. It is the only variety of this type of tree native to southern Europe and this conifer is typical of southern latitudes. "It is like a living botanical fossil from the ice age," as described by one of the technicians in charge of the park proposal, Tomás Rueda.
When Europe was an eminently cold continent, the firs found the conditions to spread and colonize regions such as the south of the Iberian peninsula. When the glaciers retired, these trees also lost territory when they found a much milder climate less conducive to them. And there were some redoubts like the western end of the Betic mountain range. That's where these pinsapos survived.
The future park, which will be the 16th in the network, will house 65% of the extension in Spain of these exclusive forests. The management, once declared by the Cortes, will be borne by the Andalusian Government, as stated in the draft law. The autonomous government will have three years to write and approve a use and management plan that will detail what can and cannot be done within the park. In any case, the state law of national parks indicates that hunting and sport fishing, mining activities or felling of trees to trade their wood is prohibited. That plan is a key element in any national park since the laws that concern this figure of protection are quite generic and do not go into details such as the areas with different intensity of environmental shielding that are drawn within the national park.