One of the areas most affected by the drought is the vegetation across Catalonia. This summer, the ‘Agents Rurals’ (Forest Rangers in Catalonia) have detected, for the first time, three areas of the Garraf massif in forest decay, through the DEBOSCAT programme.
These are sectors in which the trees have brownish tones, which indicate symptoms of weakness and which can cause them to die.
DEBOSCAT, in operation since 2010, is a tool used to obtain information about the state of the Catalan forests. The initiative is promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and the Environment, coordinated by CREAF (a public research centre working to address climate change) and it has the collaboration of the Agents Rurals in Catalonia and the Department of Climate Action. The aim is to obtain the maximum amount of information possible on the actual state of Catalan forests and thus improve their management.
This year’s detection of the vegetation decay in the Garraf ‘is the first year that we have recorded more severe episodes, aggravated by the dryness of previous years’, said Toni Mestres, sub-inspector of the Rural Agents. The drought has mainly affected the white pine, the most common species in the area, despite being a tree that is very resistant to a lack of water.
The areas detected, however, were rocky and on a slope – aspects that make them more susceptible to decay – and thus ‘this does not mean that it is happening to all the forests in the region’, stressed Mestres. In addition, he said that the percentage of the affected area in the Garraf is small compared to other counties in Catalonia.
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