Parques Nacionales has bought the land known as Pinar de los Belgas, a 2,056-hectare plot 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 timber. The purchase of Pinar de los Belgas includes part of the Cuerda Larga, Peñalara and the mountains of Cabezas de Hierro. This newspaper has learned that the cost of the purchase amounts to almost 19 million euros.
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The land will now become part of the property of the Autonomous Agency of National Parks, to be managed jointly with the Pinar de Valsaín, which although not part of the Guadarrama National Park, for the purposes has the same protection under the figure of special protection area. The Pinar de los Belgas has a colony of about 120 pairs of black vultures, a similar number to that of the neighbouring Pinar de Valsáin, in Segovia, which makes it the second most important in the country after Monfragüe.
With this purchase, National Parks meets a historical claim 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 today, has been the one that has allowed the conservation of the forest.
Julio Vias, environmentalist and expert in the area and member of the board of trustees of the Sierra Norte de Guadarrama Natural Park, has been congratulated Friday by the purchase, which was expected among conservationists for decades. “The most important forests of the Sierra de Guadarrama are the set of Valsaín (in Segovia) and the Paular, in Madrid. The National Park had been a little lame without the Pinar de los Belgas and this purchase reaches a historical claim,” says this expert, who has also worked in this pine forest for years.
“The Pinar de los Belgas has a fundamental importance as a protective forest of the main water supply basin of the Community of Madrid, which is the upper basin of the Lozoya and all reservoirs,” adds Vias.
The Vice President and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has welcomed the incorporation of these lands “of extraordinary natural value and one of the most representative of the ecosystem of the Sierra de Guadarrama, which now go to enrich the public heritage of all Spaniards,” according to the press release distributed by the Ministry.
A year ago was made public the so-called manifesto of the Pinar de los Belgas, which subscribed much of the academic, scientific and conservationist world, which asked the ministry to buy the pine forest using the European recovery funds, a request that the ministry meets today with the purchase of the pine forest.