The Salvemos el Bosque Chaparral association (Save Chaparral Woods) staged a protest on Wednesday outside the district town hall offices in La Cala de Mijas in a bid to stop the felling of pine trees for a property development in the area.
Around a hundred people attended the demonstration, calling for protection for the pine trees in El Chaparral. Slogans chanted included, "Se nota, se siente, el bosque está presente" to reflect the sensation that the trees' presence can be felt and is important for the area.
The association maintains that the town hall is in the process of finalising its approval of a project to subdivide the land which would allow trees in Chaparral woods to be felled to build five-storey high buildings.
"The people of Mijas don't want to lose this natural asset of the Costa, which is enjoyed by different sports-related associations and where there is a great biodiversity of animals and plants that would be affected by the works," the president of the association, Alejandro Sánchez, told SUR.
The protesters called for the Mijas PGOU (master town plan) to be revised. Sánchez stressed that the Mijas of today and its society have "little in common" with that of 1999, when the current town plan was approved.
He called for the local government to improve and enhance the forest area so that more people know about it and can enjoy it. The association is working with the town hall to try to "reach agreements" which will allow a modification of the PGOU to change the land's designation, he said.
"We want a life-green Mijas, not a cement-grey one; we'll continue to give the woods a voice," added Sánchez.
Councillors from local opposition parties also took part in the demonstration, including Mario Bravo (PP) and Remedios Leiva (Podemos).
More than 3,550 people have already signed the association's petition on change.org, which calls for protection for the Chaparral woods and for construction to be prohibited due to its environmental value.