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Some of the damaged trees. SUR
Dozens of cedar trees in the Sierra de las Nieves, some of them almost 100 years old, damaged in two attacks
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Dozens of cedar trees in the Sierra de las Nieves, some of them almost 100 years old, damaged in two attacks

The Junta is working on saving the trees, planted in 1950 in Fuenfría, Igualeja, while the Guardia Civil has opened an investigation

Vanessa Melgar

Monday, 8 January 2024, 11:31

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Almost 40 cedar trees in the Sierra de las Nieves, in the area known as La Fuenfría, in the municipality of Igualeja, have suffered serious damage in two separate attacks. The damage was caused with the aim of killing the trees, eight of which are especially large, as reported by several local people and confirmed by the Junta de Andalucía.

The regional environment department is already working to save the cedars and, for the moment, none of them has been lost.

"They suffered two attacks, in April and November last year, resulting in ringing by removing part of their bark," explained the Andalusian government, which added that these trees are a group of survivors of an old nursery run by Patrimonio Forestal del Estado, a former national government organisation founded to protect Spanish forests mid-20th century.

"They have been damaged with the aim of cutting off the flow of nutrients and causing their death by affecting the phloem and vascular cambium, tissues responsible for the circulation and growth in thickness of stems and trunks. In both cases, the attacks on these trees, planted in 1950, were carried out at the weekend and on a night with a full moon, which allowed for greater visibility," department sources added.

Forestry technicians from the Junta have applied healing, fungicidal and regenerative cambium paste.

The attacks have been reported to the Guardia Civil's nature protection unit Seprona, which has opened an investigation.

"It is considered an attack on the forest heritage in public domain. The current forestry legislation recognises these facts as a serious offence, as the cedars are included in the list of forest species referred to in the Andalusian forestry regulations," the Junta said.

The regional administration added that there are currently no known populations of cedars in Andalucía of natural origin, but that there are indications of their presence in the past in the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Bermeja. "It was used as a companion species, on an experimental basis, during the various repopulation campaigns carried out during the 20th century," they said and added that, after the fire in Sierra Bermeja in 2021, it was agreed, on an experimental basis, to plant cedars for scientific purposes in this area.

The species is rejected, as it is not considered autochthonous, by some groups.

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