Afforestation for brown bears in Spain

Afforestation for brown bears in Spain

In the north of Spain are the Cantabrian Mountains, where the last brown bears live. But they are still hunted illegally. Naturefund's local partner on site, the organisation FAPAS, employed rangers in the strongholds of the poachers and has been able to significantly reduce the killing of these threatened animals over the last 25 years.
In the 1980's there were still 60 to 80 bears in western Cantabria, but today there are again more than 200 animals. In the east, however, the population has declined since the 1980s from 30 to currently 5 animals, including only one female bear.

Of bears and trees

Not only poachers threaten the existence of the bears. The lack of suitable food plays an important role. The European brown bear belongs to the carnivores. Nevertheless, about three quarters of its food consists of plant components. A peculiarity of the Spanish population is that they do not hunt themselves, but eat the carcasses of other predators or those left by humans.
One of the favourite dishes of the bears in Cantabria is fruit and nuts. In summer, the mother bears feed their cubs almost exclusively on these. The more fruit and nuts the cubs eat, the better they get through the winter.
Once northern Spain was famous for its fruit and chestnuts. But more and more people are moving to the cities, which is why many fruit and chestnut forests are becoming overgrown and decaying. Currently Spain is the country with the second largest mass of trees in Europe. Therefore Naturefund, together with FAPAS, is planting fruit and chestnut trees there.

Forest carbon stocks

The Soil Atlas 2015 has drawn up a precise list showing which ecosystems can absorb how much CO2. According to this, forests can store an average of approximately 1.12 kg of the climate-damaging greenhouse gas per m² and are thus in third place among the climate-saving ecosystems after moors (1st place) and grasslands (2nd place). <link internal-link internal link in current>All projects

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Trees planted5,000
Height above sea level3 m
Importance for biodiversityhigh
Climate protection factor
(in kg CO2 / tree / 20 years)