Drought damages 66,500 hectares of Catalan forests in 2023, double previous year

Most affected trees, especially pine and oak, are in northeastern regions

Dead pines due to drought in a forest in Brunyola, Girona
Dead pines due to drought in a forest in Brunyola, Girona / Aleix Freixas
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 22, 2024 03:36 PM

May 22, 2024 06:43 PM

Drought has affected 66,500 hectares of forest in Catalonia over the past year, according to the latest annual study by the Center for Ecological and Forestry Applications (CREAF). 

The prolonged three-year drought has severely affected forests, causing trees to lose their leaves due to lack of water, especially species such as pine and oak. 

This number has doubled compared to 2022, when approximately 33,000 hectares were affected by water scarcity. 

The areas most affected by tree damage are concentrated in the northeastern regions of the territory, especially in the area of Girona

In response, the Climate Action Department has approved a €5.2 million aid package to help private forest owners remove dead trees. 

Drought emergency measures lifted

The Catalan government lifted on May 7 the drought emergency measures in place for over 200 municipalities dependent on the Ter-Llobregat water system, serving most of Catalonia's inhabitants.

The emergency scheme was lowered to 'exceptionality' after the recent rain. Currently, the reservoirs in the Ter-Llobregat area are at 24.8% of their capacity.

The drought emergency was declared on February 1 in the 202 municipalities that are dependent on this water system, which includes Barcelona and it's metropolitan area.