Evolution of the forest in Senan
Since the first third of 1900 and till nowadays, the forest surface in Catalunya has been constantly increasing. What in 1955 was estimated as a 40% of forest surface (Schwarzlmüller, 2008 in Cervera et al., 2015), in 2020 has reached more than a 60% of the global coverage of the land in the region.
This dynamic might chiefly respond to two factors: the massive deforestation that took place during the XX century in order to increase the tillable surface, and the succeeding policies of reforestation in the earlies 1900; and the demographic dynamics that from nearly 1950 are, in Spain, guided by the exodus of the rural areas resulting in the abandonment of a substantial portion of the previously cultivated fields.
After stopping their management, the barren lands start a process of development guided by the dynamics of the site, where climate and soil work along with the most adapted vegetation to the current conditions. This ever-changing situation tends, through succession, to evolve towards being a forest.
The plots that conform the research project in Senan are mainly located in these “in between” areas in a process of transition after the earlier or later human abandonment.