Oliveiroa is another place on the Way to Finisterre; the last stop of the pilgrim before the intersection of Hospital de Logoso, where you have to decide if you take the direct route to Finisterre or Muxía. Devesa de Anllares is located about 2 miles from Oliveiroa, next to the Xallas River. It is the westernmost native forest mass in Galicia and one of the best preserved forests in Europe, so it is worth visiting!.
Keep the natural level of natural and semi-natural forest areas, is one of the requirements for PEFC forestry certification.
Devesa de Anllares
The geographical situation of Galicia, hydrographical conditions, the existence of mountain ranges, as well as the human influence, result in a heterogeneous landscape with diversity of tree formations that depend on the altitude, climate and nature of soils.
Forests are not just a set of trees; they are complex ecosystems that form a part of them and the relationship with many other plant and animal species. We can consider several types of forests: natural (oak groves, gall oak groves, etc.) developed freely and without human intervention; artificial, such as pine forests and eucalyptus plantation, and finally semi-natural, similar to natural but with forestry intervention.
The vast and well-preserved natural forests are rare in Galician territory, although there is a good representation of coastal Atlantic forest very close to your Way to Finisterre, the Devesa de Anllares.
Devesa de Anllares is the westernmost native forest mass in Galicia and one of best preserved Atlantic forests in Europe, rich in biodiversity.
The main area of the forest is about 80 hectares, which continues along the river. However, despite its natural appearance, the river course of the Xallas River is very affected by hydroelectric exploits, since it has 4 dams in less than 15 kilometres.
The Devesa shows us a riverside forest dominated by alders, willows and hazelnut trees, and continues to spread through the territory with oaks mainly, with its undergrowth of holly trees, butcher’s brooms and ferns, and the rocks covered with moss. If you pay attention you will see a great diversity of butterflies, dragonflies, coleopterous, birds…
This area is classified as an Area of great natural beauty included in the “Grande Área Paisaxística (GAP) Chairas e Fosas Occidentais” (Great Landscape Area Plains and Western Trenches) of Galicia, and it is considered a potential distribution area of the common reed bunting, a bird included in the Galician catalogue of threatened species. Potential distribution areas are those coastal wet areas that could be used by this bird, either as an area to rest during dispersive movements, or at different times from breeding, especially during winter.
It is not an approved route, so GPS is necessary, and in certain stretches it can be difficult to walk. If you don’t want to go into the forest, we recommend that you go near the reservoir of Castrelo, where you can visit the beginning of Devesa de Anllares.
Forested area in Galicia
According to the National Forest Inventory (IFN), 70% of Galician forest area (1.424.094,17 ha) is wooded, which represents 47% of Galicia. This area is composed of different tree formations that respond to mass evolution in the different biogeographic regions present in our Community. These tree formations are grouped, mainly according of criteria of main species, objectives and density of trees.
Within the conifers group, the dominant species is Pinus Pinaster, followed in less presence by Pinus Radiata and Pinus Sylvestris.
As for the native hardwoods the Quercus stand out, with the Quercus Robur as the main species followed by Quercus Pyrenaica. Among the other native hardwoods, Castanea Sativa is the most important.
As far as the Eucalyptus spp. is concerned, the main species is Eucalyptus Globulus, followed by Eucalyptus Nitens.
The mixture of conifers and hardwoods is very heterogeneous, but Pinus Pinaster and Eucalyptus Globulus dominate, followed by Pinus Pinaster with Quercus Robur.
In the following map we can see the distribution and surface occupied by the different tree formations:
The role of PEFC
One of the objectives of PEFC is to maintain or increase the forest area, with particular reference to the trees, except for actions to defend the forest itself (such as fires) or other actions to improve its multifunctionality.
We can maintain and increase the tree-planted forest area, reforesting and restoring cover especially in the most degraded areas, using forest species and techniques appropriate to the season, and improving the structure of existing forests, promoting management and forestry.
It is essential to maintain the degree of nature of those forest spaces considered natural and semi-natural, by establishing preventive measures to ensure their persistence, at least at the current level of conservation, and to establish mechanisms for defending valuable relics.
Non-intensive management is closer to natural dynamics and processes than intensive management. However, abandonment of a land area can lead to degradation of the forest ecosystem and increased risks to its conservation.
The particular ecological characteristics of certain forest biotopes (high diversity, special vulnerability, representativeness, presence of endemic, rare, protected or threatened species, genetic reserves, etc.) make habitats unique, and motivate their conservation, whether or not specific rules exist.
In the management of the forest, the maintenance of existing unique habitats should be taken into account and should be identified in the forest management document, with a cartographic record, including measures which are necessary for their conservation.