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Hunters want their beloved trophies to be considered “firefighters” against wildfires

In the midst of the worst summer season for wildfires in decades, hunters have taken advantage and demanded that “hunter species,” or the breeds that make up their trophies, be considered “ecosystem firefighters.” They refer to deer and other species introduced to populate hunting reserves, such as mouflon, deer and even some invasive species such as barbary sheep.

The point is that the Fundación Artemisán hunting lobby He created his own decalogue on fires In the mountains, the document states that “it is possible to explain the aspects that the public is not aware of in the development of forest fires in Spain” and, among its solutions, it calls for the “recognition” of these varieties as “authentic brushes that work in fire prevention”.

This is a similar action when, at the end of 2021, the same hunting sector, in the heat of the demands of a depopulated Spain, strengthened its claim to remove all environmental regulations that they saw as hindering their activities. . This campaign crystallized in two demonstrations, which did not satisfy the hunters themselves.

Artemisán equates livestock with hunting: “Its role in reducing the fuel load on the forest is obvious,” he says of both categories. And he cites mountain goats and sheep, which he calls “fire prevention actors.” Then he adds others on “more specialized pastures” such as mouflon.

It so happens that the barbarian sheep, or Atlas mouflon, is included in the Spanish catalog of invasive alien species. Introduced in 1970 as a hunting trophy, it has undergone “rapid expansion”.Analyze your official transcript. Among the harm caused by its cataloging is precisely that it eats shirt grass and replaces the food of other species. This is a scientifically recognized threat to endangered plant species.

Although some studies have equated the damage caused by barbary sheep to another exotic species not classified as invasive, such as the mouflon, the hunter lobby is calling for a kind of free bar in this series of anti-fire measures: “list the species on the National Invasive Alien Catalog” and “hand promotes their development in the Levant of Spain and other territories”.

As for mouflon, this wild ram was brought to Spain in 1954 to hunt it. “There is Large game is highly valued, which is why it is widespread with private farms and social reserves or hunting reserves”, describes his work. They posed a threat of competition with other ungulates and their expansion “could cause serious ecological damage”. They destroyed the endemic plants on Mount Teide – in the Canary Islands it was declared invasive – and they were serious competition for the plants of the Sierra de Cazorla.

Thus, the document calls for what it calls the “natural operation of large game species” when it comes to fire prevention. In other words, according to this criterion, herds of deer, mouflons or sheep prevent the spread of fire by feeding in cans.

Contrast this view He repeated the statement of the hunting sector So, its activity serves as a method of controlling and reducing the damage to the vegetation and certain farms that produce in different parts of Spain, precisely, the excessive population of deer and wild boar.

Among the problems with wildfire management that the hunter lobby claims it has found are environmental regulations. They consider it necessary to “reduce” the time of “study and decision” of environmental assessments, “which will make it easier for private forest owners to develop prevention and forest management actions, their development rights with responsible declarations of regulatory compliance.”

And they are so abundant that ecosystem protection laws prevent it. “It is the environmental legislation itself with management plans for protected natural spaces – national parks, natural parks, nature reserves, Natura 2000 network… – which often prevents the implementation of preventive works due to excessive protectionism and bureaucracy. It prevents not only the acceleration of these tasks, but also their execution.

This “Decalogue” confirms that “some currents of thought have promoted the idea that absolute protection and non-use and exploitation of natural resources is the best way to ensure their conservation.”

The Artemisan Foundation does not specify what these currents of thought are, but it ensures that this “idea has penetrated and taken root not only in our society, but also in competent administration.”

They carry out their analysis, among other initiatives, to promote the figure of forestry and mountain engineers “as true experts of the area”. Promote the use of biomass as a renewable energy, “encourage the promotion of prescribed burning”, create a national forest plan and “a national hydrological plan that manages to alleviate water deficits in Spain”. They call for the stimulation of extensive animal husbandry and underpin their analysis with this reflection: “Making the forest profitable is the best way to guarantee its management.”

Source: El Diario

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