As detailed today in the provincial order published in the Gipuzkoa Official Gazette (BOG), from Wednesday, April 3, and until July 29, the owners of forest masses in Gipuzkoa can now apply the chemical treatment against ‘brown band’ disease . This disease, spread by a fungus from North and Central America, currently affects 43% of the insignis pines (Pinus radiata) in the territory. The fungus has already been found in Europe since the 1970s, but it has not been until the last two years that its spread in Gipuzkoa has increased due to increased heat and humidity.

Thanks to this regional order, interested pine owners have the possibility of using the cuprous oxide solution by land, as long as a series of conditions are met. The main requirement is based on the solution being applied to pine forests less than 25 years old that contain defoliation of less than 75%, with a maximum of two total applications (per owner) and an interval between applications of 14-21 days. Cuprous oxide cannot be applied in areas that are less than 100 meters from any urban center, reservoir, lagoon, wetland, water catchment area (surface and underground), aquifer or course of permanent water.

It is hoped that this measure will contribute to solving the problem, which is added to other lines of action that the Basque Government is carrying out, such as financial aid to owners. Aid of 1.4 million euros has been enabled for owners of specimens under 25 years of age who, due to illness, have found it necessary to cut down. Thanks to these measures, it is expected that in the following months the massive felling of pine that we have seen in recent months in Gipuzkoa will be reduced, where areas previously populated with pine trees are now completely empty.

Julen González Redín
PhD in Sustainable Development