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Natura 2000 Award - El Pinar de los Belgas: past, present and future

About the project

Main applicant

FIR (Forestry Innovation & Resources) 


Socio-economic benefits

Countries involved


Main N2000 site

Alto Lozoya (ES0000057)


The Monte Cabeza de Hierro, also known as Pinar de los Belgas, is named after the Belgian company that has owned the property since 1840. It is one of the most important managed forests in Spain. In the buffer zone of the national park Sierra de Guadarrama, and part of the Natura 2000 sites Alto Lozoya and Cuenca del río Lozoya y Sierra Norte, this 2 000-hectare forest is known for its high biodiversity, including one of the most important black vulture colonies in Spain. 

After nearly 200 years of sustainable management, the current management of the Pinar de los Belgas was brought into question by some conservation groups who signed a public manifesto asking the Spanish government to purchase the forest and incorporate it into the national parks network. 

This application to the Natura 2000 Award covers the production and dissemination of a video documentary by forest-environmental dissemination channel FIR (Forestry Innovation and Resources), with a view to present the arguments of all parties concerned: signatories of the manifesto, forest owners and managers, and national park managers. This was the first media work that actually gave the owners and managers of Pinar de los Belgas, whose management of the forest had been brought into question by conservationists, the opportunity to explain their side of the story. Until then, the media had addressed the problem entirely from the point of view of the conservationists. 

In December 2021, the Spanish government reached an agreement with the owners of the Pinar de los Belgas. The forest is now public property and its future management in relation to other similar public forests and the Sierra de Guadarrama national park is currently being assessed.