The exceptional orography of the island, together with the special climatic conditions allows the existence of perhaps the greatest natural and scenic wealth of the archipelago.
Its more than 25,000 hectares of Protected Natural Spaces in the form of Parks, Reserves, Natural Monuments, Protected Landscapes or Sites of Scientific Interest, represent 35.3% of the island's surface, divided into 20 natural Spaces in which they are conserved in a extraordinary most of the most representative ecosystems of the Canary archipelago.
The island has more than 47,000 hectares of forest area of which some 34,000 are wooded (24,000 pine forests 10,000 monteverde), contributing significantly to:
Protection of the land against erosion. Preventing dragging in the rainy season and loss of soil. It also prevents the serious damage to infrastructures that occur when this plant cover is lost. Proof of this are the consequences of the rains after the fires.
- They favor infiltration, by preventing runoff due to a decrease in the speed of the water.
- Capture of water from the mists, which we all call “horizontal rain” vital for the recharge of the aquifer. We have all seen “rain” at some time, not only under Monteverde, but also under the pine forest, on foggy days.
- Fixation of atmospheric carbon, contributing to mitigating climate change and reducing the island's carbon footprint. Only the Canarian pine forest is capable of fixing more than 350,000 tons of CO 2 each year.
In addition to the wooded areas of pine forest and monteverde, the different floors of (vegetation, Top vegetation. Thermophilic forest, and basal floor) are in a good state of conservation, with a representation of all of them on La Palma and contributing to a biodiversity and landscape specimens in the Canary Islands.
The protection of the environment, thus becomes one of the most important values of the island, both from an environmental and tourist point of view.
The Environment Service basically takes care of the following competences:
- Authorization of forest use in public forests and private properties.
- Administration and management of public forests and the Catalog of public utility forests.
- Improvement of forest stands
- Prevention and fight against forest fires:
- Preventive forestry
- Forest fire extinguishing tasks
- Authorization to burn stubble, residues or weeds in agricultural and forestry farms.
- The conservation, protection and improvement of flora, fauna and natural habitats.
- Attention to injured or injured wild animals.
- Production and promotion of native flora for the recovery of degraded species and spaces.
- The protection and restoration of the natural landscape.
- The management and conservation of the Natural Spaces of the Canary Islands Network of Protected Natural Spaces and the Natura 2000 Network.
- Education, outreach and environmental information
- Island network of trails.
- Issuance of sector reports in support of other government areas.
- Administrative support and issuance of hunting licenses.