EucalyptusJuly 3, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C
We’ve been walking through forests of eucalyptus for weeks, but in Galicia it seems there are few trees other than eucalyptus. The leaves on the young trees are a soft jade-like green; they almost seem to glow among the older trees. As the trees mature, the leaves become long and thin, and turn a darker, duller green.
We’ve passed many areas where swathes of eucalyptus have been clear cut, and new trees planted. Turns out these trees are very controversial on the Iberian peninsula.
Since it was introduced in the 1860s, eucalyptus has become the most important tree in forest economy, especially for paper pulp. Insects don’t like eucalyptus, and they discourage mosquitos, but that means fewer birds in the forests. Eucalyptus grows quickly, a boon to areas that had been deforested. But they also consume great amounts of water, and they push out native species. And the development of large-scale tree farming has threatened the small-scale family farms and social bonds of communities throughout Spain and Portugal.
Their scent is not exactly piney, maybe more like menthol, cool and refreshing, especially for tired peregrinos slogging uphill!Read more