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The work to regenerate the area affected by forest fire Moratalla employ over 150 people (14/01/2009)

The project, called Stakeout, covers 1,274 hectares and is expected to be completed next summer works

The Minister of Agriculture and Water, Antonio Cerdá, said today that the work of regeneration of the area affected by the great forest fire of Moratalla, produced in July 1994, "are a major source of employment for local workers."

The Ministry is developing a project (called Stakeout) which has a total investment of six million euros, 50 percent financed by the Community and the European Economic Area, and will employ over 150 people, generating 24,000 wages.

Cerdá this morning visited the area affected by the works, covering a total of 1,274 hectares in the mountains of El Algaidón, The Blacksmith and La Silla.

The actions are carried out silvicultural treatments, repairs to the main network of roads, boulevards correction hydrological problems of erosion, planting of species that partially or completely disappeared in the fire, fire protection (Helispots auxiliary belts) and rehabilitation of a nursery to produce plants needed for this and future restoration.

The project aims to increase biodiversity, ecosystem and improve living conditions for wildlife, increase forest cover, reduce erosion, protect against fire and restore the local economy.

The Great Fire of Moratalla reached nearly 28,000 hectares of forest land.

On this area the regional administration for years has been focusing most of the restoration efforts, which is scheduled for 2012.

To date, eight projects have drawn half of those who have already been executed.

In this sense Cerda said that "we have already acted in 55 percent of the area burned, with an accumulated investment of 12 million euros."

Most of this investment has been devoted to silvicultural treatments.

Important source of employment

Stakeout regarding the project, the Minister stressed that silvicultural treatments on large areas have a wide social impact, and that "during the six months last works of this project will employ over 150 people."

In this regard he added that "the employment generation capacity of forestry work is much greater than that of a civil works, which he attributed to" the majority of forest work are manual in nature, almost artisanal, due to the peculiarities of the environment in which we work, with steep slopes and difficult access. "

The said project was drafted in 2008 and the beginning of last December was tendered the contract for execution of works, which were awarded to companies and Ibarra General Group SA Lorca SL with a budget of 3,468,000 euros.

It is anticipated that these works will be completed by next summer.

Almost all the surface included in the project is privately owned, so that the Ministry established contacts with the owners of the properties involved, in order to obtain their authorization to act on their properties.

New Project

The Department drafted and a new project to develop in areas close to those currently working to complete the total investment under the Stakeout.

These projects are framed in the Forestry Strategy in the Region of Murcia (2003-2012), which, according to Cerda, "is an organized plan in time and space for administration and management to achieve sustainable, rational and comprehensive our ecosystems forest.

Photo: The Minister of Agriculture and Water, Antonio Cerdá, today visited with the director general of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, Pablo Fernández (3i), the work of regeneration of the area burned by Moratalla, which are part of the project Stakeout

Source: CARM

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