Matarraña Spain

Model region total area (ha)

93 300 ha

Brief description of the location

Matarraña region is located in the east of Teruel province. This area is located in Teruel province, in the eastern end of Aragon bordering with Catalonia and Valencia autonomous regions.

This location origins a close connexion with the Mediterranean area. The chief town is Valderrobles. It is 179 km from Zaragoza (regional capital city) but nearer to Tortosa (53 km) at delta of Ebro river, Tarragona (125 km) or Castellon (151 km). Barcelona is 222 km far.

It contains 18 town councils but only Valderrobles (2310) and Calaceite (1108) have more than 1000 inhabitants.

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Type of landscape

The region has a continental Mediterranean climate. It is a small territory with a strong climatic contrast: on the north dry and hot, more fresh and wet in the mountainous areas.

The 43% of its area is flat ground and is used to agricultural land. Another 56% is forest land due to the mountainous conditions.

The mountain passes corresponds to the mountain massif of chalky character in which the vegetation has a high density noticing on the hilltops the larger pine forested areas (Pinus Sylvestris with Buxus sempervirens and Juniperus communis). The mountain range zone has a less abrupt geography with a forested mass of pine (Pinus nigra and Pinus halepensis).

The region accounts several rivers, the Matarraña which merges into the Ebro river, river Pena, river Ulldemó and river Tastavins.

In the past years there was an important timber industry and nowadays biomass industry. This landscape has originated more than 15 600 ha of Site of Community Importance (SCI) and 14 780 ha of special protection areas for birds (SPAs).

The more important crops are: olive trees (7991.7 ha), fruit tree (7936.1 ha), cereals (2714.4 ha) and forage crops (910 ha).

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Type of population

Total population: 8 491 inhabitants

Population density: 9.1 inhabitants/km2

Valdrerrobres (capital) and Calaceite account 38 % of the total population of the region. Population lives in 18 small villages. Two of them with more than 1.000 inhabitants, 5 from 400 up to 700 and the rest less than 400. The population density is not very low comparing to other regions but as many others it has experienced an important negative demographic shift during the twentieth century (decrease of 15000 habitants). Population over 65 years old represents 27.5% (20.8 in Aragon). Average age is 47.8 years old (43.9 in Aragon). In recent years quality facilities for tourists have being developed in this area due to its nature and architectural value.

Economic activity

Total employed population amounts 59.89% of the region total population.

Majority population and the highest percentage of gross added value (18%) is related to crop-livestock farming and forestry. Only the trade, hotel business and services sector is higher (23%). Building company sector contributes with a 17%.

In recent years food and agriculture activities (meat industry, canning industry and craft industry is increasing. Other activities as nature and cultural tourist trade is acquiring an increasing leadership.

Forest resources and biomass is another important base-line of economic activity.

Types of LCMW biomass in the region

1. Ravine cleaning

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2. Pathside/roadside cleaning

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3. River side cleaning

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4. Auxiliary belt (Firewall)

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5. Recreational forest cleaning

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Relevance  of LCMW biomass types

1. Ravine cleaning

  • Distribution over all municipalities of the region but more specially concentrated in: Beceite, Monroyo, Peñarroya de tastavin and Valderrobres
  • 1265 ha  (around 1.36 % of Matarraña area)
  • Clear vegetation to restore meadows and woody crops àNature/environmental protection and firewall
  • The LCMW biomass is currently not used (except in some cases for firewood)

2. Pathside/roadside cleaning

  • Significant path network in the region but more work required on paths with conditions favouring fast vegetation development (shadowy and humid zones).
  • Total area adds around 5 ha (less than 1% of Matarraña area)
  • Clear paths from vegetation to prevent blocking and secure passage à Scenery, recreation and technical infrastructure
  • The LCMW biomass is currently not used

3. River side cleaning

  • Concentrated around the rivers and creeks
  • 250 ha  (less than 1% of Matarraña area)
  • Building up of biomass in river sides (every 5-10 years) constitutes a risk in case of overflows and flooding casing clogging that will result in floods. Additionally the biomass implies a fire risk à Technical Infrastructure and public security

Other LCMW biomasses which were identified in the region but due to the reduced area they occupied or small amount of biomass obtained in the maintenance operations were not relevant for the biomass assessment are:

4. Auxiliary belt (Firewall):

  • Distribution: concentrated in specific zones (forest areas)
  • Approximate % of the region area: 0, 1%
  • Clearing of 50m from each side of the path as strategy for forest fire prevention à nature/environmental protection and public security
  • The LCMW biomass is currently not used

5. Recreational forest cleaning

  • Recreation areas in each municipality (small spot disseminated).
  • Total area adds around 5 ha (less than 1% of Matarraña area)
  • Cleaning and pruning of bush and woody species to secure transit access and avoid fire risk due to biomass accumulation à Nature/environmental protection and public security
  • The LCMW biomass is currently not used (except in some)