Concern for the environment
Spain, although it can be considered a mountainous territory and semi-arid in many aspects, is home to a fauna and flora of great richness and biodiversity.
Spain is a habitat with over 8,000 plant species. Forests account for around 30% of the territory, although these do not always correspond to native species. Traditional reforestation practices carried out particularly in the late 19th century have lead to an overall presence of pine and eucalyptus stands. Spain's environmental conservation policy was launched many years ago, and has been considerably enhanced in recent years. One of the fundamental pillars of this government policy has been protection, by means of initiatives such as the National Parks, Nature Reserves and Game Reserves. However, most of these competences have now been transferred to the Autonomous Regions, who have enacted a range of different protection models. The most important threats to the environment are deforestation (forest fires), erosion, desertification and contamination of river water. This problem is common to the whole of Europe, and the positive balance between agriculture, rational exploitation and conservation of the environment is one of the most important issues for the country. Therefore both agriculture and tourism (which also affects the state of environmental conservation) are today strictly regulated, in order to allow these sectors to prosper and grow without affecting the environment. For all these reasons, Spain is a country with a strong –and increasing– commitment to conserving the environment.