Last Sunday, On May 1, there was an attack in the territory of the Common Woodland Community of Froxán, in the municipality of Lousame, Galicia. Things happen as follows.
At 11am the villagers spotted a forest fire and immediately proceeded to extinguishing it and calling the fire services. Thanks to the fast reaction, at 2pm the fire had been extinguished, burning 9 hectares of the 100 that the Commons Community stewards.
The fire burned mainly a section with scrub and some dispersed eucalyptus, an area that had been recovered with birch trees (betula pendula) this same week (designed as living fire break) and an area reforested with pine last month. A large section of oak trees that is being recovered and expanded by the Community was instrumental to stop the fire.
The fire was clearly provoked, being ignited in the NW corner of the Common land perimeter, in a day that predominant winds had that same direction, with the intention of leading it directly to the village and the recently reforested areas.
Although intentional forest fires are frequent in Galicia and are usually connected with conflicts over the lands themselves (such as cattle farming uses) today such interests do not exist in this community, neither neighbour issues or conflicts with other communities. Therefore, the intention of the fire is that of producing fear paralyzing the Community’s
efforts to defend the commons: this is TERRORISM.
The only conflict that this Community currently has is with the local mining subsidiary “Tungsten San Finx” of the multinational SACYR, that has usurped some of Froxán’s common land and an additional 30 hectares of the neighboring commons community. This mine has restarted its activity in 2015 and seeks to extract 1.5 million tons of tungsten / wolfram, a mineral used in the arms industry, during the next 12 years.
Over the past months, the Community has asked the mining company to abandon the occupied lands and several explorations in public ways, illegal works in the public river domain and violations of water rights have been reported.
Although the community cannot and does not point to the actual perpetrators, that are unknown, it has reported these precedents to the current authorities. And it will intensify its actions to preserve the common woodlands from both eco-systemic and communal perspectives.
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ContraMINAcción condenms this attack to the common woodlands being reforested
Next Saturday a delegation of environmental and commons groups will be here for an inspection visit to design a collective response, both in terms of recovering the burnt lands and in confronting the continuing mining threat.
Also today, the anti-mining network ContraMINAcción has issued a public statement that is available here:
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Even if, sadly, this is not an isolated case in our country, and in this occasion the damage has been relatively small, it is extremely worrying that this kind of indiscriminate weapon is used against nature and those communities that are committed to its conservation.
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