A SPANISH province holds the biggest man-made forest on the planet.
The olive-tree plantation in Jaen contains a staggering 64 million trees spread over half a million hectares, making Jaen the biggest producer of olive oil in the world.
Around 78% of the agricultural land in the area is reserved for olive trees, with picual trees the most commonly grown.
Other varieties grown include the royal, arbequina and cornicabra.
Documents show olive oil production began in the area from 2,500 BC with Romans exporting Jaen’s olive oil throughout its empire 2,000 years ago.
And it all looks bloody awful, monoculture always does. They could have replanted oak in all the valley bottoms, which would over time have restored some of the fertility and provided a source of much higher income but this requires a long view, not something the Spanish or English are noted for.
Galicia once would have trounced Ireland and Wales for beauty, now it is an unrelenting grey/green blanket of alien eucalyptus forest, which often catches fire. Gone are the oak forests, gone the vast flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, which enriched the soil but at least Galicia still has it’s wonderful rias.