Uses and Economic Activities by Areas

This section describes separately the uses and activities of waterscapes and the landscapes of Xistral mountain due to the clear differentiation thereof. They can be viewed graphically in detail in the Map Land Uses.

In the core area called waterscapes, the channels, lagoons and inland waters constitute 2% of the area, wetlands and swampy areas 0.2%. Even with such a low presence, these areas, with a high preservation value, determine the characteristics of adjacent areas, in the same way that the uses occurring in these will influence the first. Inland waters and wetlands are surrounded by tiles of the following land uses:

Mixed deciduous (15%) mainly riverine, flood and oak forests, as well as a mixture of native deciduous species with scrub or with pine (11%).

Land uses in the Core Zone of waterscapes

In floodplains, conditions are conducive to the establishment of pastures and crops due to the gentle slope and deeper soils. Therefore, next to the main waterways, the predominant uses are the so-called heterogeneous agricultural areas (37%). They consist of a mosaic of meadows, pastures, annual crops and tree hedges interspersed with masses of deciduous and scrub.

The homogeneous agricultural areas, consisting of meadows or vineyards, near the southern border, barely represent 1% of the area. 3% of it is made up of areas of scrub and grass and, finally, 7% of the area consists of reforestation in which the pine predominates, although lately, eucalyptus trees have began to be introduced on the banks of water courses themselves. There are also specific areas of aggregate extraction (0.4%).

The latter uses, although with no preservation value by themselves, do have a strategic importance due to being in contact with the area of greatest value. Therefore, they are included in the core area with the idea of proposing gradual changes in the future management towards more consistent use of the environment in which they are found.

Around rivers, the main activity is also farming, preferably dairy cattle, noting the existence of a large area of meadows and grassland mosaic with native deciduous species and a certain extent of native deciduous masses.

In the other core zone called mountain landscapes of Xistral, the predominant use is the scrub and grass (57%), as expected, where peatlands can be found.

The next use in area (23%) is afforestation, mainly pine, followed in area by eucalyptus. These planting operations, just as in waterscapes, are close to areas of high value, hence its inclusion in the core zone. In many cases they also show low planting density and poor growth, promoting development in the lower stratum of species of interest.

Land uses in the Core Zone of mountain landscapes of Xistral

Uses of Xistral landscapesS (ha)%
Scrub and grass1190556,5
Heterogeneous agricultural areas18358,7
Mixed deciduous and reforestation18358,7
Mixed deciduous11595,5
Caducifolias mixtas8053,8
Scrub and timber species5082,4
Homogeneous agricultural areas530,3

The enhancement of forestry since the fifties, added to the cessation of farming by the socioeconomic situation and the ageing population has meant an increase in the repopulated area, highlighting the progress of eucalyptus against the pine in recent years, being this area Terras do Miño where most plantations of this species are concentrated.

Mixed deciduous represent 4% and the tiles formed by mixtures of these tree species with reforestation of fast growing species represent 6%.

Heterogeneous agricultural areas of Xistral form the cultural landscape described as bocage (paragraph Cultural Landscapes), representing 9% of the area.

In this area, farming is the main occupation of the population. The mainly extensive nature of livestock (on scrub and grassland) and meat or mixed orientation, has been developing since ancient times in Terras do Miño, especially in the most mountainous areas, contributing to the conservation and landscape modelling.

Around rivers, the main activity is also farming, preferably dairy cattle, noting the existence of a large area of meadows and grassland mosaic with native deciduous species and an area of some extension with native deciduous masses.


The main use of the land in the buffer zone are heterogeneous agricultural areas, 40% of the area, consisting of meadows, pastures and annual crops alternated with mixed deciduous trees, shrubs and woody species (see Map Land Uses). The predominant activity is, therefore, livestock farms mixed with dairy and beef cattle, with a tendency towards more intensive farming.

The species planted the most in reforestation (16% of the area of buffer zones) is pine (15%), followed far behind by eucalyptus.

The scrub areas (6%) and their mixtures with grass (13%), afforestation (7%) and mixed deciduous (2%) suggest an increase in abandoned agricultural areas.

Hardwood masses represent 7% in area and their mixtures with wood species occupy the same area.

Finally, there are certain uses that are under-represented since as a whole they are below 2%, they are homogeneous agricultural areas (pastures, meadows and vineyards), population settlements, mines, inland waterways and inland wetlands.

Land Uses in Buffer Zones

Uses Buffer ZoneS (ha)%
Heterogeneous agricultural zones3202240,1
Scrub and grass1050913,2
Deciduous Forest and Reforestation64908,1
Mixed deciduous54366,8
Scrub and Reforestation52876,6
Scrub and mixed deciduous14811,9
Homogeneous agricultural zones8391,0
Population settlements1630,2
Inland waters370,0
Inland wetlands30,0


The transition zone, upon which 90% of the population rests and where the majority of economic activity occurs, is mostly occupied, 63%, by the heterogeneous agricultural areas described above.

Heterogeneous agricultural areasS (ha)%
Most grasslands and crops8991257,8
Grasslands and deciduous3070919,7
Grasslands and reforestation149049,6
Grassland and shrubland83485,4
Most meadows and crops90365,8
Most annual crops27251,8

Land uses in the Transition Zone

Uses Transition ZoneS (ha)%
Heterogeneous agricultural zones15563462,7
Deciduous and Reforestation2835211,4
Scrub and Reforestation112184,5
Mixed deciduous88883,6
Scrub and grass45461,8
Scrub and mixed deciduous43091,7
Homogeneous agricultural areas37151,5
Population settlements17731,7
Inland waters200,0

The second predominant land use in this zone, 12% of the area, are mixtures of mixed deciduous with eucalyptus and pine reforestations. The tiles formed only by afforestation account for 9%, which are still mainly pine as compared to other species. The pure stands of deciduous lose ground (4%) compared to afforestations which shows the predominance of productive activities as compared to the preservation and traditional uses of the environment.