The province of Almeria is probably most famous for its desert where many films, including Lawrence of Arabia and the spaghetti Westerns were filmed during the 60s and 70s. Thanks to two brothers, Juan and Jesús Garcia Latorre, a less well known aspect of the region has come to light – trees that are up to 2,000 years old. The holm oak in the Carrascon de la Paena forest in Serón is a mere strip of a tree at 1,500 metres tall and 700 years old. With the help of very old maps, the brothers have managed to locate forest oases containing many such trees. The oldest one is an olive tree in Agua Amarga which the brothers estimate is between 1,500 and 2,000 years old which they described as a “a living monument of the Roman occupation of the Iberian peninsula. They presented all their discoveries in a paper entitled “Los bosques ignorados de la Almeria árida” ((The forgotten woods of arid Almeria) which the University of Almeria published in 1996. The brothers continued searching for old trees, however, and have just published details about their new finds in “Almeria: hecha a mano” (Almeria: made by hand), which includes ancient pine trees near Cabo de Gata (Cape Gata) which have managed to survive on less than 170 mm of rainfall a year.

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