Landes forest

Landes Forest

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Landes forest

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The Landes forest (La forĂȘt des Landes in French) or the Landes of Gascony (las Lanas de Gasconha in the Gascon language), in the historic Gascony region of southwestern France now known as Aquitaine, is the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe. The French word, landes and Gascon lanas, mean 'moors' or 'heaths'.


The forest (also known as the 'moors of Gascony', and formerly, the 'moors of Bordeaux') covers a large portion of Landes and Gironde, two of the departments of France; it also spills over into parts of the Lot-et-Garonne department. The sources of several rivers can be found in this region, including the sources of the Leyre, the Boudigau, the Ciron, and the Gat Mort. The largest towns within the forest are Arcachon, Dax, and Mont-de-Marsan.

Origin as a pine plantation

The forest is composed mostly of maritime pine, Pinus pinaster. Unlike many other European forests, the Landes forest is almost entirely created and managed by man for industrial purposes. This massive pine plantation was started in the 18th century in the Pays de Buch area of Gironde, to halt erosion and cleanse the soil.


Most of the region now occupied by the Landes forest was swampy land that was sparsely inhabited until the 19th century, when the 19 june 1857 law ended traditional pastoralism and lead to wide scale reforestation, in order to rehabilitate the landscape and provide for regional economic development. Prior to this period, the people of the Landes used......
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