THE invasive and damaging nature of agave plants has been cited by Andalucian researchers as a key justification for their control and frequent destruction in Almeria.
The environmental body has released a paper noting that controlled reduction is necessary to improve the state of conservation of the native biodiversity.
Research suggests that agave plants compete for water with other species to the detriment of wider variety and take up a significant chunk of land. The scientists stress that this is not an eradication measure, but rather a management mechanism designed to protect the environment.
Agaves were planted on a mass scale in the arid zones of Almeria in the 1950’s to provide value to the unproductive areas of south east Spain.
Tens of thousands were planted in Almeria alone and now occupy more than 1,000 hectares of ecologically important land in the Cabo de Gata natural park and other key sites.