The mountains were always an important resource for the population of La Gomera. The conservation of the forest ensured the island’s water supply as well as primary resources essential to the traditional agricultural economy.
Although the disappearance of the former agricultural economy and the appearance of nature conservation bodies have broken the age-old links with the mountain, the older inhabitants still speak of the traditional ways of exploiting and managing the landscape that make up the “mountain culture”.
The mountain was the second home of many shepherds who led their animals up the hill in the mornings and brought them down at night. It provided wood for making work tools, possessions, furniture and musical instruments and for constructing houses and other buildings. Wood was also the main fuel of the island, used as firewood and charcoal to heat homes and cook meals.
Gomerans make thorough use of the Canary date palm (Phoenix canariensis). They use its roots for making rope and canvas sandals and the trunk for beehives and water troughs. The green leaves are fed to livestock, used as brooms, and made into decorative arches for festivals. Dried leaves are used in a variety of ways, particularly for making mats, baskets, hats, and so on.