These are jointly held and belong to the locals inhabiting a civil parish or one or several smaller populations, i.e., common lands belong to the people who have traditionally exploited them. This is a unique administrative model within European lands.
From LIFE IN COMMON LAND we would like to pay homage to these commoners or comuneros, as their role is one of critical importance for the revitalization or Galician rural areas.
It is common knowledge that a large fraction of Galicia's lands are considered forest lands or terrenos forestales, as per the definition established by the Spanish Forestry Law. These are, since days of yore, the cornerstone of the traditional Galician farming system. It is precisely in these areas where the pastures necessary for the survival of livestock were produced. It was also a key element in the maintenance of a fertilization system as part of the trinomial: scrubland-crop-meadow.
Galicia presents an indeed paradoxical reality when it comes to common land ownership. A great part of these lands in Galicia are neither public nor held individually, constituting an administrative model of great specificity within European territory.
Common lands have, since days of yore, privately and collectively owned, i.e., of "Germanic" nature, with no exploitation quotas shared amongst the locals. Ownership and exploitation rights are held by a group of people residing in "open, smoke-emitting households", that is, people who reside in the civil parish or a smaller population to which the exploitation rights of common lands would traditionally have been ascribed to. Therefore, the status of co-proprietor varies, depending on whether a person does habitually reside in the population in question. This circumstance is rather peculiar: common lands are jointly held, but the co-proprietors are the local inhabitants.