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Due to the gulf stream, Cantabria, as well as the rest of "Green Spain", has a much more temperate climate than might be expected for its latitude, which is comparable to that of Oregon.
The region has a humid oceanic climate, with warm summers and mild winters.
This acts have been laxly controlled by the local councils or the central governments, in a process that clearly follows the saying: "Pan para hoy, hambre para mañana" (which translates as: "short-term gain, long-term pain").
The plantation of pines has given way in the last decades to that of eucalyptus due to the fact this non-indigenous species has no natural attacker within the European ecosystem (while pines are highly vulnerable to the Pine Processionary).
It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community (province of Biscay), on the south by Castile and León (provinces of León, Palencia and Burgos), on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay).
Cantabria belongs to Green Spain, the name given to the strip of land between the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian Mountains, so called because of its particularly lush vegetation, due to the wet and moderate oceanic climate.
In these specific cases in the southern part of the mountain range the dry adiabatic gradient produces different conditions to the rest of the region: the wind there is fresher and more humid, and there is more rain.
The rivers of Cantabria are short and rapid, descending steeply because the sea is so close to their source in the Cantabrian Mountains.
Towards the south are higher mountains, the tops of which form the watershed between the drainage basins of the Rivers Ebro, Duero and the rivers that flow into the Bay of Biscay.These peaks generally exceed 1,500 m from the Pass of San Glorio in the west to the Pass of Los Tornos in the eastern part: Peña Labra, Castro Valnera and the mountain passes of Sejos, El Escudo and La Sía.The great limestone masses of Picos de Europa also stand out in the southwest of the region: most of their summits exceed 2,500 m, and their topography is shaped by the former presence of glaciers.The southern part of Cantabria, including the comarca of Campoo the fringes of the Castilian plateau, is characterized by the transition to drier vegetation.Another diversifying factor which contributes to local variation within the region is the Mediterranean ecotone, giving rise to species unique to the region, such as the Holm Oak and arbutus trees, which are found in poor limestone soils with little moisture.