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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: La Palma BR
  General Description   The Biosphere Reserve of 'La Palma' in the Canary Islands was extended and renamed in 2002 (the ancient Los Tiles Biosphere Reserve is now constituting the core area). The biosphere reserve now encompasses the entire island, which contains a wide range of representative habitats with all the diversity provided by the transition from the coast up to the mountain peaks. The island has also one of the best examples of humid mountain laurel forests with pine forests, dry woodlands to coastal sub-tropical vegetation. There is a large number of endemic plants among the vegetation, while both the invertebrate and vertebrate diversity is outstanding, without loosing sight of the great interest of the marine communities. The island of La Palma has 4,885 species, 980 of which are endemic. More than 80,000 inhabitants (2002) are engaged in the revalorization of traditional agriculture, commerce and management of marine resources supporting sustainable strategies of development. Tourism is also a source of income, not only beach tourism but also cultural tourism based on rural community lifestyles. The reserve holds a major cultural heritage. It not only encompasses a wealth of archaeological sites including some of the best engravings to be found in the Canary islands like Cueva Belmaco and La Zarza, but it also represents the survival of a cultural legacy based on the mixture of Afro-american and European currents, which have given way to the peculiarity of La Palma. The creation of the Canary Island Network of Biosphere Reserves gives inspiration for cooperation and exchange of pilot experiences.
  Major ecosystem type   Island; Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrubs
  Major habitats & land cover types   Island; coastal halophile vegetation with Limonium pectinatum and Frankenia ericifolia; Euphorbia communities with Euphorbia balsamifera and E. canariensis; thermophile forests characterized by Juniperus turbinata canariensis, Olea europaea and Maytenus canariensis; laurel forest with Laurus azorica, Ocotea foetens and Persea indica; mixed pine forest with Pinus canariensis; mountainous ecosystems (over 2,000 metres above sea level) with Cheilantes guanchica, Asplenium adiantum-nigrum and A. onopteris, Adenocarpus viscosus var. spartoides, Genista benehoavensis, Viola palmensis, Nepeta leydea sp., Spartocytisus supranubius and Plantago webbii
  Location   28°25'07'' to 28°51'15''N; 17°43'42'' to 18°00'15''W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   80,702
  Core area(s)   13,665 (of which marine: 3,400)
  Buffer zone(s)   32,144 (of which marine: 6,470)
  Transition area(s) when given   34,893
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -500 to +2,426
  Year designated   1983, extension 1997 - 2002
  Administrative authorities   El Cabildo Insular de La Palma; Consejo de Espacios Naturales Protegidos de Canarias; Gobierno de Canarias
  Brief description   Studies of the losses of soil which indicates the extension of erosion and its origin
Restoration activities in areas with important erosion processes
Seismological station to study volcanic activities on the island
Inventory of cryptogamic species and invertebrate fauna
Permanent plots for monitoring flora
Studies on the ecological limits of certain plant species
Studies on the model for tourism development of La Palma
Studies on traditional cultivations of La Palma
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, ecology, fires/fire ecology, population genetics/population dynamics, rare/endangered/threatened species.
  Socio-economic   Anthropological studies/Anthropology.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Antonio San Blas
Gerente del Consorcio de la Reserva de la Biosfera
Avda. Marítima, 3
38700 Santa Cruz de la Palma (Canaria)
  Telephone   (34.922) 42 33 55/56
  Fax   (34.922) 42 32 81

Last updated: 20/07/2007

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