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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   This biosphere reserve is located in the extreme southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in the most arid part of Europe. It covers 46,000 hectares, of which 12,000 hectares are in the marine zone to a depth of 60 meters. Its volcanic rocks characterize the landscape and Mediterranean plant communities such as cornical (Periploca laevigata ) tomillares (Labiatae) and halophytic matorral adapted to drought which have a high floristic diversity and are considered a priority for conservation at the European and Mediterranean levels. The coastline has natural seagrass beds, which are a refuge for the monk seal, now an endangered species. Due to the arid climate, the population is disperse (3,500 inhabitants in 2001), but there are many tourists – some 500,000 (1998) per year - which puts great pressure on water resources and land use, but which also provides employment and a market for local produce. Tourism impacts are expected to be reduced as a consequence of the designation as a biosphere reserve. Cabo de Gata-Nijar has been well studied with research and monitoring conducted by the University of Almería and much data are available on climate, geology, fauna and flora.
  Major ecosystem type   Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub including marine/coastal component
  Major habitats & land cover types   Volcanic formation with species such as Ziziphus lotus, Periploca laevigata, Chamaerops humilis, Stipa tenacissima etc.; marine areas with algae and species such as Posidonia oceanica; sand-dune habitats; salt mines of Cabo de Gata
  Location   36°51'N; 02°06'W (at centre point)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   49,624
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -60 to +493
  Year designated   1997
  Administrative authorities   Junta de Andalucia, Almería Delegation
  Brief description   Climate
Human impact on nature
Management of humid areas
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, geomorphology, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Wetlands.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, management issues.
  Contact address   Emilio Retamosa Muñoz
Director Conservador del Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata-Nijar
C/ Fundición s/n
04071 Rodalquilar-Nijar (Almeria)
  Telephone   (34.950) 389742
(34.950) 389744
  Fax   (34.950) 389754

Last updated: 2/27/2007

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