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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Área de Allariz Biosphere Reserve, situated in Galicia in the Iberian Peninsula in northwestern Spain, is particularly important for cultural values and sustainable land-use enabling local flora and fauna conservation. Formed by a depression where the Limia River runs, it is surrounded by a mountainous rim, with the granite massif of Allariz in its northern part. The site is of great biogeographic importance since it is located in a border territory between the Mediterranean and the Eurosiberian regions of the Iberian Peninsula, the. The forests are therefore both part of the Orensano-Sanabrienses Pyrenean oak woods and of the Galicio-Portuguese oak woods with common oak (Quercus robur) and Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica). There are three units in the region that are especially important to protect: veigas, that are lands in the margins of the Antela and Limia Rivers (higroturbosas with herbaceous vegetation and matorral); touzas, that is a mosaic of meadows and/or cultivated areas separated by wooded zones; and sebes, mixed common oak and Pyrenean oak woods, with a great species diversity. All these units are contiguous and ecologically interrelated. The variety of habitats allows for the existence of a high faunal diversity, with species of community interest and species in danger of extinction in Spain. Frogs and toads, herons and wading birds, and birds of prey are the more important groups, next to the mammals. Important species include the wolf, otter, and many species of amphibians that are Iberian endemic species.

The region is equally important for its tangible and intangible cultural heritage, since these territories are perhaps the only ones in Galicia that conserve their traditional uses and a landscape that has been formed by human practises. The region has archaeological, ethnographic and cultural elements dating back to the culture of the castros (2000 BC), the Bronze and Iron ages, the Roman epoch, the Middle Ages, etc., as well as religious or civil architecture such as pazos and family houses.

The transition area occupies over 90% of the Biosphere Reserve and includes all types of habitats, cultural, historical and artistic values, and different uses. There ate less than 10,000 inhabitants engaged in traditional practices such as- agriculture, cattle raising, forest uses etc.

The City councils are involved in the creation of an Association of Ayntamientos that will be implementing the management plan of the Biosphere Reserve. This Association, the Territorial Council and the Scientific Committee aim to guarantee that the Biosphere Reserve is not subject to the political changes that can occur after municipal electoral processes. The objectives of the Plan include the conservation of the natural and heritage resources, the maintenance of ecosystems and the protection of species and habitats, especially those included in regional, national or European lists of protection.
  Major ecosystem type   Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub
  Major habitats & land cover types   Querceto roboris sigmetum- Vaccinium myrtilli forest areas (oak groves); Mediterranean-Iberoatlantic Geomacroserie riparia silicífila (alder groves) / Riverine shore areas. Serie supramediterránea carpetana occidental, orensano-sanabriense y leonesa húmedo-hiperhúmeda silicícola del roble melojo (Quercus pyrenaica). Holco mollis-Querceto pyrenaicae signetum. / forest areas (oak groves); Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition -type vegetation / floodplains and pasture land.
  Location   42º8'43"S; 7º49'40"W (Central point)
42º15'56", 42º1'33", 42º12'26" and 42º6'28"N
7º47'24", 7º52'29", 7º44'34" and 7º54'44"W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   21,482
  Core area(s)   149.20
  Buffer zone(s)   1,054.60
  Transition area(s) when given   20,278.20
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +425 to +926.5
  Year designated   2005
  Administrative authorities   Asociación para o desenvolvemento de Allariz, Vilar de Santos, A Bola e Rairiz de Veigas - Concello de Allariz
  Brief description   : The zonation has been based on a careful analysis that considers the scientific research, the opinion of the population, socio-economic questions, the current legislation, requirements of MAB Programme and other pertinent questions.

Investigations in the Biosphere Reserve involve natural sciences with studies on abiotic and biological factors, and social sciences with studies on planning, socio-economic factors and archaeology. In recent years a system of permanent observations has been maintained with monitoring activities on natural abiotic processes (meteorology, water fluctuations), and biological processes (censuses etc.). There are also permanent observations related to socio-economic factors.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, air temperature, climate, habitat, hydrology, indicators, meteorology, monitoring/methodologies, nutrients, pollution, pollutants, soil.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, alien/invasive/exotic/introduced species, amphibians, autoecology/synecology, biodiversity, biotechnology, birds, breeding/reproduction, community studies/communities, conservation, degraded areas, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, flora, freshwater/inland water, fungi, genetic resources, indicators, invertebrates/insects/spiders, mammals, migrating populations/migration, monitoring/methodologies, natural medicinal products, natural resources, phytosociology/succession, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, temperate forest, tropical grassland and savanna systems, vegetation studies/plant cover, wetlands, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, archaeology/paleontology, bioprospecting, capacity building, control and monitoring of illegal activities, cottage industry/artisanal industry, cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, economically important species, energy production systems/alternative energy, firewood cutting/harvesting, fishery/fisheries, forestry, human health, human migration/population exodus, human/wildlife conflicts, hunting, indicators, indicators of sustainability, indigenous people, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, monitoring methodologies, non-timber forest products/ntfp, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, people-nature relations/man/nature, quality economies, recreation, resource use, role of women/gender, sacred sites, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, stakeholders' interests, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge, transport.
  Integrated monitoring   Carrying capacity/Sustainability, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, environmental quality, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, indicators, institutional and legal aspects, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, interdisciplinary studies, land tenure, land use/land cover, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, mapping, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, watershed studies/monitoring.
  Contact address   Bernardo Varela López
Concejal de Medio Ambiente de Allaríz
A Bola e Rairiz de Veigas, Plaza Mayor, 1
32660 Allariz (Orense)
  Telephone   (34.988) 440001
  Fax   (34.988) 440078

Last updated: 27/02/2007

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