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      Biosphere Reserve Information
     

Spain

ISLA DE EL HIERRO


© Photo: El Hierro BR
 
       
  General Description   El Hierro is a volcanic island which is the youngest and smallest of the whole Canary Archipelago. Situated in the Macaronesian biogeographical region, the island's vegetation is composed of coastal matorral, thermophilous juniper forest, evergreen woodlands and pine forest, as well as marine and coastal habitats. El Hierro has a great biological diversity, not only at the ecosystem level, but also at the species level. The giant lizard (Gallotia simonyi machadoi) is a species in danger of extinction, and a captive breeding programme is allowing its reintroduction. One of the three core areas is situated in the marine part to the south of the island, an area that is protected as a marine reserve (Reserva Marina de La Restinga - Mar de Las Calmas). Local fishermen have cooperated in the establishment of the marine reserve and are supportive of marine biodiversity protection and sustainable fishing. The inhabitants of this small island are making many efforts to protect the island's characteristic environment and to use its natural resources in a sustainable way. The programme for the sustainable development of El Hierro involves all economic sectors and has been in place since 1995, well before the designation as a biosphere reserve in year 2000. El Hierro is inhabited by some 7,800 people (2000), equivalent to 0,5% of the population of the Canary Archipelago. The main economic activities are agriculture, cattle raising, fishery and ecotourism. Traditional practices have largely been maintained which allows for a well-developed partnership between people and the environment.
  Major ecosystem type   Coastal and marine ecosystems; evergreen sclerophyllous forests, woodlands or scrub
  Major habitats & land cover types   Island; marine habitats; meso-littoral habitats; halophile coastal zone dominated by Limonium pectinatum and Schizogyne sericea; falaises dominated by species from of the genus Aeonium; coastal matorral with Euphorbia balsamifera, E. broussonetii, E. canariensis and Plocama pendula; thermophile juniper forest El Sabinar with Juniperus phoenicea as the dominant species, together with Olea europaea, Maytenus canariensis and Visnea mocanera; Monteverde dominated by Myrica faya, Erica arborea and Ilex canariensis including Laurus azorica and Picconia excelsa; pine forest with Pinus canariensis, Chamaecytisus proliferus and Adenocarpus foliolosus; agricultural land, pasture land; rural areas
  Location   27°38' to 27°51'N; 17°53' to 18°09'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   29,600
  Core area(s)   1,219 (of which marine: 150)
  Buffer zone(s)   15,909 (of which marine: 750)
  Transition area(s) when given   12,472
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -250 to +1,501
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   Cabildo Insular de El Hierro Consejerķa de Agricultura


Last updated: 2/27/2007

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