Bardenas Reales

The Bardenas Reales Biosphere Reserve and Natural Park is located in the northern part of Spain, comprising the Natural Reserve ‘Rincón del Bú’ and the Reserva Natural ‘Caídas de la Negra’ .


Declaration Date: 2000
Surface Area: 39,273 ha (core 5 per cent; buffer: 33 percent; transition: 62 per cent)
Administrative Division: the Bardenas Reales are notattached to any municipality. Because of an extraordinaryand unique legal regime, the uses and development of thisterritory are managed by the Commonwealth of the Congozantesde Bardenas (Mancomunidad de Congozantes deBardenas), involving 19 villages in addition to the Monas-tery of la Oliva and the Councils of the two Pyrenean val-leys of Salazar and Roncal, which enjoy these exclusiverights through Royal privileges and concessions grantedover the centuries.

Human Activities

Traditional agriculture and animal husbandry. Military use at the rifle range included in the territory of the Bardenas, but not part of the Biosphere Reserve.

Ecological Characteristics

Morphologically three differentiated areas are apparent :

  • to the north the great plateau, known as El Plano.
  • La Blanca occupies the central area, a great depression wheresofter sedimentary rocks leaving clay unprotected, giverise to spectacular and capricious erosive formations(badlands).
  • La Negra is an area located to the south andcomprises a group of horizontal tubular formations.

The climate is characterized by extremes, with very cold winters giving way with almost no transition into spring and torrid summers. Rainfall, scant and irregular is frequently torrential. The action of strong dry winds, particularly from the north-east (cierzos), accentuates the aridity of the area.

All this has made las Bardenas into a true cold desert in the heart of Europe, where the conditions of the great central Asian steppes are reproduced. This is reflected in the Aralo-Caspian vegetation that is to be found here and where species of halophile flora are predominant, adapted to living on saline soils in the depressions, giving way to Mediterranean forests of Aleppo Pine in the more thermophile areas of La Negra.

In terms of fauna, an abundance of birds of prey, such as the Griffon Vulture, the Egyptian Vulture, the Golden Eagle and the Peregrine Hawk are found in the Biosphere Reserve.

There is also a great diversity of grassland birds, such as the Great Bus-tard, the Little Bustard, the Eurasian Stone Curlew, the Black-bellied Sandgrouse and the rare Dupont Lark.

Protection Classification

  • Natural Park · Natural Reserves (2)
  • Special Bird Protection Areas (SBPA) (2)

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                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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