The biosphere reserve is located in the Gulf of Cadiz and represents one of the most important protected area in Spain. The core area is made up of the Doñana National Park . The importance of Doñana is based on the ecosystem variety it hosts and the high number of species that it represents.

Declaration Date: 30 November 1980
Surface Area: 268,473.6 ha (Extended in 2012)
Core area(s):
54,680 ha
Buffer zone(s):
58,613.6 ha
Transition area(s):
155,000 ha
Administrative Division: 4 Municipalities have their territoryin the Biosphere Reserve

Human Activities

Open-range cattle-raising and agriculture in the marshlands, shell-fishing and agro-environmental tourism.

A Sustainable Development Plan is being implemented which covers the Biosphere Reserve and its hinterland.

Ecological Characteristics

This is one of the most important areas of wetlands in the world and covers diverse landscape units.

The coastal strip includes virgin beaches and chains of both static and migrating dunes, alternating with forests of centenary pine trees and complex lagoon systems interconnected by the water-table, enormous estuary areas and marshlands influenced by tides; seasonally flooded grasslands such as the scrubland plains, forests of age-old Cork Elms convertedinto grasslands, the so-called “white mountain”areas with a predominance of Rockrose, Thyme and Rosemary and the “black mountain” area where the dark colour of the heather abounds.

However the most interesting point is the extraordinary wealth of fauna that makes Doñana a unique enclave where over 300 species of vertebrates have been identified. It is estimated that some 6 million birds pass through the Reserve annually on their migratory flyways, due to its strategic location between Europe and Africa. Furthermore, Doñana is one of the last refuges for endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx orthe Spanish Imperial Eagle.

Protection Classifications

  • National Park
  • Natural Park
  • Specially Protected Bird Area (SPBA)
  • Internationally Important Wetland (Ramsar Convention)
  • European Council Diploma
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

> Back to Biosphere Reserves in Spain

                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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