La Gomera

La Gomera is centrally located in the Canary archipelago, surrounded by Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro islands. One of the least populous islands, tourism plays an increasingly important role.

Declaration Date: 2012
Administrative authorities:
Surface Area: 84,522.176 ha (land: 37,178.268 ha; marine: 47,343.908 ha)
Core area: 13,134.718 ha (land: 11,595.25 ha; marine: 1,539.468 ha)
Buffer zone: 19,070.002 ha (land: 13,279.908 ha; marine: 5,790.094 ha)
Transition area: 52,317.456 (land: 12,303.11 ha; marine: 40,014.346 ha)

27°37’N – 29°25’N
Longitude: 13°20’W – 18°10’W
Central point: 28°7’2.55”N – 17°13’57.17”W

Ecological characteristics

The island of La Gomera has a surface of 371 km2 and a maximum height of 1,487 m (Alto de Garajonay). It has an exceptionally sharp relief which is organized in radial and deep ravines.

Its physiography is the result of an ancient volcanic structure that has undergone intense freshwater and marine erosion. This weathering process has led to a central plateau at about 1,000 meters altitude and to its extensions along the divisions between ravines. Humidity and clouds from the sea are often stopped on this plateau producing a “sea of clouds” effect. This effect generates a high humidity that has favoured the existence of the most important area of the archipelago:  the Garajonay National Park.  The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is noted for its laurisilva (laurel) forest, a habitat that has almost disappeared from southern Europe and North Africa.

La Gomera Island has a total of 4,182 species, of which 1,063 are endemic to the Canary Islands and 268 are exclusive to La Gomera. Most of the endemic species are located in the central part of the island, especially in the laurisilva forest.

Among the most representative plant species are: Laurisilva canaria, Frankenia ericifolia, Astydamia latifolia, Limonium pectinatum, Reichardia ligulata, Zygophyllum fontanesii, and the most representative animal species are: osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), barbary falcon (Falco pelegrinoides), little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis) and La Gomera giant lizard (Gallotia bravoana).

Socio-economic characteristics

The second least populous island of the Canary archipelago, the island has a population of 22,776 inhabitants.

Emigration has significantly affected the island population until the 1980’s when the tourism sector begun to develop. Immigration is a recent phenomenon apparently due to the economic development that the island has seen.

Seventy-five per cent of the workforce works in the service sector, mainly in tourism. There has been a widespread collapse of the primary sector, with the exception of livestock.



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