La Palma

The Biosphere Reserve of 'La Palma' in the Canary Islands was extended and renamed in 2002 (the ancient Los Tiles Biosphere Reserve is now constituting the core area). The biosphere reserve now encompasses the entire island, which contains a wide range of representative habitats with all the diversity provided by the transition from the coast up to the mountain peaks.

Declaration Date: 1983 (El Canal and Los Tiles).
First extension: 1997 (LosTiles).
Extension to the whole island: 2002
Surface Area: 80,702 ha (70,832 ha on land), (core: 17 percent; buffer: 40 per cent; transition: 43 per cent)
Administrative Division: 14 Municipalities have theirterritory in the Biosphere Reserve  

Human Activities

Agriculture (banana plantations), animal husbandry, bee keeping and fishing. Presently agro-tourism and crafts are in the process of considerable development.

Ecological Characteristics

La Palma, with its highest peak, Roque de los Muchachos, at 2,426 m, is considered to be one of the highest islands in the world in relation to its surface area.

It is truly a miniature continent that contains, staggered at different altitudes, all the representative ecosystems of the Macaronesian region, a biogeographical region grouping the Archipelagos of the Canaries, Madeira and Azores.

Starting from the coastal Euphorbia obtusifolia and Spurges, then giving way to the thermophile forest and subsequently to monteverde vegetation (Laurel forests, Tree Heath and Fayatree), to be substituted at greater altitudes by Canary Pineand finally by Adenocarpus viscosus and scrubland at thesummit.

The spectacular Laurel tree forests associated with horizontal precipitation-condensation of coastal fogs caused by the humid trade winds are particularly note worthy.

This permanent atmospheric humidity, characteristic of the Tertiary Era, has enabled relict plants to survive. Forest functionis also vital for aquifer replenishment which is essential for the development of the Island.

Among the fauna, numerous endemic insect species are to be found and some unique birds, such as Bolle’s Laurel Pigeon and the White tailed Laurel Pigeon.

Protection Classifications

  • National Park
  • Natural Park (2)
  • Protected Natural Reserve
  • Special Natural Reserve
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (3)
  • Natural Monument (8)
  • Protected Landscape (4)
  • Specially Protected Bird Area (SPBA) (2)
  • Marine Reserve Protected area of the territory: 51.3 %


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                                                                                                   Last update: April 2014

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